Rosé, To Bleed or To Blend?

By Aillinn Brennan • Special to The Current

Nothing says spring like a glass of rosé! Rosé wines can be blends of white and red wines, where the winemaker blends them like an artist blends colors. The perfect blend, or cuvée, seeks a balance of color, aroma, and flavor. Rosé wine can also be made using a technique called saignée.  In this process, after the grapes are harvested they get de-stemmed, crushed and spend some time together, until the juice takes on a pink hue. When the desired color and amount of contact is achieved, the juice is pressed off, and the process continues as in making a white wine.

The decision to use the saignée technique can be simply the desire to make rosé wine. Or may come from the winemakers desire to make a very robust red wine, where the pink juice is a byproduct. In this case, separating some of the juice out, creates a greater skin to juice ratio, increasing the phenolics, and flavor compounds in the wine.

Phenolics is a broad term to describe a large variety of chemical compounds which are found in the skins and seeds of grapes and affect the color, taste, and the way wine feels in your mouth. For example, a familiar phenol, tannin, imparts a drying astringency sometimes referred to as, “a dry finish.”   Unlike bold reds, rosé, wines are light and delicate and read more like white wine when you taste them. So the amount of contact with the skins is very important in creating a balanced light delicate wine that is NOT a “Bud Lite” version of red wine.

Where do Rosé wines come from?

It’s safe to say there is some rosé making where ever there is winemaking. Provence, France is famous for its rosé wines.  They are a cuvée of grapes that might include Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault. On the nose they have pretty herb garden aromas and flavors of mandarin orange, guava and tart cherry, with a pleasingly dry finish that begs another sip.

Just nine miles form Jim Thorpe, a local favorite winery, Galen Glen, makes a beautiful cuvée from Chambourcin, Gewürztraminer, Vidal Blanc and Cayuga. The current vintage is the 2018, Vinology, made in  a semidry style. It is springtime in a glass with heady spring garden aromas like hyacinth and new grass. And when you taste it, it bursts with flavors of raspberry, honeydew melon, and crisp apple, with sweet/tart finish that pairs perfectly with your favorite fruits and cheeses, and the porch! And, in just a few weeks, Galen Glen will have a saignée rosé made from their Zweigelt grape! So let’s just say, weather blended or bled, rosé will make day!

Aillinn Brennan is proprietor of The Marion Hose Bar located at 16 W. Broadway in Jim Thorpe.

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May 25, 2019, 1:44 am

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