How you can qualify the color of a rosé wine?

Some rosés seem almost red, others are so pale they look like white wines. When we talk about red and white wines we can find a limited number of colors and nuances. This is not the case with rosé. Some of the best books for sommeliers identify 3 colors to describe rosés;  the reality is a bit different. There are so many nuances. And this is only one of the reasons why you should drink rosé. 

What do these infinite shades of rosé depend on?

1. Winemaking Style. Rosé wines obtained from saignée have a darker color than those obtained by short maceration or direct pressing.

2. Maceration time is important. Longer is the maceration, more intense is the color of the future rosé wine.

3. The grape varietyWhy? For the amount of anthocyanins, colored pigments responsible for the color of the grape skin and the color of the wine. Some grapes have genetically more anthocyanins, and so more color than others. Some examples? Syrah, Tempranillo, Negroamaro. Pinot Noir, on the other hand, is a grape from which it is not possible to obtain rosé with intense colors, but more subtle.

4. Production Zone of grapes and the Climatic Trend of the harvest affect the color of the wine. Cold seasons will not allow a complete ripening of the grapes, consequently there will be wines with a lower quantity of anthocyanins, and consequently less color.

© “Rosè Wine, the guide to drinking pink, Jennifer Simonetti Bryan

What happens in the cellar?

In the cellar you have to be very careful about the rosé vinification. It is the most difficult wine to obtain. Rosé in the tanks has very intense, bright colors. After a couple of days the color starts to fade. Why? Because anthocyanins bind to other molecules, such as tannins or sulphites. In this way they lose their color and the wine is clearer. The acidity  affects this balance, too. A more acid wine tends to be brighter, while a less acid one tends to have darker shades.

So what are the colors of rosé?

When we talk about infinite shades, we really mean it. The parameters that determine the color are a lot. The maturation of the wine as well as the type of aging also play a role. Later you drink your bottle of rosé,  more orange will be the colour.

The Centre du Rosé, the only research and experimentation organization  on rosé wines in the world, located in Provence, every year analyzes thousands of samples of rosé wines from different Countries. Different types of rosé are also experimentally made, to evaluate how the change of a variable (variety, maceration time, area of ​​origin, pH, type of yeast) can influence the color and so the final result.

After numerous tastings and experiments in this Center, a spectrum of rosé colors was illustrated, to be understood as guidelines found in Provençal wines.

What are these colors?
Mandarin, Mango, Melon, Peach, Grapefruit and Red Currant. These macro-categories are only representative for Provençal wines, as rosés from other areas may have other types of nuances. A wine that never lost its own identity.
By attending courses and tasting events you may come across rosé with colors reminiscent of salmon, onion skin, coral, pale pink … the shades are truly infinite.

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