Wine & Spirits

Wine & spirits: Blending and bleeding

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Wine & Spirits

Wine & spirits: Blending and bleeding

Rosé wines can be produced in several ways. The two most common are blending and bleeding. Blending involves carefully mixing a small amount of red wine into white. The more red you add, the darker the hue. Most generic pink wines and rosé champagnes are produced this way to achieve a consistent colour from year to year.

Bleeding is an increasingly popular method, which uses only red grapes. Red wine production requires several days for all of the grapes' pigments to be released into the wine. For rosés, producers will “bleed off” a small portion of the wine within a few hours after crushing the grapes. At that point only a minimal amount of colour has leached into the wine, giving it the palest pink tinge. Wines produced this way may be called blanc de noirs, vin gris or rosé de saignée. Meanwhile, the remaining red wine in the tank benefits from a disproportionate percentage of skin to juice, resulting in an ultra-dark, ultra-concentrated red.

Winemakers like this process because it permits them to make wine from one variety (red only) rather than two (a red and a white). This gives them a marketing advantage when labelling since most North Americans prefer to purchase wines by variety rather than region of origin. So, marketing a white Zinfandel or Cabernet rosé is easier than selling a product called Tavel or Lirac or Brampton, for that matter.

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Wine & Spirits

Wine & spirits: Blending and bleeding