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Is Rosé wine a blend of red and white wines?

Of course not!

It’s all just a question of time

Rosé wine is made in the beginning just like red wine, but after the pressing it is treated more like white wine.

The difference lies in the fact that once the grapes have been crushed, the juice is only left in contact with the skins for a short amount of time.

To give you some idea, the normal procedure for making red wine involves leaving the grape juice to macerate on the skins for 2 to 3 weeks.

When making rosé, this process might last between 6 and 48 hours. This means that the skins don’t have much time to colour the wine. The maceration tank is then « bled » to remove this pink must.

So, why do rosé wines come in different shades?

There are some very pale rosé wines, while others have a deeper colour, somewhat closer to red. To understand these differences, we need to remember that there are two methods for making rosé wines:

  • Direct pressing : black grapes are directly crushed and pressed in the same way as making white wine. This method produces the most delicately coloured rosé wines.
  • The "saignée" method: where the grapes are placed in a maceration tank up to 48 hours. The juice is then drained from the bottom of the tank once the wanted colour and aromas are obtained. In fact this method is often considered as a by-product of making red wine. It is often used to make more concentrated red wine. You can understand why the method is called "saignée" or "bled", since it is a little like bleeding the wine from its fermentation process early to create a rosé wine that is darker in colour, fuller-bodied and more concentrated than the rosé wines made with direct pressing. These wines are well suited to gastronomy.

Rosé wine

Please note

In France, it is strictly prohibited to mix red wine with white wine.

The sole exception to this law concerns Champagne, where small amount of red wine can be added to white wine base in order to create Rosé Champagne.