Rosé wine

Rosé wines

Maceration time

Rosé is generally made from black-skinned grapes. The main difference between rosé and red wine is the length of time the grape juice stays in contact with the skins, known as maceration. The grapes are crushed and destemmed, then left to macerate before pressing. The rest of the wine-making process is as for white wines.

The maceration time is influenced by the style of the wine but also by the grape variety. For varieties such as Grenache, it usually lasts 8-12 hours. For varieties with more deeply pigmented skins, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, the maceration time is usually shorter.

It is also possible to make very basic rosé table wine by blending a small amount of red wine with white wine. However, the only quality wine that can be made in this way, according to wine regulations within Europe, is rosé champagne. Even so, many champagne producers prefer to use the maceration technique rather then blending.

Styles of rosé

Styles of rosé wine are as varied as their range of colours, from refreshing medium-dry Loire rosé, to bone dry, powerful wines such as Tavel from the Rhône, to sweeter blush wines such as White Zinfandel, typically from California.