From pale pink to deep red: These are Spain’s rosés to try right now

Spanish rosé, also referred to as rosado, is considered one of the country’s most diverse varieties of wine. Coming in lots of shades of pink, red and the fashionable ‘onion skin’, in Spain you’ll find light rosés to enjoy on a hot summer day, in addition to deeper, more complex ones that pair perfectly with a variety of delicious Spanish dishes.

While rosé is just not as popular in Spain as its darker red and lighter white siblings, many winemakers produce it, with a booming export market in Canada, the US, Switzerland and other parts of Europe.

“The situation in Spain is that rosés usually are not as popular here as they’re elsewhere,” says Esther Pinuaga, a winemaker from organic winery Bodegas Pinuaga in Toledo.

“I feel it’s because traditionally they were considered lesser wines…but it surely’s pretty sad because now we have really interesting and alternative ways of creating rosé in Spain.”

Because of this, Pinguaga exports an estimated 98 per cent of the rosé that she produces, something that she hopes will change in the approaching years.

Luke Darracott and Roque Madrid from Madrid & Darracott, a wine shop within the Spanish capital, agree.

“Spain could be very much a red wine, followed by white wine, followed by sparkling wine country…outside of the new months rosé doesn’t fly off the shelves,” they are saying, adding, “rosé drinking is on the rise.”

Despite the hesitant market, there’s a protracted tradition of rosé production in Spain, from Mallorca to Catalonia. Nonetheless, there are a couple of stand-out regions, in keeping with Darracott and Madrid.

They are saying the regions which are highly regarded and historically known include Navarra, Cigales, Rioja, and Leon.

Though variations in style exist across the country, there are generally three different methods of production.

Direct Press

“Which means that while you harvest the red grapes, you simply press them directly, so that you don’t macerate with the skins. This implies you get a really, very light color wine,” says Pinuaga.

This direct press method creates pale ‘onion skin’ wines, that are excellent as an aperitif on hot, summery days and might be served with very light cheeses, like The Gomero, a creamy goat’s cheese from the Canary Islands.

As a result of the short turnaround of the direct press method, these light rosés are less expressive and have a lighter aroma. Despite pale rosés, like those produced within the Provençal style, being in fashion in the intervening time, Pinguaga says that customers “don’t should be afraid of color”.

“There are Spanish grape varieties where the skin has many more points of color…because of this good local rosés which are made with the bleeding method are inclined to be darker in color, but this doesn’t mean they’re sweet.”

So what’s the bleeding (sangrado) method?

The sangrado method

Pinuaga uses the bleeding method to create her wines, using two grape varieties which are widely utilised to create Spanish rosés, Tempranillo and Garnacha.

Though Darracott and Madrid suggest that, “any red grape can lend itself well to creating rosado, from the sunshine Pinot Noir-like Mencía to the massive and boozy Monastrell, they are saying “the superstars in Spain are undeniably Garnacha and Tempranillo.

To create her rosé, Pinuaga says her team allows each varieties to sit down with the skin for roughly six hours. Then, she says “we remove it from the skin after which it ferments without the skin.”

This method creates rosés with more “structure, intensity, and volume”, she adds.

Wines which are higher suited to being served with food akin to fish, cheese and the classic Spanish lentil stew, Lentejas. “Rosé wines also go well with most pasta dishes” say Darracott and Madrid.

As a result of the longer macerating time, these wines are more likely to have a richer and deeper color they usually are traditionally made within the Navarra region of northern Spain.

Clarete wines

One other long-established way of manufacturing rosé wine known as clarete. This involves allowing the red and white grapes to sit down together and to have skin contact.“Because there’s a high proportion of white, that’s the reason they’ve a lighter color,” explains Pinguaga.

Cigales, a small municipality near Ribera del Duero is famed for making clarete, and their rosés are said to be more intense and structured.

Darracott and Madrid suggest that as a result of their “palate freshness and acidity”clarete rosé wines can almost go along with anything.

They are saying this includes anything ”from BBQ foods like grilled meats, vegetables and hamburgers (plus accompanying sweet-salty sauces) to salads and fish, especially on the grill or in red sauces.”

And with quite a lot of rosé wines produced right across Spain, you’ll have loads of opportunity to place different food pairings to the test.


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