Rosé wine is made by incorporating some of the color from the black-grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. The pink hue can range from a pale "onion-skin" orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the varietals used and winemaking techniques. Rosé wines can be made still, semi-sparkling or sparkling and with a wide range of sweetness levels from highly dry French Provençal rosé to sweeter Zinfandels and blushes.
There are three major ways to produce rosé wine: skin contact, blending and saignée. When rosé wine is the main product, it is typically produced with the skin contact method. Black-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically one to three days. The must is then pressed, and the skins are discarded rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). The longer that the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the color of the final wine.
Blending is the simple mixing of red wine to a white to impart color, and is uncommon. This method is discouraged in most wine growing regions, especially in France, where it is forbidden by law, except for Champagne. Even in Champagne, several high-end producers do not use this method but rather the saignée method.
Finally the Saignée method is used by producers that make both rosé and red wines. The winemaker imparts more tannin and color into the red wine by removing some of the pink juice from the must at an early stage. The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result because the volume of juice on the must is reduced. The removed pink juice is fermented separately to produce rosé.
Anthony Byrne Fine Wines Ltd. Registered in England and Wales with company number 01713692.