One of the great ultra-refreshing wine styles, technically a rosé is an "unfinished red wine," but the term seems so inadequate. Rosé is a different sort of wine, with all the refreshing qualities of a white wine mixed with some characteristics of a red. It can be made from many different grape varietals and in many different regions, the most popular and successful being southern France, Spain, California, Italy and Australia.
Rosé goes through the red winemaking process, but is stopped before extracting too many red wine characteristics. Almost always made from red varietals, the grapes are pressed and the juice sits with the skins for fermentation - but just for a little while - enough time to get a bit of colour and a bit of the skin characteristics. Then fermentation continues as a white wine, most often in stainless steel.
Rosés are typically ready to drink early - not so much to age. Some popular regions of rosé are Tavel (an AOC for rosé wines in the Rhone area of France), Spain, Italy, Australia and California.
The benchmark region though is France's Provence, where the classic Mediterranean climate lends itself perfectly to rosé production. Just like red and white wines, rosés can be of different styles - sweet or dry, dark or light - the winemaker and grape variety (or varieties as rosés are often blended) are key. Rosé wines have delicious character and are perfect for food.