Rosé is made the same way as non-oaked white wines, except with one main difference; skin contact. For a rosé, when the grapes are crushed, the skin stays in contact with the juice for longer than a white wine in order to gain the colour from the skin. Depending on the grape variety this can be from 8 hours to 1-2 days of skin contact. With red wine, juice and skin can remain in contact for up to 3 weeks; depending on the grapes and wine style the winemaker is looking to achieve.

For a rosé, time on skins is important as it allows the extraction of colour. After this the juice is then separated from the skins by draining or pressing and there follows fermentation. Just as there are various styles of red and white wines, the same applies to rosés. They can be bone dry with less than 5 grams of residual sugar per Litre (5g/L), dry (up to 10g/L), medium dry (10-20g) and sweet (up to 30-40g).

The grape varieties used to make rosés include Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz/Syrah, Tempranillo, Cinsault and Gamay. Rosés are made throughout the world from France, Spain, Portugal, a few in Italy, Greece and Germany as well as in the ‘New World;’ Argentina, Chile, USA, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

At Swanny Cellars our rosés come from Malbec and Cabernet in Margaret River, Syrah and Sangiovese in Tuscany, Pinot Grigio in Pemberton, the Agiorgitiko grape in Greece plus we have a rosé from Rioja in Spain and a few more.

If you don’t have time to pop in this week to buy a couple, take a look here at some of the top picks in the summer issue of On the Vine.