How is Rosé Made?


There’s a lot of horrible rosé out there. Often, it’s a dumping ground for crappy grapes, left too sweet, made in a negligent way. That sucks. Rosé is best when crisp, refreshing and fruity enough. Making rosé intentionally in a direct-to-press method is the only way to get there. Pick it early and take it cool to the press. In this way the grapes are the proper ripeness with plenty of natural acidity, and just the right amount of phenolics.

photo by Courtney Lynne

photo by Courtney Lynne

Unfortunately, a lot of rosé out there is made from saigneé (to bleed) juice. Basically, a lazy winemaker pulls juice out of a fermentor and separately ferments it. Problem is, the juice has too much sugar and lacks acid. Then one has to over-manipulate the wine, banging in tartaric, fining out tannin, etc. Junk. Equally dishonest is blending a white wine with a touch of red wine for color. While the chemistry can be more favorable for a good wine, it’s sloppy.

If you want to make rosé, make rosé. Intention is important in life, and winemaking. Here’s to good rosé.

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2017 Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir Rosé
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