Wine chat and quaffing advice from the Corney & Barrow wine experts!

Corney & Barrow is a historic wine shop located in the centre of Ayr, on Academy Street.

Rosé Rosé Rosé

As we enter the spring months and the arrival of warmer weather (in theory at least!), we feel the urge to move away from the big, comforting wintry whites and reds, and seek out something lighter and brighter. This is when the underdog, rosé, steps forward.

Rosé was once seen as a ‘lesser’ style of wine, the unloved cousin of its more serious counterparts. And perhaps we have some well-known brands to blame for this association – we’ve all seen the luminous White Zinfandels on supermarket shelves and pub gantries, immediately synonymous with a sickly sweet, candied aftertaste. Mercifully, rosé is now readily available in a range of colours and styles, suitable for every palate. In part, we have Provence to thank for its increasing popularity. Pale, delicate, and dry, big names such as Whispering Angel have helped to establish this style as a firm favourite with consumers.

A useful pointer for those wishing to explore the world of rosé, the colour of a rosé is not indicative of the level of sweetness – consumers often assume that paler, blush styles (like Provence rosé) are bone dry, and dark pink rosés will be sweet in style. But this is not the case. The intensity of the shade of pink simply indicates the length of time the grape skins have been left to soak with the fermenting grape juice. All rosé wines are made from black grapes and while the juice that is pressed from grapes is clear, the skins are where colour and flavour is extracted. A short ‘maceration’ with these skins extracts colour as well as red fruit flavours and the longer the contact, the deeper the flavour, texture, and colour of the wine.

The style produced will also dictate which foods the wine will pair best with. We might be tempted to relegate rosé to the aperitif or garden wine category, but these wines are incredibly versatile and food friendly and can work well with foods that are tricky to pair with white and reds. For instance, aromatic dishes with a touch of chilli heat (i.e. Thai) can work brilliantly with the soft fruity flavours of a rosé but would clash with the tannins of most red wines, and the sharp acidity of many white wines. The rule of thumb is, the paler the rosé, the more delicate the flavours will be, and thus, the more delicate the food you will pair with the wine. Think salads, white fish, chicken, and Mediterranean vegetables. But in comparison, darker rosés are fuller bodied and fuller flavoured, with ripe red and dark berry fruit, cassis, and cherry on the palate. These more robust and structured rosés can make the perfect pairing for things like barbequed meats, the juicy fruit complementing the charred, smoky flavours. So don’t be scared to think pink!

Rosé wines in all shades and styles can be found at Corney & Barrow. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm.