How is rosé wine made in Provence?

Rosé wine in Provence is made using red grapes, serious timing and oodles of expertise. Interestingly, Provence rosé started life as a by-product of red wine. It was originally made by bleeding off the pale juice so that the rest of the tank would create a more concentrated red wine. This rosé was served to happy tourists during summer months. But in the last few decades a new, sophisticated elixir has taken shape and is gaining popularity around the world as a fabulous all-year-round wine. A delicious aperitif but with its light tannins and fresh acidity, it’s brilliant paired with food.

All things popular are prone to crass reproduction, so there are very strict rules governing the making of Provence rosés.

First of all, it’s an absolute no-no to blend red and white wines together. The winemaker is permitted to add a small percentage of white grapes (up to 15%) to the red grapes before pressing, which is sometimes done if the red grapes are too ripe where the colour would leach too quickly, which is the same reason why grape harvesting and wine making are done at low temperatures. In fact, rosé wine is one of the most technical wines to make.

Secondly, no sugar is allowed to be added and the residual sugar from the grapes has to be less than 4 grammes per litre, which explains why our wines are so fruity and yet deliciously dry.

Rosé is made in a different way in different parts of the world. Here in Provence, we make it one way using primarily red grapes. We pick the grapes when they’re ripe, bring them into the winery. We press them and leave the juice in contact with the skins for just a few hours so the colour, flavour and some of the tannins pass from the skins to the juice, leaving a lovely pale colour.

Then you take the juice away from the skins and you ferment it. Once this fermentation has happened, you end up with this beautiful bone-dry, in the case of Provence, rosé which we then clarify, stabilise and put into bottles. Et voila!

In this video, Stephen enlists a little help from some small people to demonstrate how we make Mirabeau Provence rosé wine.

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