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Why is Rosé pink?

Rose wine

Question from Sandra: Why is Rosé wine pink?

In a nut shell: Rosé wine is pink because of the grape’s red skin and the skin’s contact with the grape juice during the wine making process.

In a clam shell: A red grape with red skin has white flesh inside. Therefore if you squeeze the juice from a red grape and immediately remove the skin you’re going to end up with a white coloured wine (a good example of this is Champagne, where Pinot Noir is always used, yet the wine remains white – that’s because the skins are immediately removed). In the case of a deep red Pinot Noir the skins remain in the grape juice for a prolonged period of time before they are removed which colours the juice and adds unique flavours. When Rosé is produced, the red skins remain in contact with the juice briefly which tints the juice pink and adds subtle flavours. It’s that simple. The shorter the skins are in contact with the juice the lighter the colour of the wine.

The flavours of Rosé wine tend to reflect the red grapes used but are much more delicate because of the limited skin contact. Think red berries – strawberries, raspberries, cherries and even watermelon.

There are heaps of different grape varieties that can be used to make Rosé which are either used on their own or blended with other grape varieties. The main grape variety used is highly dependent on where in the world the Rosé is produced. For example Tempranillo and Grenache (or Garnacha) is often used in Spanish Rosé wines. Italy often uses Sangiovese while the US goes for Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot.

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