The colors of rosé

With its varying degrees of pink, rosé is as beautiful as it is palatable. The color of this popular summer wine ranges from a very light copper to a dark, almost hot pink.

The winemaking method is the first consideration of why one rosé looks different from another. The majority of rosé wines are made from red grape varieties. There are several methods used to make the wine. Color is primarily due to the amount of contact the grape skins have with the grape juice. The shorter the contact time, the lighter the wine’s color; longer contact time yields beautiful, eye-catching color variations.

Here’s how rosé is made:

Skin contact: The maceration process (where the grape tannin, coloring agents and flavor compounds are leached from the grape skins, seeds and stems into grape juice) is the same as for red wines. With rosé, the grapes spend only a few hours to a few days on the skins. This is in contrast to red wines, which can macerate for months.

Direct press: A process that creates very pale rosés. Grapes are pressed, breaking the skins and providing a hint of color. The juice is immediately drawn off, creating a lighter, softer color.

Saignée: The rosé is a byproduct of red wine. Some wine is bled off early in the maceration process, helping concentrate the remaining juice. The lighter juice that is removed is fermented and bottled as rosé.

The following wines vary in color, but each carries the classic characteristics of an excellent refreshing summer sipper.

2019 Gilbert Cellars Rosé, 52% Mourvèdre and 48% Grenache, $18: The color is a very pale pink, but boy does this wine pack a punch. Aromas include banana, mango and strawberry. This is a bone-dry wine with great acidity and flavors of red grapefruit, lemon peel and crushed gravel.

Fortuity Cellars 2019 Rosé of Cinsaut, $24: Fresh and elegant, this rosé offers aromas of hibiscus, rose petals and bubblegum. It is dry and well balanced with great acidity, offering bright flavors of red grapefruit and nuances of earthy mineral undertones.

Terra Blanca 2019 Rosé, $18: A beautiful shade of pink with wafts of cotton candy aromas, this is a blend of 63% sangiovese and 37% cabernet franc. The palate provides soft flavors of red fruit; raspberries, strawberries and watermelon. Bright and balanced with an herbaceous finish with a hint of lemon rind.

Cote Bonneville 2019 Cabernet Franc Rosé, $30: Opens with aromas of light rose petals, red cherry and a hint of melon. Flavors of red fruit, melon and lemon rind are carried with layered nuances of grapefruit. Great acidity and balance creating a soft round mouthfeel.

2019 Knight Hill Rosé of Syrah, $22: This one offers a deeper shade of pink. Aromas of strawberry and melon with light floral notes and a hint of spice. Lushly layered on the palate are notes of strawberry and red grapefruit. This wine has great acidity with hints of watermelon on the finish.

Purple Star 2019 Rosé, $18: Offering a blend of 70% mourvedre and 30% syrah, this rosé dazzles with well-concentrated aromas of crushed gravel, wild strawberry and melon that carry through to the palate. This is a snappy, mouthwatering wine that culminates to a savory and herbaceous, mouthwatering finish.

During these hot summer days, be sure to store your rosé in a dark, cool space. These are the best conditions to preserve the color and taste quality of your wine. Constant light exposure degrades the color rapidly, and likely the flavor due to the pigment degradations.

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