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Wine Wisdoms #37: What’s Behind a Rose

Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 2:08:21 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Rose Wine Contrary to popular belief, rosés are not often made by mixing red and white wines. The best method is called the saigné method which is essentially the same as the process for making a red wine, but the grape skins have a shorter period of contact with the wine (maceration). This yields a more pale-hued wine, rather than a red wine. This shorter period of skin contact means that rosés not only have a paler color, but less tannin and a different aromatic profile than red wines.

Roses can be made in a sweet or dry style and from a variety of red grapes including Zinfandel, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvedre and more.

As featured in the July issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, read more at

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2 Responses to “Wine Wisdoms #37: What’s Behind a Rose”

  1. With all due respect, I don’t believe saignee is the “best method” for making rose’.

    It’s one way, sure, and that way can make good rose’. But I think the best way, if there has to be a best, is the vin de presse method. The difference is that in the vin de presse method, where essentially the winemaker does a very light press, followed by a brief soaking for some color, then (usually) vinifies each variety separately and does a blending post-fermentation.

    Saignee’, on the other hand, means the rose’ is basically a side product of making red—but the basic intent is to make a red! That’s an important difference, I think.

    Vin de Presse—because they are intended to be and made specifically to be, rose’—are generally lighter and more delicate than reds. They are rose’, not red wannabes.

    (Now, having said that, let me also say I’ve had some perfectly fine saignee-style rose’ wines, so I’m not dissing them. But I certainly wouldn’t say “Saignee is the best method for making rose’.”)

  2. 2 magenta hurboquitz said:

    yeah red wine is great. plain and simple…….best when pure……but also quite delightful when mixed with a cheaper deeper brand….it causes one to be slightly more cautious and skeptical ….but still the same zest and punch as pure…..:D

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