There are many different styles of rosé, ranging from full bodied tannic rosé wines to ones that taste a little more like candies from the local store. Some of these stylistic differences come from the way the rosé is made, some from the varieties used and some from the part of the world in which they are made.
There are three main ways to produce rosé wines: through skin contact; Saignée method; blending.
The first method is most commonly used when the aim from the start to finish is to make rosé wine. Red skinned grapes are picked and then crushed; the skin and the juice are left together for a short period of time. After this the skins are pressed and then discarded prior to the fermentation. In red wine production, the skins would remain with the juice till after fermentation. The resulting colour of the rosé depends on how long the skins and juice have been in contact. This method of producing rosé usually results in wines with tannin and a reasonable amount of colour.
The second method, Saignée (or bleeding), is a technique whereby rosé is made as a secondary product to red wine production. This method of production involves removing some of the pink juices from the initial crushing of the red grapes. This juice is then fermented and a rosé wine produced. By doing this the red wine being produced has more tannin and colour. This style of production results in very light fruity rosé.
The third method is blending. This is where red and white wines are blended to produce a rosé wine. This method is not as common as the first two and is in fact banned in Europe, except in Champagne, where some rosé champagne is made this way, predominantly with Chardonnay and a little Pinot Noir added.
So, what makes a great rosé and what should you be looking for? One thing is for sure, making the decision based on the colour alone, whilst providing a little guidance, is not all that useful. Being armed with a little more info is always a good idea:
Côtes de Provence Rosé. It’s a very large area and not all are excellent in quality; be very wary of cheap Côtes de Provence wines. Côtes de Provence does produce some of the most exceptional rosé wines in the world; the very best have a gorgeous fragrance, a delicate hue and wonderful texture.
Rosé made because it was intended to be rosé. The very best rosé wines are those made year in year out, from grapes intended for rosé, not from grapes that did not make the red wine cut.
Large bottles are definitely the way to go and we’ve got that sorted with a wonderful collection of magnums and 3l bottles for this summer.
Selected with care. Rosé sales are booming and it’s no surprise that there’s a very large number of rosé being made in NZ and imported into NZ. To ensure that we carry only the best, what we did this year (as we do regularly) was taste all the potential rosé wines that we could stock and have selected very carefully. The range in a Glengarry store is one you can have a high level of confidence in.
For me, a great rosé will have an attractive aromatic nose and pretty florals with a touch of herbal spice. On the palate, there will be fresh fruit, a lively acidity and a full mid palate with plenty of texture and interest. The finish, for me, needs to tend towards dry and be very refreshing. My favourite rosé right now? Château Léoube Rosé and Secret de Léoube Rosé are two of my favourites. Château Riotor is a winery and rosé I have been a fan of for years. We also have Hawke’s Bay Waiana Estate’s Indian Summer – look out for the 3 litre bottles of this wine.