An introduction to Rosé wines!
First of all, let’s dispel the myth that rosé wine is not simply a blend of red and white wines but a separate production process to make the wines pink. However, some sparkling wines are made by that method such as Champagne, Cremant, Pink Prosecco (a new addition) and such like. The vast majority of rosé wines are made by the infusion of red grape skins in the grape juice thus, either lightly colouring the wines or more heavily if the skins are left there for more time. This will generally be between 6 to 24 hours. Anymore and there is a chance, depending on the grape variety and the amount of pigment in the skins, that the wine will become red.
Another way of doing it is by the “bleeding” of the juice when making a red wine. This entails taking some of the juice out of the tank to leave a higher proportion of grape skins to juice, thus making a stronger red wine. However, this doesn’t really take into consideration the final quality of the rosé and thus it isn’t much used today.
The colour comes from anthocyanins in the grape skins and thus each grape variety will give something different to the wine. A combination of the grape varieties used (some may even be white grapes that give no pink colour) and the time macerating (submerged in the juice) will affect the final result. In today’s wine world, the fashion has been for paler rosés rather than the darker ones of some years ago. One of the most popular styles comes from Provence, no doubt fuelled by people’s holidays there, but other regions can offer a similar style albeit from different grape varieties. We have one from Domaine Horgelus in Gascogny which is well flavoured and a great food wine or aperitif.
Rosé wines can either be anything from bone dry to sweetish and the colour doesn’t affect this. Wines such as Pink Zinfandel or Zinfandel Blush have become very popular over the last few years and these tend to be both light in alcohol and colour. Something again on the sweeter side is Cabernet d’Anjou from the Loire Valley made from both Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon. The sugar to give the sweetness comes from not fully fermenting the juice and thus some residual is left to sweeten the wine.
All in all, there are many differing styles and flavours to suit just about everyone. Do have a look at the offers that will come later in the week to see if there’s something to satisfy your loved one this coming Valentines Day and enjoy!