Every year we make a rose, which is a delightful summer drink. We like to make it so that it tastes of strawberries and cream in a glass! There are 2 ways to make rose wine, read on to find out more.
The first thing to remember is that the juice from grapes is clear, so it is only contact with the skins that give it the colour and taste.
The traditional method to make rose in Bordeaux is called ‘saignee’. It uses red grapes which have been harvested for making red wine from, as well as making rose it also helps to concentrate the flavours in the red wine.
The grapes are de-stemmed and lightly crushed and then pumped into the cuve (fermentation tank). After a short period of time, usually 6 to 12 hours, some juice is run out of the tank and as it has been in contact with the skins it will have picked up some pink colour. The juice is pumped into a different stainless steel tank, this is the basis of the rose wine.
The second method, is called ‘pressurage directe’ and in this case a parcelle of red vines is selected to be used only for rose, the grapes are harvested slightly under ripe (or at least for making red wine from) they are then left in the harvest trailer for about 6 hours to get the contact, and colour and flavours from the skins, the juice is then run out into a tank, the grapes are pressed and that juice is added into the same tank.
The advantage of this method is that you have more control over the percentage of alcohol, using the ‘saignee’ method you are using fully ripe grapes, which in very ripe years can give very alcoholic rose, which is not really desirable.
Once the juice is in the tank, no matter which method you have used yeast is added and the primary fermentation occurs. The juice is fermented at a low temperature to preserve the delicate freshness and colour. The fermentation usually lasts about 10 days, and for a dry rose it is finished when all the sugar in the juice has turned to alcohol. A secondary fermentation is not required for rose so it is then lightly filtered and bottled fairly quickly, so the wine in the bottle is as bright and fresh as possible.