February being the romantic month of Valentine’s Day and the colour pink is in vogue, we briefly delve into the early history of Rosé and also the making of the wine.
When the first wine labeled as a Rosé was produced is not known but it is very likely that many of earliest red wines made were closer in appearance to today’s rosés than they would be to modern red wines. This is because many of the winemaking techniques used to make todays darker, more tannic wines (such as extended maceration and harder pressing) were not widely practiced in ancient winemaking. A Rosé (from French rosé; also known as rosado in Portugal and Spanish-speaking countries and rosato in Italy) is a type of wine that incorporates some of the colour from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. It may be the oldest known type of wine, as it is the most straightforward to make with the skin contact method. The pink color can range from a pale “onion”-skin orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the varietals used and winemaking techniques. There are three major ways to produce Rosé wine: skin contact, saignée and blending. Rosé wines can be made still, semi-sparkling or sparkling and with a wide range of sweetness levels from bone-dry Provençal rosé to sweet White Zinfandels and blushes. Rosé wines are made from a wide variety of grapes and can be found all around the globe.
When Rosé wine is the primary product, it is 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. When a winemaker desires to impart more tannin and color to a red wine, some of the pink juice from the must can be removed at an early stage in what is known as the Saignée (from French bleeding) method. The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result of the bleeding, because the volume of juice in the must is reduced, and the must involved in the maceration becomes more concentrated. The pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce Rosé. In other parts of the world, blending, the simple mixing of red wine to a white to impart colour, 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.
As part of our monthly Bergkelder Tasting Experience, our red wine maker, Pieter Badenhorst will be presenting a selection of Rosés from across the taste profile and our different cellars. The tasting will be held on 4th February 2016 at 18h00. The cost is R100pp and includes a tasty light meal afterwards in our wine shop where the wines tasted can be purchased for home consumption.
So if you are unable to join us at the tasting, you can either purchase your own selection to enjoy at home or win a 6 bottle mixed case of Rosé, by entering our February competition. Enter here
If you weren’t able to join us at our December Method Cap Classique tasting evening, the video presentation is available.