Vinification is the process that transforms the grapes into wine. The process of vinification differ from region to region, financial state of the winery and the grape types. The harvesting time and the type of oak used for aging are based on the region in which the wine grapes are grown.

Wine making process involves the following stages:

  • The first step in wine making process is Harvesting or Picking. Grapes should be harvested at the right time in order to make good wine. Harvesting can be done either mechanically or by hand.
  • The process of separating the grapes from the stems and cluster parts is called Destemming. Some of the wine makers keep some fragments of the stem to increase the wine tannin.
  • After destemming the grapes are crushed to extract the juice from the skin. This is done before the fermentation process begins. In the olden days bare feet is used to extract the grape juice, now a day machines like crushers are used.
  • Separation of grape juice and the skin is named as pressing. After crushing the grape juice will flow freely, selected wineries use pressers to make sure maximum juice is released.
  • Once the grapes are pressed they are introduced into the process of fermentation. During this process the grape juice are converted into alcoholic beverage. The yeast interacts with the sugar in the grape juice and converts them into ethanol and carbon dioxide.
  • Once the wine is purified and refined, they are preserved with sulfur dioxide or potassium sorbate. During the natural process of fermentation a minimum amount of sulfites are produced, but more is added for the use of commercial preservation.
  • Wines are aged for a particular amount of time to get more welcoming wine. Once after purification, the wines are moved to wooden barrels for aging. Metal vats, concrete vats and glass carboys are also used in some cases to increase the flavor.
  • After aging, the wines are bottled. During the process of bottling a final dose of sulfite is added to the wine to prevent it from uninvited fermentation in the bottle. The bottles are then sealed with cork and screw caps.
saignée rosé wine
A 'saignée' rosé made from Syrah in Catalonia, Spain.

Can you taste it in the glass?

The post What does 'saignée' mean in rosé wine? appeared first on Decanter.


saignée rosé wine
A 'saignée' rosé made from Syrah in Catalonia, Spain.

Can you taste it in the glass?

The post What does 'saignée' mean in rosé wine? appeared first on Decanter.

saignée rosé wine
A 'saignée' rosé made from Syrah in Catalonia, Spain.

Saignée can be translated as ‘bleeding’ in French, and in winemaking the saignée method typically involves ‘bleeding’ off liquid from a tank of juice for red wine in the early stages of the winemaking process.

This can help to produce more concentrated flavour and colour in red wine, as the Australian Wine Research Institute explains.

But, the siphoned-off juice can also be used to make rosé wines.

Some people have criticised saignée rosé as a mere side-show or after-thought to red wine production.

Others argue that plenty of highly regarded producers and regions have harnessed the principles of the saignée method to create rosé wines that burst with character and depth. It’s used to make top rosés in Spain’s Navarra region, for instance, where the technique is known as ‘sangrado’.

As The Wine Society’s Marcel Orford-Williams and Jo Locke MW noted in this article, saignée rosés ‘are certainly not any lesser quality than direct-press wines’.

Champagne

At cult producer Champagne Péters, a ‘rosé de saignée’ is blended with top Chardonnay from Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger to create the ‘Rosé for Albane’ cuvée, first launched in 2007.

The grower-house also recently used the technique to launch a rosé Champagne in collaboration with the co-owners of Château Miraval, including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel.

Rodolphe Péters, winemaker and head of the family business, explained to Decanter.com why a saignée rosé had been used, instead of the more common method in Champagne of blending a small amount of red wine into white wine cuvées.

‘The artistic concept behind the creation of Fleur de Miraval is the blending of Chardonnays that have noble, autolytic evolutionary notes and supremely fresh Pinot Noirs with slightly acidulous, red fruit notes.

‘Given the aromatic profile we were looking for in the Pinot Noirs, the saignée method seemed an altogether more natural choice than using classic red winemaking techniques that would have produced much riper, richer tones.’

Péters added, ‘All of the batches of Chardonnay making up the Côte des Blancs blend express the chalky characteristics that are specific to this region, and a powerful maritime minerality.

‘We often say that these wines from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger have a salty, even briny finish. During our own search for the perfect rosé blend we noted that these saline, slightly bitter, finishes did not sit well with the structure and the tannins of red wine, whereas rosé, with its more diaphanous structure and much lighter tannic content, produced a far more harmonious result.’

Miraval’s winemaking team already uses the ‘saignée’ method for the small portion of Syrah grapes that help to make up its Provence rosé.

Elsewhere in Champagne, Louis Roederer says its Cristal Rosé is partly made using the saignée technique, which involves bleeding off juice after several days of cold maceration in contact with grape skins.

Champagne Delamotte and Laurent-Perrier are also known to employ similar strategies.

Can you taste it?

There are many winemaking decisions that will affect the character of the wine in your glass, but some believe the saignée method can enhance certain qualities – as explained by Péters above.

Champagne expert Michael Edwards told Decanter.com, ‘In my opinion, the saignée method of bleeding the red Pinot Noir grapes for making rosé certainly does give a different flavour in the glass. In essence, a much closer taste of place, of the territory from which it comes.’

Edwards, author of The Finest Wines of Champagne, said there is often a ‘vinous’ quality to the wines, and in Champagne the method tends to be favoured ‘by grower domaines with great terroirs’.

However, consistency between vintages can be an issue.

‘One drawback of saignée is the variable hue, harvest by harvest,’ said Edwards. An extra touch of Chardonnay can sometimes be used to fix the colour, he added.

Saignée is not for everyone, however. Champagne houses who prefer to make rosé by blending a small amount of red wine together with white ‘would say they want to preserve the essential elegance of Champagne in pink’, said Edwards.


You might also like: 

Blanc de Noirs Champagne vs Blanc de Blancs: What’s the difference? 

What does maceration mean?

Top Provence rosé wines: Panel tasting results (Premium)


The post What does 'saignée' mean in rosé wine? appeared first on Decanter.


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Each wine is unique. Soil, weather, geology, varietals, and the style of wine making, are all decisive yet variable factors that give each wine a unique character.
Each wine is unique. Soil, weather, geology, varietals, and the style of wine making, are all decisive yet variable factors that give each wine a unique character.
Winemakers all over the world are combining wine making traditions of millennia with innovative approaches and ideas, to address consumer demand for high quality products and a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
Winemakers all over the world are combining wine making traditions of millennia with innovative approaches and ideas, to address consumer demand for high quality products and a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

Laurel Gray Vineyards

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