Dating back to the 6th century BC, the Phocaeans, people of an ancient Greek city – had bought grapevines to Massalia, now South of France- knew the importance of good blush wine.
The wine produced was a blend of both white and red grapes, which turned out to be naturally light in its color. Today, the blush wine, also called rosé, has peaked in all wine connoisseur’s hearts.
A great wine sommelier would stick by the quote “Rosé, all day.” A beautiful blend of two types of grapes is a true celebration- bringing together two different flavors to enjoy the subtlety of it all.
Blush wine can be made through three different methods:
- Skin contact
- Saignée (French: the bleeding process)
Blush wine can be made still, semi-sparkling or sparkling, depending upon the sweetness levels the grape produces.
The Skin Contact Method
This method is usually used when the primary product obtained is blush wine. Here, black grapes are skinned and crushed. The skin is allowed to stay with the juice for a short period of time- typically two to twenty hours.
The must (a mixture of skin, juice, seeds of a crushed fruit) is then pressed. The skin is discarded after the pressing, rather than staying in contact during the fermentation process. The longer the skin is in contact with the juice, the richer the color of the wine.
The Saignée Method
In this process, the winemaker can impart more tannin and color to the must. Though provided, some pink juice must be removed at an early stage.
The red wine that remains is further intensified as a result of the bleeding method. They must become more concentrated. The pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce blush wine.
The Blending Method
This method is a simple mixing of red wine and white wine to impart color and form blush wine. However, it is firmly discouraged and frowned upon in most wine growing regions, especially France, where there is supposedly a law against blending wines.
Top types of blush wines
Aromas of a Rosé
Among the sheer beauty, age, and color of blush wine, the aromas of the wine, flavor, and tears of wine are what defines it the most, and the primary influencer is the particular type of grape varieties used. Its light, fruity character comes from the density of a chemical compound in the grape variety chosen.
The stability of aromas depends on other chemical compounds that prevent oxidation. In fact, blush wines have a low shelf-life due to the restricted amount of chemical compounds present due to the lack of time the skin had contact with the juice.
This means that within a year of production, the level of chemical compounds has dropped to half its fermentation level, leaving an acidic taste behind. Hence, a good rosé must be consumed soon after its release.
A Nuance of World Rosés
Blush wines from all over the world, mainly Europe and America, hadn’t swept up the winemaking history until the end of the 20th century. ‘Pink wines’ had a mark in the American market when a successful marketing scheme sent wine connoisseurs into a frenzy.
California winemaker- Bob Trinchero from Sutter Home had managed to save a stuck fermented batch of wine. He marketed the leftover wine from a 1972 Zinfandel batch. His marketing point was releasing paler, sweeter, blush-colored wine as ‘White Zinfandel,’ which then saw a boom in selling those wine cases.
Today, White Zinfandel is considered a noticeably sweet, pale pink wine, and slight carbonation to give the wine a good balance and zest.
Blush wine is filled with such fruity energy that it turns any man estranged to wine, becoming a sommelier. The tenderness with which the juice is extracted, then fermented shows power in its grapes and the intensity of the compounds.
All in all, blush wine is wine at its finest, a wine that can leave you light and fun but also leave you wanting more. After all, it’s not just any wine. It’s a wine made from the heart.