Pink in Its Prime


By Karen MacNeil
March 2, 2018

Does rosé wine age? I have to say I hadn’t thought much about this until WineSpeed reader Seibatu Hughes from the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France wrote in and inquired. I’ve always assumed that rosé’s beauty is in its exuberance and exuberance is usually a matter of youth (in wine anyway). But I decided to ask some colleagues. Here’s what they had to say:

“The only rosés that can age are those that are meant to go with a meal, not those drunk as an aperitif (which constitute 99% of all rosés made, including most of those from Provence). The rosés that can age include Domaine Temper and Château Simone and some Champagne Rosés, as the acidity and the bubbles preserve the fruit.”

—Steven Spurrier, Decanter Magazine

 

“I had a 1947 rosé in Bourgueil last year that was more fun than the vigneron’s red and the red was still drinking well, too. Of course, techno rosés should be consumed young. (They’re) not made of the stuff to age well.”

—Kermit Lynch, Wine Merchant and Author

 

“It absolutely can… when it’s treated and made like a wine and not a byproduct! There are great examples of ageworthy rosés from Rioja, from Provence, from many parts of the wine world.”

—Matt Stamp, MS, Partner, Compline Wine Bar, Napa, CA

 

 “I second what Matt (Stamp) says. When it is clear that the winery is making an “Intentional rosé” then you find examples of ageability. I also find the rosés that have a little longer skin contact, even if just an hour longer, the wine tends to age longer. The signature is higher phenolic when its young.

Examples:

  • Domaine Tempier – I’ve had these with over ten years of age and they are great.
  • Clos Cibonne “Tibouren” – We have the 2009 on the list now and it’s delicious.
  • López de Heredia – They release the wines after 6 years.
  • Robert Sinskey – If I can keep my hands off it to age, it does age very well. Rose petals and oranges after a few years.”

 —Ryan Stetins, MS, Partner, Compline Wine Bar, Napa, CA

 

“I guess it depends on how much time you mean when you say age. Unti Rosé really tastes at its best when it has been in the bottle for 10-12 months. Grenache and particularly mourvèdre can be a little closed or even reduced for a month or two after being bottled. But both grenache and mourvèdre have structure allowing rosé to taste lively for about two years post bottling. Kind of like Bandol. I don’t think there is much to be gained by aging rosé longer than 2 years. The wine might be fine, but there is a risk rosé loses some freshness.”

—Mick Unti, Co-Founder, Unti Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, CA

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