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  • Sophie

A Rosé extravaganza summer! Actually how do you make Rosé?

Rosé winemaking?

The pink stuff, blush, the girly wine, this is not real wine, Rosé all day....There are so many ways to refer to a Rosé wine!!

For some people Rosé is not a real wine compared to red or white wines but due to the recent commercial success of Rosé and winemakers investing in gastronomic rosé making our perception of Rosé has changed as much as the large range of quality Rosé you can find at your local wine store.

Examples of fine Rosé are château d’esclans (the creator of whispering angel) high end Garrus around £90 for a bottle and not a magnum!

Recently I have heard a winemaker telling me that he leaves his Rosé on its lees for close to a year meaning it’s Rosé will only be released 2 years after harvesting! Quite unusual for the consumer used to have the Rosé from the previous year.

Have you heard of oaked Rosé? Those fancy Rosé are meant to be paired with food. A good alternative to white when you want a bit of tannins and red fruits in your glass.

But how is Rosé made?

Traditionally there are 3 types of making Rosé.

1st method being the saignée or bleeding the grapes.

Here the real intention of the wine maker isn’t to make a Rosé as a first product. His Rosé is a by-product because he wants to make a really concentrated red wine he will draw off some of juice that will be lighter and can make a Rosé wine out of it. It means practically that crushed red grapes will be left to macerate in a tank for up to 2-3 days and after that the winemaker will either draw off some of the juice at the bottom of the tank or will press and draw off depending on how much tannins he wants in his future Rosé.

The more you press the more colour will be extracted.

From there the next step will be the fermentation off the skin just like it’s done for a white wine.

Rosé de Saignée

2nd method is the pressing.

Red grapes in a tank will go under gentle pressing and the skin of the black grapes will be left in contact with the juice for the anthocyanines in the grapes to colour the juice. For a very light Rosé in can be only a few hours but for a darker Rosé it can left in contact for up to 2 days. The timing will depend on the selected grapes and how much tannins they contain but mostly it will be a question of style of wine you want to create. After all the wine maker is the artist choosing what will be his creation. His vision will lead him to chose the right amount of skin contact needed. After that the juice is fermented without the skin to get your final wine.

Third method - not allowed in France besides in Champagne is blending.

It’s probably the simplest way to get a Rosé. Mix some red and white wine to get the colour and intensity of flavour needed. In the new world, the lack of regulation will allow for blending but regions such as côte de Provence and appellation rules won’t allow this practice.

Champagne tasting at Henri Giraud

Et voila! now you know everything about Rosé and can brag in social circles.

Bonus question for the ones who read this article until the end... how do you make an orange wine?

Well you will ferment while the grapes are still in contact with the juice but this will be for the next time!

A Taste of wine is holding a Rosé tasting on the 14th August at Batonnage in Belgravia London I hope to see you there!

Many thanks,


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