Rosé Wine Style Guide

Last updated: 9/2021

Applies to: winemakers making a rosé style wine in a variety of styles. This article contains a pdf download with complete process and product recommendations.

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Winemakers can drive wine style based on key processing decisions and correct product choice. We created these Scott Labs wine style guides to provide both process and product recommendations for helping winemakers achieve their stylistic goals.


Rosé Wines

Learn how we think about "Rosé Wines" to determine if this style guide is right for you:

Styles of Rosé

Rosé juices can be obtained a few different ways, though the fermentation process itself follows the rules of white winemaking. Major differences in rosé production are related to how the juice is obtained:

  • Direct to Press: upon receipt, grapes either go direct to press to minimize color extraction from skins.
  • Press after Skin Contact: upon receipt, grapes are crushed and held on skins for a small period of time to extract some color and aroma before being pressed.
  • Saignée: juices are obtained by bleeding off some juice from a red wine cold soak or fermentation.

Common Varieties

There are many varieties suitable for rosé production, but common varieties include:

  • Pinot noir
  • Thiolic (tropical/citrus) varieties: Grenache, Mourvèdre
  • Terpenic (floral) varieties: Syrah, Merlot
  • Zinfandel

Unique Winemaking Considerations

Achieving the correct stylistic color extraction

Color often indicates style to a consumer. Achieving the desired color can be challenging as color may be absorbed by lees, bleached by SO2, and removed during heat stabilization (bentonite).

Preserving freshness

This includes managing acid, preventing oxidation, and choosing a suitable yeast strain for the intended style.

Managing saignée

If choosing to make a saignée rosé, the juice can be quite high in sugar and yield a high alcohol wine.

Stabilizing color and aroma

More Wine Style Guides

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Rhône Whites

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Light-Bodied Red Wines

Medium-Bodied Red Wines

Full-Bodied Red Wines