Wine lovers know that rosé wine is not a simple mixture of red wine and white wine. The production of this fresh and sweet nectar is even much more complex than that, and the winemaker has the choice between 3 techniques for vinifying rosé wine. Discover the differences between press rosé wine, saignée rosé and maceration rosé .
The making of rosé wine
Rosé wine is not the result of a simple mixture of white wine and red wine . Only the Champagne wine region is authorized to practice this technique. In reality, rosé wine is made from black grape varieties , like red wine. The big difference is that the winemaker greatly reduces the contact between the grape juice and the colored pigments of the grape skin. It is this technique which makes it possible to obtain a wine with a pale pink color and such particular aromas.
The 3 techniques for making rosé wines
There are 3 different techniques that allow you to obtain rosé wines . Each then offers particular characteristics to the wine, whether in terms of color, aromas, or even tannins.
Pressing rosé wine
Pressing rosé , or press rosé, is obtained by directly pressing the bunches of grapes after the harvest . The process is done slowly enough for the pigments in the skin to color the juice, and for the aromas to diffuse. The juice is then placed in vats, to start the alcoholic fermentation stage.
The color of the pressed rosé is then very clear, and when tasting, we discover a fresh, low-tannin rosé, with light aromas of flowers, citrus fruits and yellow fruits. Rosé wines produced by direct pressing are not suitable for aging, because they do not have enough tannins.
Maceration rosé wine
The production of maceration rosé wine begins like that of red wine. The black grapes then undergo destemming and crushing, before being placed in vats. The must will thus remain in maceration for 2 to 20 hours , at a temperature between 10 and 15°C. The anthocyanins and aromas contained in the grape skin will thus permeate the juice until the desired color is obtained.
The must is then pressed to separate the juice and solid residues (skins and seeds).
The rosé wine of saignée
Saignée rosé wines use a completely different winemaking technique. In fact, they come from a vintage intended to make red wine. In other words, the black grapes are placed in vats after the harvest, and begin to macerate. After a few hours of maceration , the juice is taken from the bottom of the tank, to be vinified separately. The rest of the juice remains in vats, to make red wine.
Good to know: if the vat is completely used, we no longer speak of saignée rosé, but of maceration rosé.
Saignée wine is generally more colorful and more tannic. The longer the maceration time, the more vinous the rosé. Conversely, short maceration offers more structured and fresh rosé wines. As they contain more tannins, rosé wines from saignée are generally suitable for aging (4 to 5 years).
Making rosé wine is much more complex than it seems, and the different techniques offer varied results. Why not take advantage of a wine tasting to discover the differences between a press rosé, a saignée rosé and a maceration rosé ?