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#FAQS – Why so many shades of Rosé?

Different types of Rosé

Have you noticed how many shades of rosé you can choose from these days? Historically the market trend was for rosés that were pale pink, low in tannin and enjoyed only in the warmer months. However, the global rise in rosé year-round popularity means most regions and producers have rosé in their range. You’re now spoilt for choice with a broader range of colours from subtle pinks to more deeply pink-red hues, and styles from bone dry to sweet, and simple drink-now to complex and age-worthy.

The Grapes

Rosé can be made from a wide variety of grapes. When choosing a style match the grape to the style you are after. For example, grapes that have low or medium levels of colour and tannin will produce traditional lighter styles. From light to bold here are some common varieties made into rosé – Cinsault, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Sangiovese, Merlot, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, Carignan, Malbec, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mouverdre – either made stand-alone or blended.

#tip – wines with red fruit flavours tend to be lighter, try Pinot Noir, Cinsault, Grenache, Sangiovese.

Winemaking Methods

Direct Pressing

Produces the palest colour and delicate flavour ‘Provence’ style rosé. Once the grapes are in the winery they are immediately pressed to separate juice and skins. The juice is then fermented like a white wine.

Short Maceration

Produces more deeply coloured rosé styles. The grapes are crushed and the juice and skins are allowed to remain in contact from a couple of hours to a couple of days. This extracts colour, tannin and flavour into the juice. Once maceration finished the juice is pressed off and fermented.


This involves blending a small amount of red wine with white wine, which is adding colour whilst retaining the main flavours of the white wine. In Europe this style of rosé winemaking is mostly prohibited in Australia we have no such rules! You’ll find this style of winemaking amongst the new wave of Aussie winemakers making experimental cult wines.

(Ref DrinksBusiness, Wine Folly)