Planet Rhône

Le journal des vins de la Vallée du Rhône

The taste of colour

Its vibrant colour often signifies the arrival of summer


No other vine today is judges so much by its appearance as rosé wine. The shade and especially the intensity of its colour are quickly associated to a certain taste or certain aromas, often before the bottle is even opened. Our poor rosé wine: it really deserves better.

Of course, we begin to appreciate a wine with our eyes, as seeing its vibrant colour in our glass often signifies the arrival of summer. But let’s be honest: wine is not made to be looked at, but rather to be drunk, and the real reason that rosé makes us smile is because of its aromas and flavour!

The process of making rosé wine is a complex one that requires discipline and experience. Colour is taken into account, but special consideration is given to the balance of flavours that await you in your glass. It would be all too easy to say that we make a wine depending on its colour alone, or that its colour depends solely on the wine making process. In truth, the colour is the expression of a multitude of factors: grape variety, area, vintage, maturity, the wine making process, the assembly - they all play a role.

In the Rhône Valley, two techniques have been traditionally used to make rosé wines: saignée, and direct pressing. The latter takes place shortly after harvest and pressing (mainly red grapes), in order to obtain the juice from the pulp. Given that the colour of red grapes is found in the skin, and that it spends relatively little time in contact with the juice during pressing, this process produces rosés without a lot of colour.

When making a rosé wine through saignée, the juice and the skin are in contact for several hours, or even days, producing a deeper, more intense colour. The length of this maceration is judged by the eye and palate of the winemaker.

Then, the vat is fully or partially bled to obtain the juice for fermentation. Both techniques result in broad range of flavours for sweet, flavoursome wines for an apéritif or when relaxing in the garden, as well as more structured and complex rosés to be paired with quality food, both during and outside of the summer months. I would advise you to try rosé with tropical dishes or Asian cuisine. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!