Making rosé

The assertion rosé wine is only for summer sipping is despicable canard, but the belief is widely held and with Mother’s Day in four days and summer coming, we visit the four ways to create rosé.

Limited skin maceration is classic, most common way of rosé. Wine color comes from grape skins. In limited skin maceration, juice and skins are in contact for a short time—six hours to two days depending on style and grape—as opposed to weeks or months for red wine. Longer the skin contact, darker and richer the rosé.

Direct pressing is similar but involves shorter time on skins, a method similar to making white wine. Grapes are pressed, and juice is racked (drained off) almost immediately. This produces lightest colored rosé and emphasizes strawberry and citrus flavors.

Saignée method produces rosé wine and red wine. Vintner produces red wine, but bleeds off (saignée is French for bleed); some juice to become a type of rosé, which infuriates some because they see it as a by-product of red wine production, not a rosé play. François Millor, president of Provence Wine Council, sniffs: “People who make saignée rosé are opportunists. The saignée method is a bad way of making rosé.” Provence is world’s major maker of classic rosé, so they get passionate about this.

Fourth method may seem obvious, but—like saignée—rouses rosé rumblings. Make white wine, make red wine, blend to make rosé. The practice is prohibited in many Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) regions in Europe, but because Champagne marches to different drummer, it is preferred method for making rosé Champagne. You will find New World rosé made this way, too, because New World wineries do whatever they want regardless of Provence’s pettifogging protestations.

Tasting notes:
• Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2016: Gorgeous to look at, fun to drink, wonderful price. $10

• Veuve Devienne Rosé Sec Sparkling Wine NV: Superb sparkler for the price; charming salmon color, hint of sweetness, devastates bottles costing much more. $10

• Nortico Dry Rosé 2015: Delightful light rose color, crisp, fresh from Portugal’s vinho verde country. $13

• Francis Coppola Sofia Rosé Monterey County 2015: Uncomplicated, dry, lovely rich reddish color. $16

Last round: I believe you will be a better person after I drink this third glass of rosé.

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