Katy Rutland
August 7, 2014 | What's Up in the Winery, Wine Features | Katy Rutland

Ring Around the Rosé - Part 2

As promised, here’s your second dose of Rosé for the week!



In the Tasting Room, our Wine Educators are often asked, “What’s the difference between a red and a Rosé?” A variant of that is, “Is Rosé a white?”


As we said in Part 1, Rosé tends to be viewed as unsophisticated or a byproduct made with the dregs of wines that didn’t make the cut for their own bottling.


This is not the case with the 2013 Arch Terrace Dry Rosé, and one taste can prove that.


But this raises an interesting question. How are Rosés made?  


There are three predominant methods:


  1. Blending
  2. Drawing off
  3. Pressing off


The first method is a common one. To make some Rosés, winemakers may decide to blend a red and a white wine together, such as Syrah and Chardonnay. In this method, the percentage is weighed heavily in the white’s favor since it does not take much red wine to turn a white wine into a pink wine. In this style of Rosé, the wines are blended in a similar fashion as other blends and for similar reasons: flavor, balance, aroma, and (more obvious in a Rosé) color.


Another way of making Rosé is through a technique known as drawing. No sketchpads here. Instead, as red grapes are fermenting, a winemaker may choose to draw off wine from the bottom of the fermentation tank, wine that is not in direct contact with the grape’s skins and seeds and thus not obtaining the same levels of pigment and tannin. This method can serve two purposes: to make a Rosé and increase the ratio of skin to juice in the wine that will be fully red.


This second technique can sometimes develop a bad reputation, implying that the winemaker didn’t intend to make a Rosé and is only focusing on making a more concentrated red wine. Though this may be true in certain cases, the Rosés made from this method still undergo the full winemaking process and are no less sophisticated for their origins.


Third time’s the charm for Terra Blanca’s method. Rather than blending or drawing off, our Winemaker Keith Pilgrim uses a very traditional Rosé-making technique. After selecting the fruit that will be made into Rosé (in 2011 it was Sangiovese, and both 2012 and 2013 are Cabernet Franc), that fruit is pressed and fermented, the juice sitting with its skins and seeds for a few hours. After those few hours, the juice—now with a rosey hue and touch of tannin—is pressed from its skins and seeds and finishes fermentation. This differs from the fermentation for a red wine since a red wine will ferment with its skins and seeds for up to 21 days before having the juice pressed off.


And, because we have your attention, here’s another quick clarification of terms:


Rosé: typically dry (less than 1% residual sugar)

Blush: typically semi-sweet to sweet (greater than 3% residual sugar)


With the latest heat wave, nothing beats our Dry Rosé for a crisp refreshment.


Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca


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