Rose wine is basically the middle ground between hearty reds and the lighter whites. It is usually served chilled but not to the extent of a full white and in particular, very dry whites.
Rose wines are not always light pink in color but usually are, hence the name. Also, Rose wines lack the robust tannic structure of red wines but it makes up for this with lovely aromas and crisp tastes.
Rose’s don’t often match certain foods like full reds or whites but do lend themselves quite nicely to light meals such as fruit salads, mild cheeses, and light desserts like fruit tarts with cream.
So how are Rose wines made?
I’ll cover what I consider are the three most common techniques for making rose.
One of the most popular methods for making Rose is the process referred to as’Limited maceration’. Using this method the grape skins remain in contact with the grape juice until the desired color has been achieved, which is down to the discretion of the wine maker. When the desired colour is achieved, the colored grape juice is then separated from the grape skins and moved to a different tank where the full fermentation process will continue.
Another common technique for makng Rose is called ‘Presse’. This is where the pressing of the red grapes is strictly controlled until the appropriate color has been achieved. The pressing is done slowly and lightly at first to gauge and control the juice’s coloration qualities as these can differ greatly. Then, only the pressed juice is used to make the wine. Any juices not extracted from the from the grapes are usually discarded.
Yet another method is the ‘Saignee’ process, also referred to as ‘bleeding’. It is considered to be one of the best methods but is certainly not the easiest. The grapes to be used are stacked into the tanks or tubs, occasionally in the actual field, and left to naturally crush down under their own weight.
As the grapes squash down on each other the juice runs down to the bottom of the tub where it is then collected. Because there is limited contact between the skin and the juice a very pale pink color can be achieved. Wines made using this method often vary from year to year regarding the exact colour and taste because of the lack of control.