Rosé is often wrongly accused of being a minor wine. Rosé is the first wine in the history of mankind. As a matter of fact, the first wine that man was able to produce was rosé, in Anatolia, the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia.
The maceration methods of the black grapes were not the same as today, furthermore the wine produced from antiquity until the last quarter of the 1900s was only slightly nuanced, it was called "vinum clarum" (light red wine). It was at the end of the 13th century that the Irish translator Jofroi of Waterford, a Latin translator, interpreted and designated wine for the first time with the term "rosé" due to its light red colour.
How are modern rosé wines made?
Before presenting the three main techniques for obtaining rosé wines, it is important to remember rosé wines are all produced, in Italy, from the vinification of black grapes. It is therefore not legally possible to produce rosé wines by mixing red and white wines, as some think... The color of rosé wines depends on the contact time between the skin of the black grapes and the grape must.
Rosé wine for maceration
After harvesting, the grapes are destemmed (separation of the berries from the "stems") then pressed (breaking of the berries: pulp, grape juice, peel, seed). The result, called " must ", is then placed in the tank and enters the maceration phase on the skins until the winemaker believes that the color obtained corresponds to his expectations. We speak of cold skin maceration, often carried out at very low degrees, between 1°C and 3°C. The must is then pressed and placed in the vats. Fermentation begins (transformation of sugar into alcohol). Also conditioned by the cold (between 15°C and 20°C), the fermentation is slow and sweet and allows the winemakers to catalyze the maximum of the precursor aromas in their must.
Rosé wine from direct pressing
After the harvest, the grapes are destemmed (or not) then pressed directly, without a maceration phase on the skins. The pressing is slow and controlled to preserve the liveliness and aromatic freshness of the berries. The winemaker will change the temperature of the vat when he deems that the color corresponds to his expectations so that the fermentation phase can begin. Pressed rosé wines are generally less colorful than their macerated counterparts.