Rosé is believed to be one of the oldest types of wine and dates back to ancient times. It is generally a lot lighter in color than other grape wines and typically is light pink in color and is a favorite for spring time.
Darker wines typically come about with harder pressing methods that than of the rosé. Even after the advent of more advanced wine pressing technology, many of the ancient and early winemakers and aficionados still preferred the lighter and fruitier rosé wines to the darker grape wines, which they considered too harsh and strong. It is believed that the earliest red wines were actually closer in resemblance to the rosé than they are of today’s red wines.
Blush originally was a term that referred to the pale pink color of rosé and lighter wines, but now the term typically refers to pink wines that are relatively sweet. After World War II, a couple of Portuguese wine producing families introduced sweet, mildly sparkling rosés to European and American Markets, and these became very popular. Some rosés are bone dry and do not resemble the flavor of the sweeter kind but have a similar lightness and freshness.
There are a few different methods for making rosé wines. The most common method for making rosé is to begin pressing the red grapes after a short period of 12 to 24 hours of skin contact, which is also known as maceration. During the maceration, phenolics serve add to the color as well as many of the flavors that are extracted from the skins, sees and stems which are in contact with the must. The phenolics also add not just to the flavor of the rosé but also serve as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the wine from degradation that comes with exposure to oxygen. Red wines typically have a maceration period that goes for many days or even weeks. The limited maceration time of the rosé means that it is less stable in terms of flavor, color and oxygen protection. This is why rosés have a shorter lifespan on the shelf and are meant to be consumed shortly after released.
The soignée method refers to the process of removing, or bleeding off some of the juice in order to produce a greater concentration of phenolics, color and flavor in the wine. French wine regions employed this method extensively throughout history although it wasn’t always utilized for making rosé. Sometimes the bleed off is used for the making of rosé, although this practice is considered critically by some, who claim that such wines are not true rosés.
Whereas the maceration method involves allowing the juice to be in contact with the skins for a short period of time, vin gris are made by the juice immediately after it has been pressed from red wine skins, bypassing any maceration time. This resulting wine is typically a very pale pink color and are usually a lot lighter than other rosés which are made with a maceration or a soignée method.
Different Kinds of Rosé Traditions
There are many different types of rosé, including French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese and New World.
Rosés are made throughout France from the cooler climate of Loire Vally and to the warmer Mediterranean climates of Provence and the southern Rhone valley.
In Italy, rosé are made with a range of different styles and grape varieties which vary from region to region. Italians had difficulty controlling the fermentation process early on, which would sometimes result in stuck fermentation. Because of this, they learned to press the grapes early on, which resulted in a more lightly colored wine.