Rosé Serving Temperature
Published by Simon Huntington on 29/05/2019
Devotees of Will Lyons’ Twitter feed will have followed a storm in a wine glass in recent days, as some on social media took issue with his Sunday Times article on rosé.
Particular umbrage was taken by some who believed he had advised that rosé is best served “piercingly cold”, arguing that doing so strips a wine of its finer flavours and prevents enjoyment of its full complexity.
But is there such a thing as a perfect temperature at which to serve rosé? Is it, for example, suited more to treatment as a light, Beaujolais-style red, which is delicious enjoyed after just half an hour in the fridge? Or should your bottle be mercilessly chilled to within a few degrees of absolute zero and kept between pouring in a bucket of liquid nitrogen?
We’ve canvassed the opinions of three of Roberson’s most passionate rosé-drinking staff, each with their own expert take on the issue.
Shana Dilworth is Roberson’s poacher turned gamekeeper, having worked previously as a sommelier at fine dining establishments including Orrery and Skylon. Here’s her foodie take on the rosé temperature issue:
“The temperature you serve rosé at really depends on the setting.
“If it’s a hot, sunny day and you’re enjoying a picnic, I think it’s absolutely fine to stick the bottle in an ice bucket and serve it well-chilled.
“On the other hand, if it’s a Sunday evening and you’re serving rosé with food like a Tuna Niçoise salad, it really needs to be warmer to enjoy all the nuances of flavour. In this scenario, I’d treat the rosé like you would a light Beaujolais and serve at around 12°C.
“Most white wines would typically be served at 7° - 9°, so it’s clearly quite a bit warmer.”
Alex Hurley is Roberson’s in-house winemaker, responsible for making our London Cru wines, and had a major hand in production of our 2018 Rosaville Rd English Rosé. Unsurprisingly as a winemaker, he has a strong opinion:
“Serve rosé too cold and you lose all the character. No wine fridge at optimal serving temperature would ever be set at 4 or 5 degrees, so why would you serve a rosé ice-cold?
“Yes, very heavily chilled rosé is easy to drink and refreshing, but the flavour is completely subdued. Why even bother drinking wine? You might as well make a gin and tonic.
“As winemakers we go to huge lengths to bring as much expression to your glass as possible. Chill a wine too much and you’re undoing all of our hard work!
“Serve as you would a chilled red, at about 12° - 14°C.”
Keith Kirkpatrick is Roberson’s Head of Agencies and Buying, and has previously worked in restaurant wine sales. Here’s his view:
“For me you drink rosé when you want the red fruit flavours of a red wine, but with the refreshment and easy-drinking character of a white. So why wouldn’t you serve it well-chilled?
“I mainly drink rosé as a ‘getting-ready’ wine – when I’m cooking a meal or setting up the barbecue. I’m not looking for something that requires concentration.
“I also love the south of France, and there’s nothing better than sitting on a sun-dappled lunch terrace with a plate of langoustines. But even then, the outside temperature means that you want the wine as cold as possible.
“Treat your rosé like you would a refreshing white wine and don't take it too seriously.”
So there you have it. Either chill your rosé, or don't. Treat rosé like a white wine, or don't. It's up to you.
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