Oh rosé – you had us at pink! On the heels of National Rosé Day, we thought it would be fun to explain a little history on how rosé is made, with a few details in between. Rosé happens when the skins of red grapes touch wine for a very short time in comparison to red wine, for example. Where some red wines ferment for weeks at a time on red grape skins, rosé wines are essentially ‘stained’ red for just a few hours. How fun for the winemaker who essentially gets to choose his favorite shade of pink. Nearly any red wine grape from Cabernet Sauvignon to Syrah can be used to make rosé, but there are several common styles and grapes that are preferred. Here is a little bit about the process. First, there is the “Blending Method.” The blending method is when a little bit of red wine is added to a vat of white wine to make rosé. It takes very little red wine to dye a white wine pink, therefore these wines will have up to 5% or so of a red wine added. This is not the preferred method by most and happens much more in sparkling wine regions such as Champagne than for still rosé styles. Second is the “Maceration Method.” The maceration method is when red wine grapes are left to rest (or macerate) in the juice for a period of time and then the entire batch of juice is finished into a rosé. This tends to produce darker colored wine with a distinct richer flavor. The maceration method is the most common type of rosé and is used in regions like Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon, France where rosé is just as important as red or white wine. During this method, Rosé wines usually touch red grape skins from roughly 2–20 hours. Lastly we have the “Saignée or Bled Method.” The Saignée (San-yay) method is done through the first few hours of red wine making, where some of the juice is ‘bled’ off and put into a new vat to make rosé. This bleeding off of the juice produces a gorgeous rosé, but it also makes the red wine more intense. Saignée style wines are rare and hardly used, but an interesting concept indeed. It is more commonly used in wine regions that make more refined red wines like that of Napa and Sonoma. These are just a few fun facts about rosé but the best way to learn more is to drink more rosé – we are here to help. Join us for A Great Oregon Wine Tour, where we can explore the vast world of Willamette Valley rosés!
Rosé – You Had Us At Pink!