This just saved us from so many wasted hours of indecision at the wine shop.

By Betty Gold
Updated: June 24, 2019

Rosé is one of the hottest wine trends of late. A decade ago, it wasn’t especially common. Now, pink wine is absolutely everywhere—especially during the summer as a poolside and rooftop staple.

Beyond being delicious, rosé is incredibly versatile. It possesses characteristics of both red and white wines, so it pairs beautifully with a wide range of foods, including meats, fish, veggies, dessert, and beyond. Because it goes great with everything, rosé is a fantastic wine to bring to a dinner party or social gathering.

With more and more rosé options cropping up, particularly in the warmer months, it can be difficult to decide which bottle is right for you amongst the broad spectrum of pink shades. We tapped Christopher Hoel—the Founder of Harper’s Club (a wine advisory firm that shapes some of the world’s most amazing wine collections) and expert curator for Wine Insiders and Martha Stewart Wine Co.—to help us understand how to choose a high-quality rosé among the seemingly endless options. He’s a sommelier who has (quite literally) built his career on curating the best bottles for his clients, so we were seriously stunned to hear how simple his method for selecting rosé is: he buys based upon color.

“It’s been my experience that lighter colored roses are typically higher in quality than darker rosés. This is because when making a lighter colored rosé the winemaker needs only to let the skins of the grapes macerate for a matter of just a few hours, sometimes less, which requires great attention to the process. Darker rosés tend to be more mass produced and thus forth the maceration time is more difficult to control and manage yielding darker colored rosés. Plus great rosé is all about delicacy and finesse and lighter colored rosés almost always produce wines with those characteristics. I always choose the lightest rosé I can find.”

This is a genius trick when you’re in a pinch, but Hoel also shared his expert info for those who have a bit more… time and energy to choose. Namely, he recommends looking at a rosés country of origin and level of sweetness.

“The French know rosés better than anyone else. Look for bottles from the Cote de Provence, Rhone Valley, and Burgundy wine regions,” he recommends.

Also, because rosé can be either sweet or dry, here’s a great way to tell which type you’re eyeing when you pick up a bottle: look for the term “ABV” on the label. A bottle’s ABV is a great way to gauge whether the wine is sweet or dry. Wines with a 12.5% or higher are typically dry, while those south of 12.5% will most likely have residual sugar and will appear off-dry or even sweet. So, a wine with 13% ABV is likely to be dry, while one with 10.5% will almost always have noticeable sweetness to it.

When it comes to serving, make sure your rosé is at the right temperature. Yes, it’s possible to be too chilled. Hoel recommends taking your bottle out of the refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving.

If you’re feeling creative, then you can use your rosé in a ton of different ways. Add in some seltzer and fruit for a simple spritzer, or even pour into molds with some water for easy popsicles.

Rosé recommendations:

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