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May 10, 2023 • 2 min read

How to Make a Sparkling Rosé, in Three Ways

There's no doubt about it, pink wine is popular! Once associated primarily with sweet white zin(fandel), these days you can find it in a range of shades, in both still and sparkling versions.

And just like the many styles of rosè, there are several methods to get those beautiful colors in the bottle.  At MAWBY, our wines all start with a goal. For a sparkling rosè we prefer it to be light, crisp, fruity, and expressive. Let's explore the most popular ways for making rosè and find the one that best fit our MAWBY style.

#1 Saignèe: To Bleed

 The saignée method is done when a winemaker bleeds a portion of fresh pink juice from a red wine fermentation. This gives the winemaker a higher skin to juice ratio to beef up their red wine and their pink juice can be fermented and sold as rosé. These pink wines often have higher alcohol, more body, and because the acidity is lower, the wine isn’t as crisp.

#2 Big Blend Party

This sounds easy, but gets tricky.... fast. The variations on this theme are essentially endless. The easiest version of blending is a small amount of red wine is added to white wine, and POOF: rosé. But like everything it’s not always that simple, nailing the target flavor profiles and aromatics can take many trials spread across many different white and red wines. Blending wine is one of the unique exercises in the world where sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Finding that gem is always a pleasant surprise. One of our preferred methods of blending is adding a small amount of fresh young red wine to a white wine that has aged in the bottle for years, bringing a youthful flair to an otherwise mature flavor profile. We do this during the disgorging process. That means the base wine has been white for it’s entire existence until moments before the cork and wire hood are placed on the bottle.

#3 Gimme Some Skin

The method that we like using for our Marquette and Regent grapes involves a very short skin contact time with the juice before we press. We pick all of our grapes whole cluster. What’s that mean? The bunch or bundle of grapes you’re familiar with buying at the store has the stems attached to the fruit is whole cluster picked. Harvest machines shake the berries off the stems, leaving the stems on the vine. After harvesting our fruit we take it to our friends down the road who make a lot of red wine and they will crush and destem the fruit for us. We’ll chill the crushed must overnight and press the next day. This short time with the skin extracts some color from the broken skins into the juice. A key difference between this method and saignée is we aim to pick the fruit much earlier, so the acid is more bright and the fruit flavors and aromatics are younger, and more lively.

Rosé is fun to make because we can use most of our tools to really dial in something special. But as always, we believe it’s best done with intention. Making rosé as an afterthought is possible and sometimes delightful, but that’s not our jam. Give us some fruit that has some acid and life, and we’ll add some bubbles, and *POP!* We have one of our favorite styles here at MAWBY.

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