Rose wine or popularly known as rosé is a type of wine made from grapes using similar techniques when making white wine. The usual colors are salmon and pink. The color varies depending on the type of grapes and wine-making methods used.
Compare to white and red wine, rose wines was only “discovered” in late 1970’s and it’s only in the past couple of years that it’s gaining popularity both in Europe and United Stated. Dubbed as the “patio and summertime wine” it’s best served when chilled. It compliments light food that include Asian, seafood, and chicken. Rose wine is not heavy as red wine but it’s not also light as the white wine. Yes, it’s just somewhere in the middle.
Rose wine-making methods/techniques
First, it’s important to understand that simply blending white and red wine does not make Rosé. Winemakers use red grapes varieties and these days, they’re also mixing certain amount of white grapes with the red ones to achieve better taste. The process of making Rosé is elaborate and some of the most common methods are the following:
• Saignée or bleeding. This process involves bleeding off a portion of red wine after hours or days of contact with the grape skin. Because the juice and the grape skin are in contact for only a short period of time, the liquid comes out pink and not red. Winemakers who want to obtain certain color (dark pink, light pink, dark salmon, light salmon, etc.) increase or decrease the ratio of juice to grape skin in the vat. This explains why different Rosé have different colors.
• Presse or pressing. This process starts as soon as the red grapes arrived in the cellar. They are quickly pressed to allow quicker diffusion of the color. The juice is left in contact with the grape kin for no more than few hours so the wine is delicately colored.
• Limited maceration. This process is basically the same one used when making red wine. The only difference is the limited maceration of the grape skin to obtain lighter color. In here, the grape’s skins are exposed to some degree of heat to breakdown and extract phenols. Maceration continues until fermentation process and can last until the yeast has converted sugars into alcohol.
• Run off. In this process, the grapes are crushed and winemakers get 10% of the juice and macerate it with the same amount of grape skin to increase the amount of phenolics, flavor compounds, and tannins. The free-run juice is then macerated for up to 24 hours (longer depending on the desired color) to make a rose wine.
• Blending. Although this is not acceptable in most countries, particularly in France, it is still being used by some wine makers. The process involves mixing red and white wine to achieve Rose wine’s pale color. Through this, the wine’s aroma is enhanced and alcohol level is adjusted. In addition, this process helps in adjusting the levels of tanning and minimizing the ph of a wine.
Different rose wines are made using different techniques. This explains why different brands do not taste and look the same. To give you an idea, rose wines from Europe are typically dry while the ones from the United States are relatively sweeter.
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