In the Pink
Rosé wine has come a long way in recent years, now being seen as a serious wine option rather than something to quaff in industrial quantities on hot summer days.
As more and more drinkers opt for a bottle of rosé rather than the traditional white/red choice, producers are developing ever more sophisticated wines to cater for every palate. So, as you’re looking at what wines you’re going to have on offer this summer, here’s Take Stock’s guide to everything rosé.
How rosé is made:
Rosé is generally made from black skinned grapes – just like red wine. What differentiates the two is how long the grape juice stays in contact with the skins. There are three distinctly different production methods: maceration; saignée and blending.
This is by far the most common way to make rosé wine. Here, the de-stemmed grapes are crushed and the juice and skin kept in contact with each other for a period long enough to extract the desired amount of colour – between eight and 12 hours for a variety such as Grenache, even less for strongly pigmented grape skins – Cabernet Sauvignon for example. The juice is then separated from the skins – normally by pressing and draining – and then fermented, with the actual fermentation technique depending upon both how dry the wine is to be, and in what style – still, semi-sparkling or sparkling.
From the French word for bleeding, this method of producing rosé is adopted by red wine producers who want to have more tannin or colour in their wines. They do this early in the process by reducing the amount of liquid in their vats, thereby allowing a higher concentration of juice to grape skin. This ‘bleeding’ is done early in the process, the pink grape juice then being fermented separately to produce rosé.
Blending is where white wine has a small amount of red wine added to it to impart colour. Rosés produced this way are typically basic and the process is outlawed in France – except for makers of Champagne – though virtually all top producers prefer the saignée method!
There are two other wines that are commonly grouped within the rosé family: Vin Gris and White Zinfandel.
Very pale pink wines that are produced from grapes with lighter skins, Gamay and Cinsault being prime examples. These red grapes are then pressed immediately – there is no maceration time – the colour coming from the grape itself.
This typically Californian wine is commonly described as a ‘blush’. Named after a grape variety that traces its roots
to Croatia, the wine is normally slightly sweeter and lower in alcohol than European rosés.
Something for everyone
That’s a quick guide to how rosés are made. Here are four examples that offer something to everyone!
Le Rosé de Mouton Cadet
French rosé is on the way back. Many growers are once again focussing on quality rather than quantity. This Mouton Cadet Rosé is a prime example, with winemakers from one of the most recognised names in wine, Baron Philippe de Rothschild overseeing production of this glittering coral pink wine. Produced using a mixture of direct pressing and the saignée method, Le Rosé de Mouton Cadet 2013 is a blend of traditional Bordeaux varieties: Merlot (60%) gives roundness and fruit, Cabernet Franc (23%) refinement and Cabernet Sauvignon (17%) power and structure. A delicious French rosé and a perfect match to a summer salad or grilled chicken skewers.
The 2013 Rosemount Estate Founders Edition Rosé
Hailing from South Eastern Australia, it is at its very best right now. A mixture of Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Grenache and Sangiovese grapes gives this crisp 12% ABV wine a nose of freshly crushed summer fruits with the slightest hint of sweet spices. Serve as an aperitif, with Asian food or with light cheeses.
Think Portuguese wine and there’s a good chance you’ll immediately think of Mateus Rosé – the distinctively shaped bottle being known and loved by generations of wine drinkers. Light, fresh and slightly sparkling, the taste of Mateus Rosé Original is young but balanced – its 11% ABV making it an ideal aperitif. It is also a perfect accompaniment to both Italian pasta dishes and oriental cuisine. A classic!
Gallo White Zinfandel
Gallo’s White Zinfandel is everything you’d expect from a Californian ‘Zin’. Light and fruity with bright flavours of raspberry, strawberry and watermelon. Pair with grilled seafood, pesto pasta sauces or mildly spiced curries.