Every month we like to bring our customers along on an educational journey. Focusing on different aspects of the wine world, we will cover the regions, producers, and winemaking processes that make wine such an exciting thing to drink and discuss. This month it's all about rose! Read on to learn about what a rose is, how its made, and the ones we have in stock today.
What is a Rose?
Rose is produced similarly to other red wines, however the time the wine spends fermenting in contact with grape skins is cut shorter. This reduced skin contact is what gives rosé its signature pink color. Rosé can be made from any red grape and cultivated in any wine region. Although it has become a recent favorite in the United States, it has been a mainstay in France for centuries, with the region of Provence pumping out more rosé than any other style of wine. It’s also quite popular in Spain (where it’s called rosado) and Italy (rosato).
How is a Rose Produced?
There are three common methods winemakers implement to make rose:
1. The Maceration Method - This method consists of letting the skin of red wine grapes sit in the fermenting juice for a short period of time, before being removed to let the wine continue fermentation. This is the most common method used in popular French regions like Provence, and it is possibly the most common method in the United States.
2. The Saignee Method - The word 'Saignee' means 'To Bleed' in French. A rose made with this method is a result of the winemaker bleeding off some of the juice during the red wine making process. This juice is added to a separate vat to make rose. Sometimes this method is used to make the red wine portion left behind a bit richer and intense. The saignee method isn't super common, but is sometimes used by wineries in California regions like Napa and Sonoma to elevate their reds.
3. The Blending Method - Blending would seem like the most common method for making a rose as it's a fairly straightforward idea. Red + White = Rose, right? Surprisingly this is not generally how rose is made, with one notable exception. The preferred method for making a Rose Champagne is blending red and white varietals that have already been fermented into a 'base' wine before bottling and dosage and all the wonderful things that make champagne, well, champagne.
How is a Rose Different from a Coferment?
While the blending method discussed above utilizes finished wines, i.e. wines that have already undergone primary fermentation, the conferment method is the revival of an ancient winemaking practice called a 'field blend' where the winemaker adds a number of different varietals (this can be both red and white grapes) to the fermentation vessel to undergo fermentation together. Much like a stew, this allows the varietals to marry in new and interesting ways, creating a distinct wine by 'cofermenting' different varietals than would be achieved by adding them together post-vinification.
Rose pairs amazingly with seafood or a light meat such as chicken or turkey. Cheeses with tang pair really well, such as goat cheese or feta. Avoid fatty foods such as steak or duck, as they tend to swamp the delicate rose flavors.
Our Rose Picks
Ruth Lewandowski - Rose Cuvee - $36
Combining Tempranillo with Souzao and Touriga Nacional grapes builds a fascinatingly complex rose with savory herbal notes complementing a fruit profile of freshly picked berries. Evan Lewandowski picks at Rorick Heritage Vineyard and Fox Hill Vineyard, both in California. He begins fermentation in California before bringing the wine while it is still undergoing fermentation to Salt Lake City, Utah via refrigerated truck. We are so excited to have the opportunity to support this amazing producer!
Quadrum Box - Rose - $19
Quadrum Rose is a blend of Spain's two most important Spanish indigenous red varieties, Tempranillo and Garnacha. The dry hot climate in La Mancha is ideal for both of these varieties to achieve proper ripeness without having to use any harmful sprays. The naturally balanced Garnacha expresses ripe red fruit while holding a crisp acidity and the Tempranillo offers structure and spice.
Skull Wine Company - Pink Wine - $21
Organically farmed and hand harvested Zinfandel (90%) and Petite Sirah (10%) from Contra Costa and Lodi AVA. Direct pressed and fermented in a combination of concrete and stainless steel before a four month maturation in neutral oak. Light, crisp, and refreshing in style, the skull on the label is white when room temp and neon pink when cold and ready to drink!
Ohlig - Latitude 50 N Extra Trocken (Dry) Rose - $20
This organic sparkling rose from Germany has a delicate bead, subtle fruit flavor with pleasing savory accents, and distinctive minerality from its slate, limestone and porphyry terroir. A blend of Pinot Noir, Portugueiser and Dornfelder (two German varieties) it was produced in the Champagne method, with secondary fermentation in bottle. Super delicious on its own and with food, this is a unique yet very versatile rose sparkler to have on hand for any occasion.