How Is Rosé Made?

How Is Rosé Made?

Rosé is a lot of things. It’s refreshing, it’s affordable, and it’s never above being served in a red plastic cup. But while it may be more of a summer staple than complaints about subway A/C, do you know what rosé actually is?

Rosé is basically red wine that’s made like white wine. So after the red grapes, like pinot noir or grenache, are crushed, the juice only gets to mingle with the skins for a matter of hours. Since red wines typically get their color from spending weeks on their skins, the juice from this abbreviated maceration is only lightly dyed - so instead of red, we get pink.

Our Favorite Rosé Champagne

One notable exception to the production method we just mentioned is rosé Champagne. In Champagne, rosé is made by blending white and red wines. That base then undergoes secondary fermentation to create bubbles. Pretty much everywhere else, this method is only used for cheap, bulk rosé. But in Champagne, it yields the region’s rarest wine style, which happens to be the most expensive rosé in the world. Go figure.

Fleur de Miraval, Rosé Champagne NV $310

Laherte Frères, ‘Rosé de Meunier’ Champagne NV $65

Rosé doesn’t have much in the way of tannins, oak-influence, or extensive time in the cellar, and as a result, you’ll rarely see non-Champagne versions go for more than around $40. But that doesn’t mean all rosés can be painted with the same brush. They range from light-bodied and salmon-colored to “Isn’t that just a red wine?” And whether gulp-ability or complexity is your primary concern, you should know how to look for the style you like.

Light and Crisp Rosé

The classic version of this rosé style comes from Provence. On vineyards overlooking Saint Tropez and other yacht-dotted coastlines, lighter grapes like Cinsault and Grenache are used to make dry rosé focused on crispness.

Château des Bormettes, 'Argentière' Côtes de Provence Rosé 2021 $20

La Fête du Rosé, Côtes de Provence Saint Tropez 2020 $28

Lorenza, Rosé California 2021 $28

Ameztoi, Txakolina Rosé 2021 $29

Savory and Structured Rosé

The world’s best, most complex rosés are made from heartier grapes like Mourvedre, Syrah, and Nebbiolo. Some, like the Buona Notte highlighted below, get an extra boost of weight and color by adding a splash of traditional red wine to the rosé.

Buona Notte, Rosé 'Rosa' 2020 $30

Nervi-Conterno, Rosato 2021 $35

Clos Cibonne Tibouren, Rosé Provence 2020 $45

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