Rosé 101

There are two methods to making rosé, depending on whether the winemaker is using the particular lot of grapes exclusively for rosé or not. One method is called saignée (direct translation - bleeding) which first involves sorting, de-stemming, and lightly crushing the grapes. Before fermentation begins, some lightly pigmented juice is bled off from crushed grapes, which will eventually become rosé. The crushed grapes that remain are then fermented with their skins. At the end of the process, the winemaker is left with two distinct wines from the original lot of grapes: a rosé plus a deep red wine.

At Côte West, we follow the second method. When the grapes arrive at the winery, we skip de-stemming and crushing and instead we load the whole clusters directly into a wine press. The grapes are gently pressed and turned for about three hours. While this happens, juice drops out of the press and flows into a stainless steel tank. We carefully monitor the color of the pressed juice. As it begins to flow, it is clear, then turns light pink, and finally purplish - at which point we stop the process. The juice alone - without any skins in this case - is fermented in the tank at a low temperature. The resulting wine is 100% rosé.

Catherine Bishop