June 8, 2019 | Angela Chapman
Rose' All Day!
A Rosé by Any Other Name…
…would still be a pink wine.
But to simply calling it a pink wine does not do it justice. Rosé wines can be bone dry, insatiably sweet, sparkling and anywhere in between. Wonderfully complex or deceptively simple this wine can fit any palate. So, how is a rosé made and what makes it so versatile?
There are three methods of making a rosé wine.
The first is the most obvious; mix a little bit of red wine into a white wine and poof! Instant pink wine! Although it is not thought to be the most prestigious way to make a rosé, blending is an acceptable wine making method in many wine producing regions.
Next up is the Maceration Method. This is a more common way of making a rosé wine, and it starts off with red grapes. The red grapes are pressed and left on the skins for around 6-48 hours. Less time on the skins means less pink and more time on the skins means more pink. Then the juice is removed from the skins and allowed to ferment as normal.
And lastly there is the Saignée (sohn-yey) Method. Saignée means to bleed. In most cases, the main purpose of this method is to make a better red wine, the rosé wine is a delightful byproduct. Early in the red wine making process some of the juice is removed. This removed juice is pink in color because it had some contact with the skins. It is then fermented separately to make a rosé wine. The red wine left in the original fermentation vat is more concentrated, giving it richer flavor and darker color.
These are just the first steps in making rosé wine. After it gets its characteristic pink hue it is up to the wine maker to finish it off by making it dry, sweet, sparkling or whatever your heart desires!
- Written by Angela Chapman, WSET III
Edited by fellow wino Mariam Copeland