So many rosé wines, and so little time! What does a lighter hue indicate? And what will that darker colored pink wine taste like? Making a fruity but balanced pink wine is no easy feat. In fact, many a winemaker will tell you that making rosé is more challenging than vinifying red or white wine.
The fruit, acid, alcohol balance of rosé balances on a tightrope, and too much of any one component, leaves what should otherwise be a fresh, crisp and vibrant wine flat on its tuckus. Producing the perfect pink wine is not just a matter of mixing red and white grape juice…
..so HOW IS A rosé WINE MADE?
Rose wines are produced in the following 5 ways:
1. White and red wines are blended together in order to achieve a desired level of pink or blush tint. This method is commonly used in the production of rosé Champagne as well as high quality sparkling wines. It is rarely utilized in the production of quality still rosé wines.
2. Red grapes, either crushed or uncrushed but broken (preferable), are chilled down and allowed to macerate for 1-4 days. The juice will will then be drawn off or drained, and without being pressed. The drawn juice will then be fermented using cooler temperatures similar to the fermentation procedure for a crisp white wine. This process is known as a “bleed” or “saignée” in French.
3. Whole bunches of red grapes are pressed within 12-16 hours of harvest. This very lightly colored juice is then fermented at cool temperatures similar to that of a crisp, bright white wine. Very pale and delicate, this type of pink wine is often known as a Vin Gris. If left a bit longer, a darker hue will result, however never generally as dark as a rose made with the saignée method.
4. Crushed red grapes and juice are mixed and fermented together for 1-3 days before the juice is run off. A traditional, albeit decreasingly utilized method.
5. Red wine undergoes extensive fining to remove tannins. Color is stripped by treatment with active carbon. Utilized in the production of mass produced, poor quality and tasteless wine. To be avoided.
Next: Bakesale Betty’s and a Rosé from the Basque country!