Rosé has long been a warm-weather favourite but the perception of it is changing. Although simple, cut-price rosés have long dominated this category, consumers are now more likely to look for styles that match well with food and offer a certain level of quality and sophistication. Rosés that better express their grape varieties and regional styles are also becoming popular.
As a result, it’s even more important to communicate to customers how delicious and diverse rosés can be. In this post, we’ve provided a quick guide to how rosés are made.
Rosés come in a variety of styles from fruit-forward to mineral-driven and in a range of sweetness levels, depending on how they’re produced. As with red wines, the colour of rosé depends on how long and in what way the red grape skins are in contact with the juice. Generally speaking, winemakers seek vibrancy in their rosés. This can be achieved through temperature control, which enhances the aromatics of the red varieties while preserving freshness, and careful handling of the juice to ensure that it is protected from oxidation. Delicacy is also important. The colour, flavour and tannin from red grape skins need to be extracted gently to achieve this. Several winemakers use whole bunch pressing (e.g., putting the entire grape bunch into the press rather than destemmed individual grapes) to extract a lovely colour without also extracting any bitter or astringent phenolics from the grape skins.
Red grapes are picked for optimal ripeness for rosé styles (generally earlier than for normal red wine) and macerate with the juice in the tank or press for a period of time. This lasts anywhere from 2-20 hours depending on the colour desired. The pink-coloured juice is removed from the skins and fermented.