I can't think of a great meal without a great wine to accompany. Hubby and I enjoy red wines, particularly port and rose. Wine brings out the flavour in foods (and sometimes adds zest to your guests!) A rose wine has some of the color typical of a red wine, but only enough to turn it pink. The pink color can range from a pale orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grapes and wine making techniques
The first is used when rose wine is the primary product. Red-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically two or three days. The grapes are then pressed, and the skins are discarded rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). The skins contain much of the strongly flavored tannin and other compounds, which leaves the taste more similar to a white wine. The longer that the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the color of the final wine.
Saignée, or bleeding, is used when the winemaker desires to impart more tannin and color to a red wine, and removes some pink juice from the must at an early stage, in a process known as bleeding the vats. The removed juice is then fermented separately, producing the rose as a by-product of the red wine, which is intensified as a result of the bleeding, because the volume of juice in the must is reduced, and the must involved in the maceration is concentrated.
Blending, the simple mixing of red wine to a white to impart color, is uncommon. This method is discouraged in most wine growing regions now except for Champagne. Even in Champagne, many producers do not use this method.
Historically rose was quite a delicate, dry wine, exemplified by Anjou rose from the Loire. In fact the original claret was a pale ('clairet') wine from Bordeaux that would probably now be described as a rose. Weißherbst is a type of German rose made from only one variety of grape.
After the Second World War, there was a fashion for medium-sweet roses for mass-market consumption, the classic examples being Mateus rose and the American "blush" wines of the 1970's. The pendulum now seems to be swinging back towards a drier, 'bigger' style. These wines are made from Rhone grapes like Syrah, Grenache and Carignan in hotter regions such as Provence, the Languedoc and Australia. In France, rose has now exceeded white wines in sales. In the United States a record 2005 California crop has resulted in an increased production and proliferation of varietals used for roses, as winemakers chose to make rose rather than leave their reds unsold.
In the early 1970s, demand for white wine exceeded the availability of white wine grapes, so many California producers made "white" wine from red grapes, in a form of saignée production with minimal skin contact, the "whiter" the better. In 1975 Sutter Home's "White Zinfandel" wine experienced a stuck fermentation, a problem in which the yeast dies off before all the sugar is turned to alcohol. Winemaker Bob Trinchero put it aside for two weeks, then upon tasting it he decided to sell this pinker, sweeter wine.
In 1976, wine writer Jerry D. Mead visited Mill Creek Vineyards in Sonoma County, California. Charlie Kreck had been one of the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon vines in California, and offered Mead a wine made from Cabernet that was a pale pink and as yet unnamed. Kreck would not call it "White Cabernet" as it was much darker in colour than red grape "white" wines of the time, yet it was not as dark as the roses he had known. Mead jokingly suggested the name "Cabernet Blush", then that evening phoned Kreck to say that he no longer thought the name a joke. In 1978 Kreck trademarked the word "Blush". The name caught on as a marketing name for the semi-sweet wines from producers such as Sutter Home and Beringer, although Mill Creek no longer produce any rose wine.
The term "blush" is generally restricted to wines sold in North America, although it is sometimes used in Australia and by Italian Primitivo wines hoping to cash in on the recently discovered genetic links between Primitivo and Zinfandel. Although "blush" originally referred to a colour (pale pink), it now tends to indicate a relatively sweet pink wine, typically with 2.5% residual sugar; in North America dry pink wines are usually marketed as rose but sometimes as blush. In Europe almost all pink wines are referred to as rose regardless of sugar levels, even semi-sweet ones from California.