A Primer on Rosé Wines

It’s hot. Especially down here in Texas.

And for those not afraid of pink wine, that means it is time for a glass of cool, crisp rosé wine. And for those who are afraid, it means that it is time for you to give it a try.

Here’s a little info on rosé wine to get started:

First, stop thinking about White Zinfandel in a box. Get that out of your mind.

Have you done that yet? Okay good. Let’s proceed….

Are all rosés sweet?


Some rosés are bone dry, some are moderately fruity and some, yes some, are sweet and fruity. But forget about that bubblegum wine spritzer flavor. That’s not what you will find in the rosés we are talking about here.

Now that we have that clear, I’ve enlisted the help of the uber award-winning Sommelier Vanessa Treviño-Boyd of Philippe Restaurant + Lounge. I’ve shared a bit from Vanessa before and was eager to chat with her again.

She has crafted a special wine list at Philippe for the summer including 11 rosé wines by the glass (or bottle) and is ready to tell us all about them.

This lady knows her stuff, and Food & Wine agrees, as it named her one of the top 7 sommeliers of 2012.

So here’s some info to get you started…

Why are rosés pink?

Vanessa explained that rosé wines are made very much as red wines are made. The only exception being that the juice has less contact with the grape skins, resulting in less tannins and, of course, less color from the grape. This makes the wine pink rather than red.

Why are rosé wines great for the summer heat?

Vanessa explained that rosé wines often have a great acidity to them and that acidity is what she believes drives a wine to be refreshing and vibrant. She also said their temperature makes them perfect for summer… Rosé wines are served cold and stored at 40 degrees.

Wondering what to eat with rose wines?

“Lobster.” Vanessa says. Because of it’s medium body and medium light fruitiness, she recommends Stift Gottweig from Austria.

Since I don’t get to enjoy lobster every day (or even every week) I asked for another food pairing suggestion for rosé.

“Margarita pizza,” she countered.

First she suggested a rose from Provence to go with it, but then she switched to the Castell-Reynoard from Bandol because it is full bodied and bold, explaining that it would go great with that bit of char that is often on the crust of pizza.

Wow. I had never ever even thought of trying to complement that flavor… so now of course she really has me curious!

In Houston and want to give rose wines a try?

Now through the end of August, Philippe is offering 11 rosés by the glass, ranging in price from $7 to $15, with the bottles ranging from $28 to $64.

They have rosés from Spain, France, Austria, and Italy, all arranged on the menu from more to less fruity, crisp and light to fuller-bodied to help you navigate. And their waitstaff or Vanessa are willing to help, too.

A few benchmark rose wines offered on the list Vanessa crafted at Philippe include:

  •  Elio Perrone’s Bigaro, from Piedmont, Italy, is on the on the sweeter, fruitier side of things with a little sugar. Vanessa explained it is a great introduction for those who might typically drink White Zinfandel. ($40/ bottle at Philippe)
  •  Stift Gottweig made from Pinot Noir grapes in Austria, is in the middle of the sweet to dry spectrum, with a mildly fruity flavor, delicate aroma and body, and a soft texture. ($48/ bottle at Philippe)
  •  On the drier side are rose wines from Provence with a bone dry, minerality, crisp flavor, and less fruit flavor. Domaine de Sorin, from the Cotes de Provence in France, is an example Vanessa recommends. ($32/ bottle at Philippe)

Not ready to commit?

Vanessa will custom create a flight of rosé wines for anyone who is curious.

Sure, there are some flights on the menu, but she’ll also talk to you about your flavor preferences and custom create a collection just for you.

Talk about service!


You can visit Vanessa and check out the rosé wines on her list at Philippe Restaurant + Lounge:

1800 Post Oak Boulevard, Houston


Open Monday – Saturday

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