Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Rosé By Any Other Name?

I recently read a great article at, by Jeff Richards in which he explore the use and misuse of the terms "rosé" and "blush," as they apply to wines. Mr. Richards sites several sources including,
As much as I've learned about wine in the 20 years that I've worked with the industry, made wine and now co-host a radio show dedicated to the subject, I was a little hazy on the true distinc
And now, thanks to the magic of Google and
my little BloggyDoggy, here's the Viva La Difference from
First of all Rosé wine is not a blending of red and white wine (abstraction made of the exceptional case of Champagne Rosé).

Rosé wine is made from red grape-varieties. And, nowadays, many winemakers mix a certain amount of white grapes with
the red.

The elaboration of rosé wine is delicate. It is probably why the amateur is sometimes disappointed by the quality of a rosé. Particularity, European rosé is "dry". On the contrary,
American rosé is sweet and similar to white wine.

There are at least three methods of makin
g rosé wine:

Gray or pale rosé wine

The grapes are pressed as soon as they arrive in the cellar. It allows a quicker diffusion of the color in the must.

The juice is left a very short time in conta
ct with the skin. No more than a few hours! That way the must is delicately colored.

Rosé wine is then made in the same way as a white wine, fermentation of the must cleared of solid elements with out any more maceration. The winemaker obtains a gray or pale rosé wine (for Gris de Bourgogne or Rosé de Loire).

Colored pink wine

To obtain a colored pink wine the grapes are put in the fermentation tank after having been crushed. The juice quickly enriches itself in alcohol with the temperature going up (in the tank).

At the contact of the solid element the color quickly diffuses. The winemaker chooses the intensity of
the color by controlling a sample every hour. When he is satisfied he devattes.

The wine is evacuated in another tank to finish fermenting. The must left in the original tank is evacuated and not used for rosé any more.

The bleeding

To obtain an even more intense color, once an hour, during the initial fermentation the winemaker takes out of the tank a certain amount of juice.

When the color is satisfying, the wine making process goes on as for a white wine. Rosé de Provence are obtai
n by that method.

Above is the label from one our local rosé favorites.

GRAPE VARIETY: 38% Grenache, 33% Syrah, 15%
Mourvedre, 14% Viognier
VINEYARD: Cass Vineyard, Paso Robles;
French Camp Vineyard, Paso Robles;
Fralich Vineyard, Paso Robles
BOTTLING DATE: January 11, 2007
ALCOHOL: 14.3%
PRODUCTION: 411 cases
RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2007

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