Wine Tip: Rose Wine vs. Blush Wine


Labor Day might signal the end of summer vacations, but there are still several more weeks of  summer weather and what complements a warm sunny day better than a glass of rosé? Or wait.. is it blush? They both look the same, right?

What exactly is in my glass right now?

Turns out, rosé wine and blush wine are the same. If that’s all you needed to know, you can stop reading now, but if you want to impress your friends with your superior wine knowledge, continue on!

The secret to understanding rosé and blush wine is to have a general understanding of how red wine is made. When the red wine grapes are harvested, they are put into a machine that removes all the stems, then the grapes go into a tank where they will ferment. This is when the juice soaks up the color from the skins, and the longer they stay together, the darker the the wine will be. So if you’re making a rosé wine that has a nice pink hue, you simply want to press the juice out a little sooner, limiting contact with the skins.

Did you know: Rosé wine is thought to be one of the earliest forms of wine produced, an ancestor of the red wines we love and drink today. Over time with the development of new wine pressing techniques and equipment, plus a change in tastes for wine, wine makers started fermenting the juice with the skins longer to create heavier, darker, bolder red wines.

So now where does blush wine come in? They are the same thing after all, so why the different name? There are two reasons for this: the rise in popularity of White Zinfandel (a rosé-style wine), and the decline in popularity of rosé wine. Surely every one of you was a “White Zin” drinker at some point in your life, don’t try to hide it, we’ve all been there. White Zinfandel became so popular that wine makers were unable to keep up with demand. And even though White Zinfandel is a rosé wine, for some reason, people didn’t like the name “rosé” anymore, similar to how today we laugh about the olden days of Mateus.

Did you know: Sweetness is not necessarily a characteristic of rosé and blush wines. Many rosés are completely dry, meaning they contain no residual sugar, whereas others are sweet enough for dessert. The main distinction here is the color of the wine.

Try a blush wine with sushi!
Try a blush wine with sushi!

And thus the blush wine was born from the must, solving two problems. First, it was still that pink, sometimes sweet wine we all secretly enjoyed, it just wasn’t called rosé anymore. Second, it could be made from varietals besides Zinfandel which was running low on supply. Now you can find rosés and blushes made from nearly any red varietal such as Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, or Merlot. A blush made of Cabernet Sauvignon, anyone? Come to Hawk Haven and try our Rosé!

Hawk Haven Red-Tailed Rosé
Hawk Haven Rosé

The bottom line here is that blush wine and rosé wine are essentially the same thing, and I want to make another point as well: please don’t stop drinking them! Whether you prefer red, white, or sweet wines, you don’t want to miss out on the many great rosés and blushes out there today. There are some that are very sweet and oh so tasty with a piece of chocolate or some sorbet, and there are some that are very dry yet still bold and fruit-forward, perfect for a barbecued dinner outside on the porch. When you’re doing a wine tasting, try to avoid the temptation to skip the pink wine in favor of something you already know you’ll like. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Please feel free to share your thoughts below. What is your favorite blush or rosé wine? Do you pair it with a particular meal or do you drink it by itself? Let us know!

Comments on ‘Wine Tip: Rose Wine vs. Blush Wine’:

  1. I suffer from acid reflux and find most white wine too acidic .I can drink any red but prefer fruity to spicey. I am looking for a blush that is neither sweet nor dry ie a medium dry. Can you suggest a nice medium dry fruity but not citrus fruit.
    My wine days appear to be numbered so many white and blush are either too dry or sweet.
    I would love to hear from you with a few suggestions.
    Thank you very much. Jane

    1. Hi Jane,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your acid reflux! Having experienced it myself I know it is no fun at all. I’m glad that you’re able to enjoy red wines and I would be happy to suggest a blush wine for you. Here at Hawk Haven we offer two rose wines: Flying Press Rose and our Signature Series Dry Rose.

      The Flying Press Rose is considered an “off-dry” wine at around 2% residual sugar. Most people, especially those who are used to drinking dryer wines, would say this has a hint of sweetness. It has notes of strawberry, cranberry, and watermelon.

      As for the Signature Series Dry Rose, it is bone-dry and has notes of raspberry jam, strawberry, and kiwi.

      We would love to have you stop by our winery for a wine tasting if you’re ever in the states (it looks like you’re from the UK). We are located in Cape May County, New Jersey and our tasting room is open daily, year round. We currently only ship to New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania but we have plans to expand this list so keep an eye on our website for updates.

      In the meantime I know it can be hard to know which wines to try when you’re in a liquor store or wine store filled with thousands of different bottles. There can be so much variation in roses and blushes as far as sweetness goes. Look for “off-dry” and maybe even “semi-sweet” wines, and if you know the residual sugar percentage of a wine that is just right for your palate, try to seek out other wines in that same range. Usually you can do a quick google search of a particular wine to find out the residual sugar and other information. I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any other questions!


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