Colour of Wines: Rosé wines

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

These wines, which vary enormously in hue and intensity, owe their combination of pink colour and white wine characteristics either to a very short skin contact with dark-skinned grapes, or, for some everyday wines and pink sparkling wines, to the blending of red and white wines. The proportions of anthocyanins, hydroxycinnamic acids, and tannins in the wine, depending on the grape variety and winemaking process, influence the pigment composition and thus the colour. In addition, wines that are pale bluish pink are likely to be the results of protective techniques, while those with an orange tinge may well have been exposed to some, possibly deliberate, oxidation. While a blindfolded taster can in some circumstances find it difficult to distinguish between low-tannin red wines and fuller-bodied white wines, it can be almost impossible on the basis of taste alone to distinguish a rosé wine from a white one.