All of the white grapes are off the vines and we are now easing our way into the red cultivars starting with Merlot for Rosé.
The harvesting of these grapes will last 7-10 days with fermentation taking another 2-3 weeks thereafter. While a lot of people associate this pink wine with easy drinking, fun, and relaxation; the process of making it is a challenging, precise, and a very artistic process.
There is a visual aspect to all wines. However, unless a true anomaly is poured, it is unlikely that the hue of a white or a red wine is going to play much of a factor into one’s opinion on the wine.
With a rosé however, the colour of the wine carries as much weight as the aromatics and the palate. Some would argue it actually carries even more as the hue of these wines is often the #1 deciding factor for consumers when purchasing a rosé.
So how do we balance the visual component, aromatics, and flavours of our rosé? It all starts in the vineyard.
Sections of each of our Merlot vineyards are marked off by our winemakers and viticulture team based on taste and quality. They are seeking the most vibrant and expressive grapes amongst the blocks.
When selections have been made, sugars and acidity are monitored closely and picked once flavour and chemistry are both at their best. All grapes are harvested by hand through a meticulous process to leave behind a portion of this top-tier fruit for our red wine Merlot. With this, our vineyard team will go through and cut every other bunch of grapes off the vine. The remaining bunches will be left to ripen to a higher sugar level with more developed colour in the skin.
With a Rosé wine, your pink hue comes from the skins of the grapes. Often times you’ll hear winemakers discuss skin contact time for their rosé’s. For us, we consider our skin contact time to begin the moment the grapes are cut from the vine. This is a critical time in the making of this wine.
Only picked early in the morning between 5am and 10am, rosé grapes will arrive in the winery at 13-15 degrees Celsius before they are gently de-stemmed and loaded into the press. On average, the time from vine to press is just 60 minutes. These low temps and quick processing times are critical in colour development and the overall quality of the wine.
After a slow and delicate press, the juice is left to settle in a chilled stainless steel tank for 24 hours. Crystal clear juice is then racked off the sediment at the bottom of the tank to another stainless steel tank where a long and cold ferment will begin. Keeping this fermentation around 12-14 degrees is critical in protecting all of those elegant and expressive aroma compounds that make our rosé so special.
Following ferment, the wine will remain in stainless steel atop the fine lees for typically 6-12 weeks. The timeline here is determined by the winemaker, as this time in tank can greatly help in structure and mouthfeel within the wine.
Crafting the perfect rosé really is an art. Experience for yourself with a case of our 2022 Merlot Rosé HERE.