Rosé wines have gone from peripheral fancy to an essential element of a wine lover’s repertoire

Perhaps the thing that most surprised me regarding wine when I arrived to Vietnam was that hardly anyone was enjoying a glass of rosé. With the hot tropical weather and nice terraces all around, I was expecting people to be drinking rosé by the bottle if not by the magnum. With the exception of a few customers in the old Vino shops, rosé was nowhere to be seen.

I enquired, and it seemed that a lot of the local population rejected rosé thinking that it was poor quality wine, a blend of low quality white and low quality red, and a type of wine that only women would enjoy. They could not be more mistaken.

Rosé is pink wine made from red grapes. In case you did not know, when you press the grapes to make juice, even if the grapes are red, the juice is white. Yes, you read correctly: juice from red grapes, that is used to make red wine, is white.

Like red wines, rosé wines get their color from the juice being in contact with grape skins. The difference with red is that in the case of rosé such contact is limited in time so the wine becomes pale red, or rosé color, rather than the full red, but this does not affect the quality at all.

Regardless of the method used to produce rosé, high quality grapes are used resulting in high quality wines; they may look pale pink (if they spend little time in contact with grape skins) or dark pink (if contact is longer), but the product is usually a fresh, interesting, often complex, wine which is great as an aperitif or paired with light dishes.

Provence in the South of France and Navarra in the North of Spain are probably the two most famous areas specializing in rosé wines. However, new styles and real jewels are produced in other areas like Castano rosé, which is about to arrive to Vietnam, a fresh delicious wine made from Monastrell grapes (Mouvedre) in the Mediterranean, an easy to drink delicious wines offering an amazing value for money.

So if you have not done so yet, start exploring rosé wines. Make sure they are cold and enjoy them the same way you enjoy life, without having to worry too much about it.

Both RubyRed (206 Nguyen Van Huong, D2) and Wine Embassy (41 Quoc Huong, D2) have a good selection of rosé wines on offer.

BIO: Alfredo de la Casa has been organizing wine tastings for over 20 years and has published three wine books, including the Gourmand award winner for best wine education book. You can reach him at www.wineinvietnam.com.