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Rosé Wine, What's it all about?

When the sun finally comes out, us winos often start reaching for the pink.  Rosé used to be the cheap stuff Grandma drank (did someone say pass the Mateus?) but no more, today's Rosé can be very serious indeed,  not to mention utterly delicious.

But what are the different styles and what makes them different?


Rosé is basically made in three ways which tend to produce different styles.

1.The Saignée Method

The 'Saignée' or bleeding method is the most traditional in areas like the Bordeaux and Northern Spain.  Here the pink juice is drained or 'bled' off the skins after about twelve hours. It is then fermented on its own.  The resulting increase in skin contact intensifies the red wine that remains.  Traditionally the aim was mainly to add weight, colour and body to the regions reds with the Rosé wine being just a cheap and cheerful by-product. This was sold early to help cash flow while the red matured.  The style tends to be fuller bodied and deeper coloured. Partly due to the grapes used in the traditional areas: Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux and Garnacha in Spain.  Nowadays, 'Saignée' produces some very structured and layered Rosés with texture and depth.

2. Skin Contact

The second method is simple skin contact. The main activity is producing Rosé, not red, commonly used in Rosé de Provence, Tavel in the Rhone and Anjou in the Loire.  The weight of wine depends again on the type of grape and length of skin contact (typically between 6 and 12 hours).  In Provence, the maceration will be overnight called 'Rosé d'Une Nuit'.  This style tends to be paler, lighter coloured and sometimes with some residual sugar as in Anjou.

3. Blending

The final and less common method is simply blending in some red wine with the white.  The only appellations which allow this method are Champagne and Sparkling wines.  In Champagne, red from Pinot Noir is blended in before the maturation on the lees. This is thought to add richness and ageing potential as well as colour to the wine.

4. Variations

There are of course variations on these three methods.  In the natural wine world, Rosé has become for some producers the most sought after cuvée they produce. Often made with very low or no sulphites, and are unfiltered  to preserve their natural wildness and Raw texture.  (In our Portfolio think Winifred from Gut Oggau or Pellarosa Aglianico Rosato Cacciagalli.  And they are fantastic with summer foods, but can also be drunk happily on their own in the sun.  In any case, don't think cheap and nasty anymore. Quality natural Rose is simply delicious, elegant, textured, layered with subtle fruit, herbaceous and earthy characters. And they always display fantastic freshness.  Happy summer drinking everyone!

Browse all our Rosé wines.