Just like rosé, blush wine is easy to drink, can be paired with pretty much any type of meal, and has a very delicate color. From simple food pairings to an ideal summer drink (hey, why not pair it with ice for the ultimate summer beverage?) blush wine gives you a lot of reasons to love it.

But what exactly is blush wine? How is it different to rosé? And which blush wines are the best? Let’s look at its main characteristics, tasting notes, and learn a few interesting facts about this unique wine.

What is Blush Wine?

Blush wines can be made in a palette of colors, from light to medium pink. The juice that comes out from every wine is always clear in color. It doesn’t matter whether it comes from white or red grapes.

What affects the color of the wine is the process of placing the clear juice in contact with the wine’s skins. To that end, when winemakers want to make blush wine, they either blend the white and red, or they leave the clear juice to be in contact with the red wine skins for about an hour or so. By leaving the clear juice in contact with the red wine skins, they influence the color of the wine – leaving you with that wonderful blushed color.

Now, this leads us well into our next common question – what exactly is the difference between blush wines and rosé wines? And is there a difference at all?

Blush Vs. Rosé

Many people mistake blush wine for rosé wine, and they think these two are the same. Even though they are very similar, there are still some differences.

Blush wine
While rosé is the more common, there are some important differences with rosé wine and blush wine. Technically, all rosé wine are blush wines, but not all blush wines are rosé…

First and most importantly, all rosé wines are made from clear juice that has been in contact with grape skins. At the same time, rosé wine can never be a blend of white and red wines, whereas blush wines can be made via both methods. Therefore, all rosé wines can be considered blushes, but that cannot be said for all blush wines.

In the last few years of the wine industry, the term rosé is used more frequently than blush. Wines that have been labeled as blush are more mass-market oriented, whereas wines labeled as rosé come in smaller, premium batches.

In the winemaking industry, once a feedback cycle has formed, it can be hard to break. With rosé wines being more traditionally attached to small batch and more expensive bottles, it can be difficult for a blush wine to break into the same price category as rosé wines tend to occupy – even though it’s often a directly comparable winemaking process.

That being said, in some areas (specifically, California) there has been a recent resurgence in using the marketing term ‘blush wine’ instead of rosé. These wines may well start to reclaim the term ‘blush wine’ in the marketplace, with an increase in higher-end wines being labelled as blush rather than rosé.

Main Characteristics of Blush Wines

All pink wines share many traits with white wines. Typically, they come with a bit more body, and as a result of their freshness, they are considered summertime wines. Some blush wines that are more intensely colored, lean more toward red wines with their complexity and structure.

Also, there are differences between the old world and new world blush wines. For example, the old world wines contain more alcohol compared with their counterparts from the new world. On the other hand, new world wines tend to be quite sweeter.

So, blush wines can be fruity, floral, and light…but they can also be insipid and bland.

A well-balanced blush wine needs to contain the right amount of acid, sugar, and alcohol. The key is in the balance that can bring out its complexity, while at the same time, the wine is not as strong as the typical red wine and has none of the complexity (and dryness) of tannins.

This leaves blush wines as the ideal summer drink – easily drinkable, and light tasting. If you’re looking for something a little different, why not try adding aa few cubes of ice to your blush wine? It’ll cool it down to the perfect temperature, and will typically take some of the ‘edge’ off the more intense bitter notes that can form in certain blush wines.

Blush and Rosé Varietals

Some of the most common blush wines in the United States are White Grenache, White Merlot, and White Zinfandel. Even though these wines contain the term “white,” they are all blush wines made for red wine juice in contact with red skins.

Thanks to that minimal contact, they’ve received their pink color and feature that fantastic color somewhere between light strawberry and pink diamond.

When it comes to rosé wines, they come from even more wines – from pink Champagne to rosé of Sangiovese.

Serving Blush and Rosé

Blush and rosé wines need to be served chilled at temperatures ranging from 40 to 45 degrees. If it is dry, bit more complex rosé wine, it can be served at a somewhat warmer temperature, from 43 to 48 degrees. Ideally, blush wine needs to be served in wine glasses with stems.

Serving blush wine
Blush wine and rosé should always be served chilled, although drier blush wines can be served at very slightly higher temperatures – although should still be in the chilled temperature range.

Blush Wine Food Pairing

Thanks to its light flavor, blush wine can be paired with a wide palette of foods. While it has a good fit with many foods, you can check out some of the more popular pairings for blush wine (or rosé wine) and see what you prefer:

  • Lobster
  • Salmon
  • Italian food featuring red sauces
  • Barbecue
  • Goat Cheese

Blush wine in conclusion

Winemakers have tried to make rosé or blush wine from almost every red wine variety. Thanks to that, there is a wide selection of blush wines. There will always be some new blush wine waiting to be discovered and tried. You never know, they might become your favorite wines.