Check out our Rosé Wines and Champagnes
Rosé wine is really something else! The French region most famous for its rosé wines is the Provence. In the Classical Era, the clear red wine produced there was known as "Vinum Clarum" (later renamed "Clairet"). The Phocaean Greeks who founded the city of Marseille brought with them not only their culture but also their winemaking skills. In 600 BC, the very first vineyards they planted in Provence gave birth to the prototype of the current rosé wine we're familiar with today. The term "rosé" was used for the first time in the 14th century to describe the local wine. It appeared in one of the many books written by Jofroi of Waterford, a monk and Anglo-Norman translator.
We must make one thing clear: rosé wine is not a simple blend of red and white wine. The production of rosé wine has to follow very strict guidelines in France, which would make such a mixture completely illegal. One single region was allowed to work outside of these rules: the Champagne region. Rosé Champagne is made with a base of white Champagne wine (from the Chardonnay grape variety) to which is added a small amount of red wine (made from Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier grapes, usually). There are also Rosé Champagnes that are not blended wines.
If you want to make rosé wine the right way, it's the same steps as with any other regular wine: harvesting the grapes and then pressuring or treading them to obtain grape must. After that, that must is put in fermenting vats and it takes its definitive color. This last step can be stopped whenever the winemaker gets the wanted hue. The sooner you stop this process, the clearer the rosé wine. It's actually the skin of the red grapes, which contain natural pigments called anthocyanins, that gives the wine its color.
A darker rosé wine (with a color reminiscent of strawberry or redcurrant) is called a "rosé de saignée". The word "saignée" means "bloodletting" in English, hence the name. It comes from grapes that have macerated with their skins for a long time, producing wines that are full-bodied and aromatic, perfect for a barbecue. These wines have a strong aging potential (four years or more). A rosé Champagne "de saignée" (a pink rosé) is also the guarantee to get a pure Champagne, instead of a blended one. A clearer rosé wine, with a color that reminds you of salmon or lychee, is a "direct pressing" rosé, with limited skin maceration and thus less pigments. This sort of rosé wine is usually quite dynamic and refreshing but it won't last very long in your cellar, unfortunately. No more than two years, anyway.
Nowadays, rosé wines and champagnes have been embraced by so many people. They've become the first choice of drink for every summer cookout all over the world. You simply can't go wrong with them! Check out our selection of the best rosé brands of wines and champagnes made in France.Read more