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How Is Rosé Made?

Spring and summer are coming, team rosé is on its way! For a long time, rosé was considered a lower ranking wine, but with increasing care (i.e. sales) its quality has improved greatly. This obviously works in two directions. Meanwhile, rosé has rightly come to be regarded as a fully fledged wine, by wine lovers and winemakers alike.

There are different ways of making rosé. And each way determines the sort of rosé in your glass.

Short maceration: the most widely used method

Maceration means soaking the skins. Like for red wine, black grapes are crushed and the juice is mixed with the seeds and skins. The difference between red wine and rosé is in the length of the maceration process. For red wine this ranges from one to several weeks. For rosé it lasts a few hours to a maximum of a couple of days, depending on the colour and character that the winemaker wants to give to his wine. This maceration takes place in cold temperatures to prevent the start of fermentation. After maceration the must - juice, pips and peel-  is pressed and then vinified like white wine. You can get all sorts of different results with this method depending on the length of the maceration (and the grape variety) .

At Xpertvinum: Solà Fred Rosat, Les Sorts Rosat

The ‘saignée’ method or in Spanish: ‘rosado de lagrima’

The winemaker makes rosé and red wine simultaneously. The must is put into a vat to ferment and after a short maceration the free-run juice is bled off and vinified separately as rosé. The rest of the must continues to ferment further to make a more concentrated red wine, as less juice is in contact with the pips and skins. Rosé made by the saignée method is generally smooth, fruity and flavoursome.

From Xpertvinum: Araiz Rosado Clasico, Araiz Rosado Palido, Obalo Rosado, Rosado Marismilla

Rosé through direct pressing

This method is in fact an extra-short version of the first method, the short maceration. After harvesting and destemming, the grapes are pressed immediately. Even in this super-speedy way of making rosé, there is contact between juice, seeds and skins, however limited it may be. Naturally, you (usually) then get light pink rosés with aromas of citrus and, for example, strawberry. Although the grape itself also plays a role too.

From Xpertvinum: Rosado Mírame, Naranja Azules

Mixing white and black grapes in the fermentation tank

The white and black grapes are mixed in the fermentation tank and pressed together into a single mass. And this creates rosé juice. In Europe, the blending of white and red wine is forbidden on principle. However, the rules outside Europe are not as strong and it is allowed. An important European exception is Champagne - the mixing of wines to make rosé Champagnes is even recommended.

From Xpertvinum: Roselito, Le Rosé

Click here for an overview of all our rosés.