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Roses are red. Rosé is pink. Why is that?

Posted on by Jeff Black

OK I can’t explain why roses are red. But I can explain why Rosé is pink. Though it’s not always pink; and it’s a fascinating category that demands more of our attention. So I’m going to convince you to try it; that is if you haven’t already discovered it, of course.

The epicenter of the Rosé wine world is in the South of France, where Rosé is as important as red or white wine and regional varieties like Grenache, Carignan and Syrah are blended together to make wonderful, refreshingly dry Rosé.

The magic of Rosé happens when the skins of red grapes come in to contact with the juice for only a short period of time – typically 2 to 3 hours. The winemaker has complete control over the colour of the wine, and removes the red grape skins (the source of the red pigment) when the wine reaches the desired colour. Nearly any red wine grape can be used to make Rosé wine. Of course the wine maker’s choice of wine grape will also affect the colour and flavours of the wine. (Wine Folly 2016, ‘What Really Is RoséWine?’)

Common methods for making Rosé wine

Maceration method

The maceration method is the most commonly used method for making Rosé wine. Maceration is when the grapes are pressed and sit in their skins. In red wine making, maceration usually lasts throughout the fermentation – sometimes this takes weeks. For Rosé, the juice is separated from the skins before it gets too dark. (Wine Folly 2016, ‘The Many Different Shades of RoséWine?’)

Saignée (or Bled) method

The Saignée method is capable of producing some of the longest lasting Rosé wines. It is actually a by-product of red winemaking. During the fermentation of a red wine about 10% of the juice is bled off. This process leaves a higher ratio of skin contact on the remaining juice, making the resulting red wine richer and bolder. The leftover bled wine is then fermented into Rosé. Wines made from the Saignée method are typically much darker than maceration method wines and also much more savory. (Wine Folly 2016, ‘The Many Different Shades of RoséWine?’)

Dry or sweet?

Dry Rosé wine is the most common style produced today around the world. It’s typical to see a blend of 2-3 different grape varieties. Dry Rosé wines include Grenache, Sangiovese, Shiraz/Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan and Pinot Noir. (Wine Folly 2016, ‘The Many Different Shades of RoséWine?’)

Rosé wine can be produced in a sweet style by simply not fermenting all the sugar into alcohol. Sweet Rosé wines include White Zinfandel and Pink Moscato. (Wine Folly 2016, ‘The Many Different Shades of RoséWine?’)

Grenache Rosé

Grenache Rosé is typically a light fruity style and a bright pink in colour. Flavours of strawberry and orange with hints of allspice. You’ll find wines of Grenache to have moderately high acidity, but since most have quite a bit of colour and body, typically you’ll want to serve them cold to keep them zesty. (Wine Folly 2016, ‘Styles of RoséWine’).

Try the KALLESKE ROSINA ROSÉ 2014 – A certified organic Rosé from the Barossa Valley. Bright rose-petal pink in colour. Lifted aromatics of floral perfume, musk, strawberries and cream and raspberry. 94 points from James Halliday! $24.00 per single bottle.

Shiraz/Syrah Rosé

Shiraz/Syrah Rosé is typically a savory style and ruby in colour. It is typically made in the Saignée method which means deeper colours. Flavours of blackberry with hints of white pepper. Shiraz/Syrah Rosé tend to be bolder and are best served slightly warmer than fridge temperature and in a regular red wine glass. (Wine Folly 2016, ‘Styles of RoséWine’).

Try the MARTINS HILL DOLCE VITA PRESERVATIVE FREE ROSÉ 2015 – A preservative free and certified organic Rosé wine from Mudgee. Made from early picked Shiraz. Crisp and easy drinking with flavours of red berry. $17.95 per single bottle.

Pink Moscato Rosé

Pink Moscato Rosé is a sweet style and a pale pink in colour. Flavours of strawberry and grapefruit. Typically, crisp, elegant and easy too easy to drink! Best served ice cold. (Wine Folly 2016, ‘Styles of RoséWine’).

Try the HARRIS ORGANIC WINES ROSE MUSCAT. Certified organic Rosé wine from the Swan Valley. Made by crushing hand-picked red Muscat grapes and then fermenting the free-run juice. Sweet but complex. Light pink in colour, aromas of rose petals and fuchsia with a rich, sweet, rounded palate and fresh acidity. $24.00 per single bottle.

At The Organic Wine Cellar, we have a many certified organic Rosé wines to choose from; and a number are also preservative free. You can browse them all here.



Wine Folly 2016, ‘What Really Is RoséWine?’ <http://winefolly.com/review/what-is-rose-wine/>, viewed 14 August 2016.

Wine Folly 2016, ‘Styles of RoséWine’ <http://winefolly.com/ tutorial/guide-styles-of-rose-wine/>, viewed 14 August 2016.

Wine Folly 2016, ‘The Many Different Shades of RoséWine?’ <http://winefolly.com/ review/many-different-shades-of-rose-wine/>, viewed 14 August 2016.



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