Wine Talk

Snooth User: Girl Drink Drunk

Rosé Champagne Question

Posted by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 17, 2010.

I'm fairly versed in Champagne drinking, but as far as production goes, not as much.  I've not visited the region yet, so I've never seen it made in person. 

My question is: I know some roses are simply made from PN grapes, with some skin contact, ergo rose color.  However, I'm aware that some wine makers simply add red juice/wine to the bubbles.  Can anyone explain this process a bit more thoroughly for me?  When is it normally added, etc.?  I'd super appreciate it.  Thanks in advance.


Reply by artichoke, Dec 18, 2010.

ok quiet complex question rose are made usually blending p.noir or p meunier with chardonnay,usually 40/60 maceration on the skin is about 3.4 days problem was the big variation of the the color even with the famous champagne houses since 2002 they changed chardonnay and pinot are made separated and then blended togheter so the color is uniform cheers artichoke

Reply by Avv, Dec 18, 2010.

You can also add colour at dosage just prior to release

Reply by GregT, Dec 18, 2010.

As mentioned, it's made either by blending some red and white wine or by just making a rosé in the first place, using red grapes.  Different issues arise and there are different possible methods.

You can add a some completed still red wine to some still white wine before adding the dosage, or the liqueur de tirage, as AVV said above.  Doing a full red wine fermentation and blending the completed wines provides the most stable color and you can adjust the color to your specs. 

If you did a bleed from your red grapes, you can add some of the bleed juice with the white juice and ferment those together, making a complete wine before adding the liqueur de tirage. Problem with that is this method is that you've picked the red grapes at perfect ripeness for red wine and not for rosé or for Champagne, for which you usually pick earlier, so your red juice won't have the bright acidity you might have wanted if you were making a rosé directly.  So in those blends you usually put a large percentage of white juice. And you can gain complexity from the seeds and stems and skins that the red grapes provided.

Alternatively, you can directly make the rosé wine and then add the dosage.  If you want you can even add white wine to that rosé.  The Champagnes made this way are usually done with Pinot Noir because it's got more color and retains more color than Pinot Meunier. This ethod has different advantages and disadvantages.  

First of all, of course, there are different ways to make the rosé.  One is with the bleed wine that you may have obtained because you want to concentrate your red.  That's going to lack some of the acidity you might want, as mentioned, but it's going to give you a pure rosé for your sparkling wine.  Another way to do the rosé is by cold maceration of the red grapes for a few hours and then gentle pressing. This might be the least common method in Champagne because first, you need the most red grapes and second, you need to make a perfect guess as to when you end the maceration, or your color varies wildly year to year.

Making a rosé directly from macerating the grapes however, is the most difficult, although it makes a good pink Champagne because you picked the red grapes specifically for the Champagne, so you have better acidity for the rosé and you also have aromatics and complexity contributed from the red grapes.  Your main problem will be working against the astringency that you may get from the not-quite-ripe seeds and skins.

Hope this helps.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 19, 2010.

I think we need to take up a collection so GDD can go to Champagne. It's really a must, as far as I am concerned. (One of my favorite travel stories involves finding a place to stay in Epernay when I was 24--I was going to sleep in a park because I was almost out of money, but that turned out not to be a good idea for a bunch of reasons.) Then GDD comes back with cases and cases of roses, and we drink them and guess how they were made. This thread explains why I haven't really gotten a consistent idea of what I am looking for in Rose champs; I have to say, it'll be a while before I run out of blancs that I like or want to try. But it does make me want to go back to les caves and check this out. This time I will make reservations before I go, though.

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