A Rosé for Every Palate from the Lake Chelan Wine Valley
Spring and summer are synonymous with rosé season — and for good reason! As temperatures rise, there’s nothing quite like that first cool sip of the refreshing beverage to put you in a sunny state of mind.
Rosé has pushed past its syrupy sweet reputation to skyrocket in popularity over the course of the past decade. You can find it in every hue of pink with light and full bodied, and dry to sweet options.
From a winemaker’s point of view, there are four distinct ways to produce rosé wines, and a wide range of rosé wine types expressed through many different wine varietals.
Here we’ll review the distinguishing characteristics between the four main types of rosé, and what to know about rosé wine in the Lake Chelan Wine Valley.
How is Rosé Wine Made?
The final product of rosé you’ll experience is largely dependent on the grape varietal and how it was produced. There are four primary methods of producing rosé wine:
Saignée is French for “bleed” and refers to a specific method for producing rosé.
With the saignée style, red wine grapes are picked and crushed at peak harvest, allowed to ferment for a short period of time (2 hours to 2 days). Then, a portion of the juice is siphoned into its own vessel to finish fermentation as rosé.
Saignée-style rosé is typically bolder, darker, and stronger than other styles of rosé.
Fun fact: all juice pressed from grapes is clear, regardless of if they are red or white varietals!
With maceration, rosé gets its blush color via skin contact from red wine grapes. After the juice is pressed, the red wine skins are left in with the juice for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to achieve the desired hue and complexity. The longer the skins are left on, the darker and richer the rosé will be.
Direct press is nearly identical to maceration, except that once the juice is pressed from the red grape skins, it is drained off the skins almost immediately. This results in just enough color to achieve rosé’s signature pink hue.
Another way to create rosé wine is simply by blending white and red wines, typically with a small percentage of red wine added.
Rosés of the Lake Chelan Wine Valley
Here are just a few examples of the common types of rosé wine you’ll find in the Lake Chelan Wine Valley. Rosé options are as diverse as the wineries themselves, so you can find everything from single-varietal rosés to sumptuous blends of the best grapes the valley has to offer.
The Lake Chelan Wine Valley is known for growing some of the best Syrah in the state. This certainly transfers to the rosé expressions of this varietal.
Syrah rosé is typically more bold and can exhibit flavors of white pepper, green olive, strawberry, and cherry.
Grenache rosé is typically fuller bodied and characterized by high acidity. With notes of strawberry, orange, hibiscus, and allspice, Grenache rosé is a zesty and refreshing patio sipper.
Pinot Noir Rosé
Delicate and fruity, Pinot Noir is a popular choice for rosé wines across the Lake Chelan Wine Valley. Look for notes of crabapple, watermelon, raspberries, strawberries, and wet stone.
Crisp, cool, and dry, Pinot Noir rosé is brightly acidic and pairs perfectly with a fresh crab dinner.
Known to be a more savory expression of rosé, Tempranillo rosé typically has notes of green peppercorn, watermelon, strawberry, and even toasty accents depending on whether they are oak aged.
Tempranillo rosé is typically more tannic (or “mouth drying”) and makes a great pairing to barbecued meats.
Enjoy a Rosé Tour This Summer
Photo captured by: Richard Duval
Many of the wineries release their new rosés for the year as early as April, making this a perfect way to usher in the summer season. Before your next visit, take note of happenings in the valley so you can experience the newest releases!