The world of wine isn't just red & white... there's a lot of pink area! Yes, I'm talking about ...
I don't know about you, but I love a nice rosé. They come in a whole range of color and concentration- ranging from the lightest, prettiest blush to salmon to electric hot pink to a light red. No matter your mood, occasion or cuisine, there is a rosé that will compliment it perfectly. And they're not all sweet! If you've only ever had your Aunt Edna's favorite 'White Zin'- there's a lot more out there.
The Basics: How is Rosé made?
Method #1: Skin Contact
No, not that kind of skin contact- though drinking plenty of rosé could lead to this!
Guess what: rosé wines begin from... red-skinned grapes! All of the pigment in a red wine comes from the skins, so when grapes are crushed and fermented to make red wine, the skins are left in the whole mix so the colors and flavor compounds in the skins can be extracted into the juice. This is called maceration.
Well, in the case of a rosé- the skins are left in the vat ONLY long enough to impart some color. Once the juice reaches the optimal shade of pink, the skins are removed. You might see a rosé of Pinot Noir, rosé of Merlot, rosé of Cabernet Franc, etc. The longer we have skin contact, the deeper the color and the more concentrated the flavors become. Some rosés are so deep and strong that they could pass for red with your eyes closed.
Method #2: Saignée
'Saignée' (pronounced 'san-YAY') literally translates to 'bloodletting' (ew). How does that pertain to wine?
It's actually just a figure of speech- no renaissance maidens were harmed in the making of wine.
Sometimes winemakers need to use some tricks to produce their best red wines. If you've got a big vat of red wine brewing, and you want to concentrate the flavors, you need a tighter skin:liquid ratio. So, often times they will 'bleed off' some of the juice once it's in the pink stage: less liquid in that vat with the skins means more oomph, power and strength from the skin influence in the finished wine. Rather than waste the 'bleeded' pink juice- they can ferment it in its own vessel and voila!- that's your Saignée Rosé.
Method #3: Blending
In this method, red and white wine are simply mixed together. This is, surprisingly, the least practiced method of making rosé and it's actually not allowed by law in some regions. However, the most famous example of a rosé traditionally made from blending red & white wines is rosé Champagne! I'll drink to that.
Eva Herzigova selling the hell out of Dom Perignon Rosé- yas queen.