It's International Rosé Day, and here's your quick guide to all things rosé.
Rosé immediately stands out in wine because it's pink, and no, they usually don't achieve the colour by mixing red and white wine, unless it's sparkling rosé.
Rosé is a 'hot' category in wine at the moment that shows no signs of slowing down. Rosé has many advantages as it's very food friendly, or goes down just nicely by itself. It can range from very light in style, to some now that are getting a little more complex or even barrel fermented.
The colour in wine comes from the skin. If you peel a grape, the flesh inside is colourless. It's contact with the skins that gives wine its colour. So, rosé is made from black grapes. Yes, you heard me correctly, red wine is made from black grapes. The longer you leave the grapes in contact with the skins, the more colour that is extracted. So being very light in colour, Rosé wine spends minimal time in contact with the skins therefore producing a pink-light red colour.
There are two main techniques for producing rosé wine; the Press method, and the Saignée method.
The Press Method:
In the press method, grapes are harvested without being crushed, and are loaded into a press, often pneumatic. The grapes are immediately pressed with skin contact typically lasting 1-4hrs. This way, very little colour is extracted, leaving a pink colour to the juice. The juice is racked off to tank and fermented the same as white wine.
This is the traditional method for making rosé wine in Provence.
The Saignée Method:
In the saignée method, things are a little different. Saignée means to 'bleed'. In this method, grapes are crushed and macerated as per standard red wine production. After 12-36hrs, juice is 'bled off' and fermented separately and made into rosé wine. The remaining juice is fermented and crafted into a red wine. With this method, two styles of wine can be made.
This is the traditional method for making rosé wine in Tavel.
Historically, rosé wine was made from Grenache. Provence is the home of rosé and Grenache suits the hot climate. Grenache is light-coloured and thin-skinned making it an ideal choice. In practice, rosé can be made from any red variety and there are many styles out there. Here in Australia, Sangiovese is very popular in rosé. Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot Noir are all popular choices.
Aromas and flavours:
Rosé aromas and flavours typically fall into the red fruit category. Common descriptors include; strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, cherry etc and sometimes can exhibit citrus nuances of grapefruit.
So, there you have it. Make sure you grab a glass of rosé today, and make sure you include it in your regular wine calendar!