Rosé Wine

Study Guides > Varieties > Rosé Wine

Signature Styles & Characteristics

The best rosé wines are made from individual grapes or blends of several varieties, ranging from Pinot Noir (vin gris style) to red Rhône grapes (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, etc.), Iberian varieties (Tempranillo), Italian (e.g. Sangiovese) and so many more. The range is indeed part of the category’s charm. Although any grape can be interpreted in innovative and at times, outlying styles, the below chart/graphic represents the preponderance of what you will find in California:

  • Dryness/Residual Sugar

    Rosé Wine: 50 percent on a scale from Dry to Sweet of Dryness/Residual Sugar.

  • Acid (potential)

    Rosé Wine: 80 percent on a scale from Low to High of Acid (potential).

  • Alcohol (potential)

    Rosé Wine: 80 percent on a scale from Low to High of Alcohol (potential).

  • Body (weight on palate)

    Rosé Wine: 80 percent on a scale from Low to High of Body (weight on palate).

Signature Styles
Production Methods
Saignée (bleeding), skin contact, blending (small amounts of red wine into white wine)
Single grape (e.g. White Zinfandel), vin gris (Pinot Noir-based), Rhône blends, Italian, Iberian, proprietary, sparkling (rosé cuvées)
Lean/tart to round and smooth
1-3 years, and in some instances longer
Varieties Used by Style
Single Grape
Primarily Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Grenache, etc.
Rhône Blends
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault, etc.
Sangiovese, Barbera, etc.
Primarily Tempranillo
Many and varied varieties and combinations are used


  • Red Fruit


    Red currant, red/black plum, cranberry, raspberry, grape, cherry, strawberry, pomegranate, pink grapefruit, tangerine, orange, apricot, nectarine, persimmon, peach, watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, red/yellow pepper, mushroom, beet, rhubarb
  • Red Floral


    Rose, jasmine, orange blossom, violet, bay leaf, chamomile, verbena
  • Red Earth


    Mineral, chalk, salinity
  • Red Other


    Nut (chestnut, almond, hazelnut), bubblegum, marmalade, jelly