Contrary to what many people think, rosé wine is not made by mixing white and red wine. The principle of vinification is much more complex, and follows a strict process. Would you like to know the secrets of Côtes de Provence rosé wine making? Discover the production techniques and characteristics of rosé wine.
THE VINIFICATION OF ROSÉ WINE
Rosé wine is made using different techniques, selected according to the maturity of the harvest, the grape variety and the desired result. The vinification process includes all the stages of creation, from harvesting to bottling.
Sorting the grapes
After manual or mechanical harvesting of the grapes, there are 3 possible stages before pressing or maceration.
- Destemming: separating the grapes from the stalk (the structure of the bunch of grapes) is the preliminary stage in all rosé wine making;
- Draining: one can then choose to separate the juice from the solids;
- Crushing: it is also possible to crush the grapes to extract the must without crushing the pips.
While de-stemming is an essential step, draining and crushing are optional, and will depend on the winemaking technique chosen.
The two techniques for making rosé wine
To make rosé wine, two main techniques are used. Each of them will have a different process.
After de-stemming and crushing, the must obtained will macerate in a vat for 2 to 20 hours, at a temperature of between 10 and 15 °C. The pigments and aromas present in the grape skin will mix with the juice, giving it a nice pink colour. Once the winemaker has obtained the desired colour, he will proceed to the pressing stage, where the juice will be separated from the solid residues (pips and skins).
This technique aims to press the grapes directly after harvesting or de-stemming. The pressing is then extremely slow, which allows the juice to recover the pigments and aromas of the grape skin. Rosé wines made by direct pressing are generally lighter in colour than rosé wines made by skin maceration.
These stages allow for the recovery of a free-run juice (obtained after draining, before pressing), a press juice or bleeding juice (obtained after removing the free-run juice, and pressing the marc from the vat).
After these steps, the resulting juice is then fermented, regardless of the technique used. Fermentation is often preceded by settling, a process that consists of clarifying the must.
Alcoholic fermentation is a chemical process that transforms the sugar in the grapes into alcohol, through the action of yeast. It can be followed by partial or total malolactic fermentation, which consists of letting anaerobic bacteria transform malic acid into lactic acid. This will result in a more supple and stable rosé wine. This step is not necessary for a rosé or white wine.
Racking, storage and bottling
To finish the process, the racking (or clarification), will eliminate the last solid particles, before putting the wine in tank for conservation. The final stage is bottling.
THE VINIFICATION OF CÔTES DE PROVENCE ROSÉ
The uniqueness of Côtes de Provence rosé lies partly in its special colour, which is difficult to obtain. To make a quality cru requires real know-how.
Rosé de Provence: zoom on a delicate and difficult colour!
After having followed the different stages of the vinification of rosé wine, you will have understood that this so specific colour comes from the natural pigments contained in the skin of black grapes. To obtain such an elegant colour, and such aromas, it is necessary to perfectly control the contact between the pulp and the skin of the grape.
Maceration or pressing must be long enough to allow the pigments to give the wine its pink colour, but short enough not to spoil the suppleness and elegance of the wine with too much tannin.
The vinification of a Côtes de Provence rosé is then a real know-how, which the winegrowers of the Berne estate master to perfection.
The colour chart of Provence rosé wines
As you have probably noticed, there is no single colour for Provence wines. The colour chart is even wide, and there are 6 main colours for Côtes de Provence rosé: peach, melon, mango, pomelo, mandarin and redcurrant.
This classification of colours with fruit names is a reference for producers and consumers who are looking for a typical oenological profile of Provence rosé wines.