Different does not necessarily equal better or worse. It would behoove us all to remember this.
And so it goes with rosé. What is rosé? Let’s keep it simple…rosé is pink wine, often looked at differently by the drinker. In what way? Well, most people don’t even care from which grape the wine is made. It is simply rosé. Sure, some folks say “Rosé of Pinot Noir” or “Grenache Rosé”, but more than any other wine (save, perhaps, Champagne), civilian drinkers don’t give it much thought. Just…Rosé.
There are different ways to make rosé, but they all involve red or grey (gris!) grapes.
Grapes are farmed specifically for rosé and usually picked earlier in order to capture acidity and freshness and keep away from riper/bigger flavors. Note: the longer the fruit hangs, the higher the sugar and lower the acidity. Fresh/bright/zippy slowly becomes softer/rounder/darker/heavier. Think of an underripe-ripe-overripe apple or pear; same same.
Grapes are harvested, brought into the winery and then either: 1) crushed, by foot or machine, juice allowed to soak on the skins for some period of time or 2) Put directly into the press, juice is exposéd to skin contact for 1-2 hours whilst the press cycle runs.
The wine is then moved to tank or barrel for fermentation.
This process is basically how white wine is made; harvest/press/ferment juice. Since rosé is made with red grapes, it picks up a little color during the process.
Grapes are farmed for red wine, picked and put into tank for fermentation. At some point early in the process, juice is bled from the tank and put into a separate vessel for fermentation. This bleed becomes the Rosé. The original red wine becomes more concentrated, as the juice to skin/seed/stem ratio has changed (less juice exposéd to the same amount of grape material). These rosés are usually lower in acidity, as the pick date was chosén to optimize for red wine rather than rosé (though some may add tartaric acid during fermentation).
A white base wine is “stained” with a red wine.
Yep, people do that. In fact, this is how many pink bubbles are made. Big sparkling houses often make large amounts of still red wines, the sole purpose of which is to stain the fizz pink.
Rosé is made from many different types of grapes using a few different winemaking protocols. This is why you see different colors and taste different characteristics. Find a style you like and go with it. Cheers and happy drinking.