The wine world is incredibly diverse and includes a surprising array of different wine options that work for many types of tastes and preferences.
For example, Rose wine is a diverse category of different blends that exist within many levels of dryness and sweetness. They also produce many types of tastes and aftertastes that go well with many foods.
Here’s what you need to know about Rose wine sweetness or dryness.
Check out our red wine sweetness infographic and white wine sweetness infographic too.
What is Rosé Wine?
Rose wine is one of the oldest types of wine still produced, originating in France in the sixth century BC.
It can be made using a variety of different methods, including direct press, bleeding the red grape juice, and even blending them together with other red grapes.
They are made from red wine grapes with skins that have only been allowed to sit in the juice for a short period of time. This approach creates a wine without the kind of sharp or bitter taste that you get with other types of reds.
As a result, rose wines may be considered one of the better transition wines for people first getting into this unique drinking habit.
While they range from very dry to very sweet, they typically have a smoother and less complicated taste. For example, White Zinfandel is a popular first-time Rose wine for many people.
This surprisingly diverse range of different tastes makes Rose wine an exciting option to consider.
Most people should find a Rose that meets their taste needs. For example, if you like the sharp taste of dry wines, there are Rose blends that qualify. You may also find a semi-sweet that blends the best of dry and sweet flavors or a sweet option that gives you the rich taste you want.
As a result, we strongly suggest that you look through our Rose wine sweetness chart below and then check out our listings of all the different Rose wines available on the market.
We’ll break down the dry, semi-sweet (off-dry), and sweet options available on the market. In this way, we can help you understand the different choices available for your needs and ensure that you are satisfied.
Rosé Wine Sweetness Chart
Rose wines may be anything from incredibly sweet to nearly bone dry. Typically, older types produced in France and Spain are pretty dry, while newer Rose wines have a higher level of overall sweetness.
Naturally, variations in temperature, climate, soil type, production methods, and much more can all affect the dryness and sweetness of your wine. Even more complexly, some winemakers may simply prefer a sweeter Rose wine and create one that is surprisingly rich in flavor.
But never fear, my good friends! We created a unique and simple chart that outlines the seven Rose sweetness levels on the market today. We not only include each of these sweetness levels but break down the various tastes each wine produces. You’re welcome!
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Sweeter Rosé Wines
In this category, we’re going to list four of the most popular sweeter Rose wines.
These will include very sweet to sweet varieties. Each listing will consist of the sweetness of the wine, a description of its overall taste, and a suggested label at the end. In this way, you can find an excellent sweet Rose wine that makes the most sense for you and which doesn’t seem inappropriate for your meals.
If you want the sweetest of the sweet Rose wines, you have to get a Pink Moscato.
While it is technically not considered a Rose in some circles, its color and taste make it close enough to count. Its naturally sweet taste is paired with an occasional fortification with extra alcohol.
Expect notes of cherry, peach, berry, and apricot. Pair them with light desserts and seafood. Make sure that the fish doesn’t get covered in heavy sauce, or the wine taste may be drowned out.
For a superb label, we strongly suggest Barefoot Pink Moscato as a great blend of aromas and berry flavors.
White Zinfandel is a unique Rose that was marketed by Sutter Home Winery and which is one of the most famous of all Rose-style wines.
While it may come in dry or even semi-sweet varieties, the most common variety of White Zinfandel is a sweet option with hints of strawberry and melon.
While its history as a box wine has led to some reputation problems for this wine, its recent resurgence as a drier and less overpoweringly sweet option has brought it back to life in the eyes of many wine fans.
We suggest Echo Falls, California, White Zinfandel which works well with spicy foods.
White Merlot was created to compete with Zinfandel and uses a similar style of taste and flavoring.
Like the White Zinfandel, anticipate a raspberry or fruity taste that blends well with rich, meaty dishes. Vegetables may not go as well with White Merlot, though, so be careful here.
The berry taste in most White Merlot will be very prevalent, creating a flavor almost like a tart. Expect some honey and even cherry aftertastes. Sour foods go well with this drink, as do most tomato sauces.
Try out the Foffani White Merlot, which possesses a strong alcohol content and a floral aftertaste.
French Rose Wine
Lastly, you may want to try a French Rose wine, as this variety is often known as a sweeter choice.
Many different labels and brands offer this option, and it remains prevalent. Typically, it pairs well with pork and strong yellow cheeses, bringing a hint of pineapple and raspberries.
As for the best label option, we suggest the Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rose. This option comes directly from France and has a light overall taste with a hint of sweetness. This option could almost be classed as semi-sweet or off-dry, though we think it fits best in the sweet range.
Semi-Sweet to Off-Dry Rosé Wines
In this section, we’ll review four wines that fall within the semi-sweet to the off-dry range.
These Rose wines will have a pretty surprising array of different flavors and feelings, creating an enjoyable range of other options. Make sure that you always read each review carefully and select a label that feels right for you.
Don’t forget that our labels selections are broad, and you may find an option that works better for your taste.
Sparkling Rosé & Rosé Champagne
If you want a sparkling Rose, you’re in luck because these drinks provide a fairly semi-sweet taste that is surprisingly rich and enjoyable.
You may feel an almost creamy taste sensation when trying these out and may find that they replace your traditional champagne at New Years when giving them a go.
That’s because they have a relatively solid and bold taste that comes from mixing white and red grapes together. You may find a touch of raspberry and rose in this drink and find that it blends beautifully with barbecue chicken or pork.
Try out the Bourgeois-Diaz Cuvée Rosé de Saignée.
As a medium-bodied, semi-sweet rose, the Montepulciano doesn’t always get a lot of mention.
However, we find that its deep ruby color and delicious cinnamon, clove, orange, and dried fruit flavors make it stand out compared to others. It is a good option for salty cheese and pasta dishes.
It is also a good choice if you want an off-dry wine that still has a few lingering touches of sweetness. You won’t get overwhelmed by sweet flavors when you try this wine, instead you can expect light touches and aftertastes.
Finally, try out the Revenant Montepulciano Rosé label to get an earthy and tangy Rose wine.
Sangiovese grapes aren’t always associated with Rose wines, even though they produce a very lovely combination together.
If you have a hard time finding one, look for a Sangiovese labeled as “Rosato,” which is the Italian word for the color pink. Also, expect cherry, raspberry, and cumin tastes.
We find that this option is an excellent choice for those who want a blend of dry and sweet flavors. It exists almost at the midway point between sweet and dry, allowing you to get the best of both worlds.
Try out the Chapel Hill Sangiovese Rosé label.
Lastly, Malbec is an underrated wine that should blend with a surprising array of different tastes with ease.
It includes a myriad of different aromas and flavors, including orange oil, cedar, sandalwood, cherry, grilled plums, tobacco leaf, and even red cherries and kumquats.
If you want a tasty Malbec, try out the Achaval Ferrer Malbec Finca Altamira option. Their 2015 blend is particularly praised, though you may want an older option to get the most taste varieties. That said, we find that this label will work well for just about anybody trying this unique wine option.
Driest Rosé Wines
Lastly, let’s take a look at some of the driest Rose wines on the market today.
You’ll notice that this section is quite a bit bigger than the semi-sweet (off-dry) and sweet sections. That’s because Rose often ranges more towards the dry end of the spectrum.
Also, we’re including dry, semi-dry, and very-dry wines in this list. As a result, it’s a bit broader and should provide you with a good insight into your options.
Tavel is among the driest of the dry when it comes to Rose wines.
With its subtle hints of watermelon and herbs, it provides a variety of different flavor options that should work well for many people. Expect a reasonably rounded taste and color, one that pairs well with cheese and fish.
As for the label or brand, we suggest Prieure De Montezargues. This option is one of the most respected wineries on the planet and will provide you with a high-quality Tavel. If you want a dry wine that fits into your Rose cellar, this option is probably your overall best bet.
This standard wine is heavily harvested in Provence and other areas nearby.
It produces one of the driest wine options on the market, which makes it perfect for those who like their wine without excessive sweetness. They contain grapefruit, herb, and cucumber flavors.
You may also get a bit of a floral aftertaste with this wine, particularly when chilled. It serves best at these lower temperatures and works well with any savory foods you may want to try.
If you want a relatively inexpensive label option, try Notorious Pink Grenache Rosé
If you ever see the Syrah grape, you’d understand why this Rose is so dark and bold in flavor and color.
Syrah grapes have a very tannic makeup that produces a very deep and rich color. They are very hearty and mix well with meatier dishes. However, they possess a nice dry kick as well.
Expect notes of dried cherry, spices, smoke, red pepper, and blueberries. Some might even remind you a bit of a plumb. Serve this wine with rich chilies, stews, or any meal that has a kick to it.
Try out the E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne label to enjoy a Syrah that works for most tastes.
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are some of the most popular in the world and produce a Rose with an intense color.
They are typically one of the darker of all Rose wines and exist in the semi-dry range. Typically, they include a very high level of acidity with a citrus aftertaste.
With this unique wine, you can also expect touches of leather, blackcurrant, cherry, tobacco, and pepper. Try to blend it with vegetables and seafood, where its drier texture helps to heighten their overall taste with ease.
Alpaca Rosé Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent and relatively inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon.
When people think of Rose wines, they often think of a good Pinot Noir.
As one of the most popular wines on the market, Pinot contains a bright and slightly acidic taste that provides the dry touch that you want for your Rose. In addition, it includes a reasonably delicate array of strawberry and white cherry aftertastes.
We find that they go well with just about any seafood option and are surprisingly good when added to a corn-rich meal. You’ll probably find that they blend well with most cheese options, too, giving you many options here.
Try out the Erath Rosé Pinot Noir when choosing this blend.
If you want a spicier Rose wine that has a light touch of green peppercorn, Tempranillo is your choice!
It also bears some crisp and somewhat fruity flavors, with hints of melon and strawberry lingering long after you take a sip. Try to pair it with Mexican foods like taco and grilled beef.
There are many different Tempranillo options on the market. Since it offers such a unique flavor that may not be to all tastes, we suggest the relatively inexpensive Pago Lencia Toro Reserva. It is a very solid and reliable Tempranillo with a more than reasonable price.
This wine option ranges towards the off-dry range and could almost fall within that category.
However, we think it is dry enough to be a good option for those who want an alcohol-rich wine with minimum extra sweetness. These wines may age for up to 10 years before being served.
Expect a slight touch of violets and rose petals when drinking this dry wine. You may also get a hint of plum or even smoke. Expect it to serve well with most Mediterranean food, lamb in particular.
Our label pick is Andremily Wines out of Santa Barbara County for their unique touch with this wine.
How Sweet or Dry is Rosé? Check the Label
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of where your Rose wine sits on the sweetness chart.
Therefore, it should be reasonably straightforward for you to pick an option that makes sense and which fits your preferences. However, you may find yourself in a wine store at some point, looking for a specific Rose sweetness, and unable to remember all of the information here. What can you do in this situation?
You could look up this article again on your phone and read through our detailed information to get an idea of your wine’s sweetness. But what if you don’t have time to read through a nearly 3,000-word article again?
Or what if your phone’s data or internet plan just isn’t working? Naturally, you could ask the vendor about the wine’s sweetness.
Or you could just read the label instead. Now, reading the label isn’t going to tell Rose wine’s sweetness automatically.
There’s no “Sweetness” rating on a bottle of wine or anything of that nature.
However, there is a very clever trick that you can use to gauge the sweetness of a bottle of wine without reading this article again or feeling silly asking the vendor. Follow this simple trick if you want to look like a pro when wine shopping.
Start by identifying the Alcohol by Volume or ABV listed on the wine bottle.
This rating tells you how much alcohol is within your bottle of wine. However, it also gives you a good idea of the sweetness of your Rose wine. How is that possible? The ABV secretly gives you an idea of the amount of Residual Sugar (RS) that exists within your bottle of wine.
What is Residual Sugar? It is how much sugar was left in the wine during the brewing process.
Winemaking uses a series of complex chemical processes to turn the sugar in grapes into alcohol. The longer that grapes sit in the fermentation chamber, the more sugar gets converted into alcohol.
As a result, a wine with a higher alcoholic content is naturally drier, and one with a lower alcoholic content is naturally sweeter.
Sweet Rose wines will have an ABV of 11% or lower.
The lower the ABV, the sweeter your wine. Contrarily, a wine with an ABV of 14% and higher is going to be much drier. The 12-13% range usually consists of semi-sweet or off-dry varieties.
The options here may vary depending on your wine, so make sure that you experiment a little before confirming that this method works for your favorite Rose brand.
Related: How much sugar is in a bottle and glass of wine?
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