Rosé is one of the fastest-growing segments in the wine market, selling out by the pallet every summer. When you’re sipping on your pink wine on a café terrace somewhere, one day you might get curious about how the wine was made. Today we are going to debunk a few myths and demystify how rosé is made.
Blending: The Myth
Rosé is not white wine and red wine blended together, except in infrequent instances such as Champagne. It’s actually restricted in most areas for table wine. It’s also not usually sweet, although it is often fruity. With Champagne, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the primary grapes, which can be fermented separately then blended before the second fermentation in the bottle, which happens in the bottle.
Method One: Maceration
The most common way of making rosé is to let red grapes macerate on their skins for maybe a few hours or even a day, then pressing the wine so that it otherwise ferments like a white wine—i.e. Without the skins, which gives wine its color. Longer maceration will generally result in a darker color, or grapes with thicker skins may give it more color.
Method Two: Bleeding
Some wineries may choose this less common method, which is really a byproduct of red wine fermentation. Also called “saignée,” this process happens while red grapes go through extended maceration—maybe a couple of weeks—and the access juice “bleeds off,” creating a pink wine! Some Champagne producers also use this method.
Method Three: Direct Pressing
When you find a rosé with just a whisper of pink, this is likely made by direct pressing. This is when a winemaker immediately presses the red grapes, completely foregoing maceration. This will also result in a more delicate flavor profile.