A mix of red and white?
Rosé is not a mix of red and white wine. Well, not entirely anyway. Some rosé champagnes are the product of a combination of red and white wine. However, in the production of rosé, it’s important to note that the colour comes from the skin of the red grapes used. When making rosé, you have to extract a portion of the colour from the skins, as if you were making a very pale red wine. Here are two of the most frequent techniques used.
This technique consists of gently pressing the red grapes with the help of a press. In the few minutes it takes to accomplish this task, a light-coloured and very subtle-tasting juice is obtained. This is the same technique used to make white wine. Rosés made in this fashion are very refreshing, like wines from Provence for example. Making a good rosé is all about finding the perfect balance between colour and tannins.
This method is the most commonly used. It resembles the technique used to make red wine, but the maceration step is much shorter. After macerating in a barrel between 12 and 48 hours, the wine is “bled”. This means the wine is strained in order to separate the red grape’s coloured pigments from the tannins contained in the skins. The mixture is then transferred to another barrel where it continues its fermentation process. And that’s how you make rosé!