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  • Writer's pictureJoanneFoodTsang

What's with Rosé and Orange Wines?

Updated: Apr 8

Following from the previous post on red and white wines, tannins and macerations, here is a little more information on wines for those interested!

Glass of rosé by Polina Kovaleva

Why is Rosé pink?

It's not because the grapes are pink my friends. There are two main ways to get that salmon pink colour. The first way is to mix red wine with white wine and voilà, you get pink wine. The second method is through skin contact.

Skin contact refers to the process where the grape juice is left to macerate or soak with its skins before or during the fermentation process. Red wines derive it's ruby red colour and tannin-induced dry-mouthiness from the skin contact that grape juices have with its red skins throughout the fermentation process. White wines that do not have this period of skin contact remain 'white' and also contain very little tannin. Whilst many white wines come from white-skinned grapes anyways, there are whites made from red grapes too, such as Champagne. Shocker, right? But since there is minimal skin contact, the red colour of its grape skins is not transferred to its juices, leaving this renowned fizz beautifully clear.

As such, skin contact plays a major role in the colouration and astringent feeling of wines. In fact, if you give white grape varieties a bit of skin contact, and therefore a little more of that tannin characteristic of red wines, you get...ta-da, orange wines.

Anyways, back to rosé. The second way to make rose is therefore skin contact where the red grapes that have been pressed for their juices are left to macerate in its skins until the desired pink colour (and flavour) is achieved. The skins are then removed and the pink-tinged liquid is wizzed away for fermentation to become rosé as we know it.

If you find whites a little too light, and the reds a little too overpowering, try out rosé and orange wines. They might be just what you're looking for.

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