If white sparkling wine is too ordinary, think pink to delight your loved one.
If you are wondering if rosé is a grape variety or if pink wine gets its colour from pink grapes, read on.
Rosé is a style of wine made by using the juice of red wine grapes. Its pink hue typically comes from pressing the grape skins for a short period of time with the juice, which imparts both colour and character. Rosé can also be made into champagne or sparkling wine.
Rosé can be made from almost any red wine grape variety.
Depending on the style and character that the winemaker wants, the wine can either be a single variety or a blend to add different complementary components, just as you would when blending a red wine. The varieties used to produce rosé changes depending on the country or region, as winemakers will use the red wine grapes that grow best in that area. For example, winemakers may use Pinot Noir in California, Shiraz in Australia, Grenache in France, or Montepulciano in Italy.
Wine gets its colour from the grape skin as the juice is clear.
Red grape skins are included with the juice during the fermentation stage during a process called “skin contact”. The longer the contact, the deeper the colour. Rosé undergoes a short period of skin contact – anywhere from 2 to 24 hours – depending on whether the winemaker wants to achieve a deep pink or soft coral hue, what kind of grape they are using, and the style they are producing. Grape skins also add depth to wines; it is one of the main contributors of tannin to red wines.
There are a few different techniques for achieving colour in rosé champagne.
The most popular method of making rosé is called maceration, where you press the skins with the juice before removing them and continuing to make the wine as you would any other. It is most commonly made as you would a fresh, aromatic white wine such as Pinot Gris: fermented in steel rather than aged with oak chips or in oak barrels.
The second method is called saignée, or bleeding, and involves portioning off some juice from a red wine production, which is then taken through the next steps of winemaking to produce rosé. This method produces a richer, more in-depth rosé and a richer red wine as it leaves a higher ratio of skins to juice. It is also sometimes used to make rosé champagne.
The final method is where you blend a small portion of red wine into a vat of white wine. This method is not very common with still wines but is the preferred way of making rosé champagne.
A couple of factors will influence the aromas and flavours of the rosé: the grape varieties used and how it is made. Typical characters will include red fruits, citrus, florals, and a savoury element that grounds the wine: this could be anything from white pepper to green melon or olives.
However, as rosé can be produced from such a wide range of grapes, its characteristics can change vastly. The great thing about rosé is that there is a style to suit almost every palate: fruity, savoury, floral, or sweet.