Blush Rose Biography & Facts
A rosé ([ʁoze]) is a type of wine that incorporates some of the color from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. It may be the oldest known type of wine, as it is the most straightforward to make with the skin contact method. The pink color can range from a pale "onionskin" orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grape varieties used and winemaking techniques. Usually, the wine is labelled rosé in French, Portuguese, and English-speaking countries, rosado in Spanish, or rosato in Italian.
There are three major ways to produce rosé wine: skin contact, saignée, and blending. Rosé wines can be made still, semi-sparkling or sparkling and with a wide range of sweetness levels from highly dry Provençal rosé to sweet White Zinfandels and blushes. Rosé wines are made from a wide variety of grapes and can be found all around the globe.When rosé wine is the primary product, it is produced with the skin contact method. Black-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically two to twenty hours. The grape must is then pressed and the skins discarded, rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). The longer the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the color of the final wine.When a winemaker desires to impart more tannin and color to red wine, some of the pink juice from the must can be removed at an early stage in what is known as the Saignée (from French bleeding) method. The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result of the bleeding, because the volume of juice in the must is reduced, and the must involved in the maceration becomes more concentrated. The pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce rosé.The simple mixing of red wine into white wine to impart color is uncommon and is discouraged in most wine growing regions, especially in France, where it is forbidden by law, except for Champagne. Even in Champagne, several high-end producers do not use this method but rather the saignée method.
It is not known when the first wine labeled as a rosé was produced, but it is very likely that many of the earliest red wines made were closer in appearance to today's rosés than they would be to modern red wines. This is because many of the winemaking techniques used to make today's darker, more tannic red wines (such as extended maceration and harder pressing) were not widely practised in ancient winemaking. Both red and white wine grapes were often pressed soon after harvest, (with very little maceration time) by hand, feet or even sack cloth, creating juice that was only lightly pigmented.Even after the development of newer, more efficient wine presses, many ancient and early winemakers still preferred making the lighter colored and fruitier style of wines. There was an understanding, as early as the time of the Ancient Greeks and Roman winemakers, that harder pressing and letting the juice "sit" for a period with the skins would make darker, heartier wines, but the resulting wines were often considered too harsh and less desirable. This sentiment lasted well into the Middle Ages, when the pale clarets from Bordeaux were starting to gain the world's attention. To the powerful English market, the most prized clarets were, according to wine historian Hugh Johnson, the vin d'une nuit or "wine of one night", which were pale-rosé colored wines made from juice that was allowed only a single night of skin contact. The darker wine produced from must that had longer skin contact were known as the vin vermeilh (or pinpin to the English) was considered to be of much lesser quality.Similarly, in the early history of Champagne, the wines produced from this region during the Middle Ages were nothing like the sparkling white wines associated with the region today. Instead they were pale red and even pinkish, with some Champenois winemakers using elderberries to add more red color to the wines as they competed with the wines of Burgundy for the lucrative Flemish wine trade. In the 16th and 17th century, the region achieved some acclaim for their "white" wines made from Pinot noir grapes, but rather than actually being white, these wines were instead a pale "greyish pink" that was reminiscent of a "partridge's eye" and earned the nickname Œil de Perdrix—a style of rosé still being produced in Switzerland. In the late 17th century, the Champenois (aided by the work of Dom Perignon) learned how to better separate the skins from the must and produce truly white wine from red wine grapes.Even as Champenois moved towards producing sparkling wines, they continued to produce both sparkling and still rosés often by means of blending a small amount of red wine to "color up" an already-made white wine. The depth of color was dependent on the amount red wine added, with the red wine having more influence on the resulting flavor of the wine if added in larger volumes.
After World War II
The history of rosé would take a dramatic turn following the conclusion of World War II when two Portuguese wine producer families both released sweet, slightly sparkling rosés to the European and American markets. These wines, Mateus and Lancers, would go on to set record sales in Europe and the US and dominate the Portuguese wine industry for most of the 20th century, but their popularity has declined in the recent years of the 21st century. While they still have a presence in the European and US markets, the trend towards traditional, drier rosés, as well as the development of American "blush" wines like White Zinfandel, have cut into their market shares.In the early 1970s, demand for white wine exceeded the availability of white wine grapes, so many California producers made "white" wine from red grapes, in a form of saignée production with minimal skin contact, the "whiter" the better. In 1975, Sutter Home's "White Zinfandel" wine experienced a stuck fermentation, a problem in which the yeast goes dormant, or in some cases dies off before all the sugar is turned to alcohol. Winemaker Bob Trinchero put it aside for two weeks, then upon tasting it he decided to sell this pinker, sweeter wine.In 1976, wine writer Jerry D. Mead visited Mill Creek Vineyards in Sonoma County, California. Charles Kreck had been one of the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon vines in California, and offered Mead a wine made from Cabernet that was a pale pink and not yet named. Kreck would not call it "White Cabernet" as it was much darker in color than red grape "white" wines of the time, though not as dark as the rosés he had known. Mead jokingly suggested the name "Cabernet Blush"; later that evening, he phoned Kreck to say that he no longer thought the name to be a joke. In 1978 Kreck trademarked the word "Blush". The name caught on as a marketing name for the semi-sweet wines from producers such as Sutter Home and Beringer.... Discover the Blush Rose popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Blush Rose books.