rose wine vajra

Rosé wine: everything you need to know

Italian restaurant Franco’s thrives in the summer with its outside tables, antipasti and huge range of rosé wines – it lists a record-breaking 60 plus. Franco’s Jason Phillips gives us the lowdown on the pink stuff.

Historically, rosé wines haven’t been taken seriously and have been considered cheap – some earlier rosés were just red and white wine mixed together, a practice that has, thankfully, stopped now. Wine production methods have improved dramatically in the last decade, as producers have realised that there is significant demand for the crisp and fragrant rosé wines of the Côtes de Provence, Amalfi coast and Sardinia.  


A variety of red wine grape is needed to make rosé wine, because it is the colour of the grape skins that determines the colour of the wine. The depth and intensity of the shade will depend on the amount of time the grape juice, or ‘must’, is left in contact with the red grape skins. To achieve a very light rosé-coloured wine, the skins will only be left in the grape juice for as little as six hours.  

There are two main methods for making rosé wine. The first, often used to make what is referred to in France as vin gris (grey wine), involves removing the skins from the grape must a few hours after pressing; and the second, called saignée (bleeding), is where the wine maker bleeds some of the must from the red wine vats, which is then used to make rosé wine. 

Cold sliced meats, salads and fish dishes all cry out for a glass of chilled rosé. The tannins help to cut through the fat found in hot or cold meat and grilled dishes far more effectively than white wine can. At Franco’s, we can find a rosé to suit most dishes, a crisp, pale-hued Château d’Esclans works perfectly with octopus carpaccio with fennel, orange and capers (pictured); while the sparkling rosé Ferrai, Pérle Nero, Trento, Italy, 2006 is a great match for burrata with vegetable-stuffed tomato.

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