Many people think that the rose wine making process is something like mixing white and red wine. They are confused by the different colors of rosé wines. The legislation stipulates that rose wines are produced from red grapes. By simply mixing white wines with reds, you could capture the color. But by mixing, you can’t capture the aroma and flavors specific to this group of wines and can only be provided through a known procedure.

Despite respecting the prescribed rosé production procedures, the differences between world wines are often vague, inaccurate, and undefined. We do not have these problems in Slovenia because our rose wines are close to each other in terms of color intensity and are quickly recognizable to the eye.

Distinguishing between rosé and red wines globally is sometimes difficult for two reasons:

  • The assessment of the boundary between rosé and red is very personal. For some, certain rosés are already red wines; for others not.
  • The appearance of some rosé wines on the eye and instrumentally (spectrophotometrically: color intensity) is more colored than that of individual red wines; the physicochemical and, above all, organoleptic characteristics are closer to rosé wines.

The Originality of the Rose ColorThe rose wine making process is not something like mixing white and red wine.

The dyes in rosé wines are derived from anthocyanins in the berry skin. This means that mainly red varieties are used, with colorless or colored strawberry flesh and reddish (gray) skin. The law does not prohibit the addition of white grapes to red grapes. This is similar to cviček, which is not classified as rosé, but as red wine.
There are red varieties with different colors of strawberry skins: žametovka, blue frankincense, blue pinot, cabernet sauvignon, refošk… Wines from white varieties with colored skin such as Pinot Gris can color the must with a few tens of maceration hours. Such wines are called “claret.” Clarets do not have the right to the name rosé, but “gris de gris” or “gris (gray) wine.”

Regular Rose Wine Making Process Demands Immediate Pressing of Grapes or Mash

A short contact between the grapes’ hard and liquid phases does not allow the tannins to leach. In practice, the first must from the press is usually added. The usual white wine procedure is clearing and alcoholic fermentation at low temperatures (17 ºC).
In the production of white wines from red grapes (blanc de noire) and rosé wines, it is important to add the pomace, which is partially compressed, to the tubs (vinifiers) in which the maceration of the red mash takes place. The pomace is used most economically, as red wine obtains more extract and better yield.

Characteristic of the Rose Wine Making Process Is a Short Maceration

Rosé can also be produced from white and red varieties, which are processed together using the red grape process. After a short maceration (12 to 24 hours), drain the must and then follow alcoholic fermentation at low temperature. Such rosés are called “rosé du saignée” in France, and their properties are very different, depending mainly on the length of the maceration and the proportion of the solitude, which can range from 10 to 60%.

Cold Maceration of Rosé Wines

After this procedure, the mash is macerated for a short time (usually up to 12 hours, sometimes even 24 hours) at a lower temperature (8 to 17 ° C) but more sulfur (up to 50 mg / L) to prevent alcoholic fermentation. Maceration is interrupted after sensation, on the basis of tasting, followed by a short descaling and boiling at low temperature. Such a wine is called “wine of one night” (vin d’une nuit) because this maceration usually lasts overnight following the harvest. Such wines are usually more colored but have the taste and aroma of rosé wines.
The cradle of rosé wines is the famous French wine-growing region of Provence. In their large cellars, they practice having a faucet in large tubs (tanks) during filling, from which flows a must, which is colored due to maceration (“saignée” = bloody).

Rosé wines have established themselves for two reasons:

  • They have a pleasant character that is different from the character of white and red wines, as rosé wines go well with a variety of dishes.
  • In critical harvests (rotten grapes…), rosé wines are the only way out to solve red grapes, which would macerate the wine with too many unpleasant flavors and aromas after rot.

Summary on Rose Wine Making Process

Rosé wines enrich the diversity of the wine offer not only with color but also with their own character. Due to their specific organoleptic character, they have a prominent place in enogastronomy. When looking for a suitable partner to eat when the decision is difficult, whether to choose white or red wine, rosé can be the solution. Rosé wines are synonymous with hot summer days, or with a glass of rosé wine in other seasons, we conjure up summer sensations. Therefore, the procedures for processing grapes and wine production are precisely defined to “capture” the wine’s expected character.

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