Consumption of rosé wine jumped 23% between 2002 and 2019, and fans of this delicious pink-hued drink know exactly why rosé is soaring in popularity. But as many people as there are who love this refreshing and subtly elegant style of wine, fewer know how it's made.
Here's a quick look at the four ways to make rosé
Maceration is one of the most common ways to make rosé. This production method involves crushing red grapes and leaving the resulting mash to sit, or macerate, as little as a few hours or as long as two days. That rest period allows the skins of the grapes to sit in contact with the juice and add complexity to the wine itself while also contributing the telltale pink hue that makes rosé so easy to spot.
Though there are exceptions, long maceration times generally create rosé that has more body, a more robust flavor, and a deeper color.
Direct pressing is considered a pure way to make rosé because the grapes are softly pressed and only the free-run mush is collected and used for the rest of the wine-making process. Unlike maceration, which sees the light flesh of the red grapes sitting in contact with the darker skins, direct pressing involves very little contact between the juice and the skin. The result is rosé that's a light, almost salmon pink, true to the original grape, and often beautifully delicate in taste and aroma.
Some winemakers use the direct press method but choose to add some red wine during vinification to achieve a more recognizable rosé color.
Saignée means "to bleed," and rosé made using this method sees juice "bled" from a fermentation vat used to make red wine. This stolen juice has some characteristics of red wine, namely a moderately robust structure and some of that stunning coloring, but since there's been limited contact with the grape skins, the end product is a rosé rather than a full red.
This process is usually chosen when a winemaker wants to create a more full-bodied, layered rosé. There are some similarities between the direct press and saignée methods, but rosé made using the saignée technique is typically darker and richer.
Blended rosé is made by combining red and white wine until it reaches the desired color and balance. These blends are typically made up of about 95% white wine and just 5% red wine, and the technique is almost exclusively used to create sparkling rosé rather than still wines.
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