Rosé was my introduction to wine making. During harvest, at the end of each day, there would be left over juice from determining the sugar content of the Pinot Noir grapes. The excess juice became wine. The process of making this wine is similar to white wine, but malolactic fermentation is not necessary and no oak is used.
Maceration for Color
Rosé is simply wine that has not undergone complete extraction for color. Pinot Noir must is left on the skins for 24 hours. After the time has passed, the grapes are pressed or simply strained from the berries. The juice is then poured into a carboy.
To stop wild yeast strains, Campden tablets are added to the juice at a rate of 1 tablet per gallon.
Côte des Blanc yeast was added, there are other strains for making rosé, but this was reliable for fermentation.
Fermentation took place for about one week at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. When the wine no longer had detectable fermentation (still wine, no bubbles) we racked the wine to remove any debris from the bottom of the carboy. No residual sugar remained.
During years when the sugar levels are not optimal and the pH is about 3.5 it may be necessary to precipitate tartaric acid to reduce tartness. To cold stabilize wine, the juice is maintained at low temperatures to cause the tartaric acid to turn into crystals that will settle at the bottom of the container. We put the carboys outside on a snowy weekend and the juice dropped to 34 degrees. We could see the crystals settling to the bottom. After cold stabilization has occurred, there is a marked reduction in tartness and the wine is finished. If the wine is cloudy, fining may be necessary.
Clear glass bottles are optimal for rosé, which does not benefit from aging and should be consumed within the year. We added more Campden tablets at the same rate and bottled.
This wine can be enjoyed slightly chilled or at room temperature. Rosé is sometime maligned as a cheaper wine, but I find it to be quite enjoyable because it is excellent when made from quality grapes.