Oh my…it’s so big….the growth of rosé wine popularity that is.

rosé
ˈrəʊzeɪ/
noun

any light pink wine, coloured by only brief contact with red grape skins.

“a glass of rosé”

Such a simple and one-dimensional definition for a complex, diverse and let’s be honest, sexy product. Pale onion-skin orange to almost purple; still, semi sparkling or sparkling; sweet to bone-dry; this genre of wine is as diverse as the cultivars you can use to make it.

The production numbers at a glance…

  1. global rosé production: approx. 25 million hL
  2. accounts for approx. 10% of still wine production
  3. 80% of production: France, Spain, United States and Italy

Increase in rosé production since 2002:

  1. South Africa: 200%
  2. Chile: 400%
  3. Australia: 450%

The consumption numbers at a glance…

  1. global rosé consumption: approx. 23 million hL
  2. 20% increase in rosé consumption since 2002
  3. France and US: consume approx. half of global rosé production

Increase in rosé consumption since 2002:

  1. United Kingdom: 250%
  2. Sweden: 750%
  3. Canada: 120%
  4. Hong Kong: 250%

Call it what you will…a French rosé, a Spanish rosado, an Italian rosato or a German roséwein…this blush-coloured phenomenon has shaken off the frumpy “sweet and unsophisticated” persona and slipped into something a little bit more comfortable…the new crisp, dry and fruit-driven style of rosé taking the market by storm.

The three major rosé production methods, maceration, saignée and blending, will provide you with different styles and colour of rosé wines.

During the maceration method, the grapes are destined primarily for rosé production and the maceration period can differ significantly according the shade and intensity of rosé being produced. This method is popular for commercial rosé production. The saignée or bleeding method sees you remove some of the juice from the red wine production process to produce rosé and at the same time intensify the colour and tannin concentration of the red wine being produced. This method usually results in darker and more savoury rosé styles. The final method, blending, is less popular and more regulated in certain rosé producing areas like France, where white wines are enriched with coloured musts to produce a rosé wine. A less common method is that of vin gris, where the rosé is produced by the immediate pressing of red grapes without any skin contact. This method is generally practised on lighter coloured varieties like Cinsaut, Gamay noir, Pinot noir and Grenache.

So what makes a good rosé? The style that is gaining in popularity is that of a clean, fruit forward wine with crisp acidity, where freshness and complexity is balanced. To produce this, there are a couple of key factors:

  1. Light touch
  2. Gentle handling of the fruit
  3. Short and light press cycle
  4. Cold settling
  5. Fermenting at cool temperatures to retain aromatic compounds
  6. Use a dedicated yeast and enzyme combination to enhance bright, rich, fruity flavours

The style of rosé’s produced with these different methods, despite coming in a veritable rainbow of pink shades, can vary anywhere from light and mineral-like, to round and floral and rich and savoury. From a visual point of view, you can expect anything from a pale onion-skin hue, interspersed with salmon, rose, coral, watermelon coloured wines, all the way to the cherry and ruby red offerings. Rosé really has an outfit for every occasion…

With so many styles of rosé, differing in colour, sweetness, bubbles and aroma, you are sure to find the one that makes you blush!