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Maria Samms

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Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Maria Samms » Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:57 pm

Hello all,

I need your help yet again...what's the difference between a Rosé and a Blush wine. Are Rosés always blends or are they sometimes one varietal where the skins have made less contact? How pink do they need to be to be called a Rosé? Thanks in advance for you info!
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Hoke » Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:06 pm

No precise definition, Maria.

Any shade of pink can make a wine rose---as long as you want to call it that. A rose should be, basically, a red-skinned grape with brief skin contact made in the style of a white wine.

A rose can be made from one variety (Syrah Rose, Rose of Sangiovese, etc.) or can be made out of any blend you want to use as your house style. Again, red-skinned grapes with a little color from short skin contact, then made as a white wine.

Difference between blush and rose: it was called rose, then when they came out with White Zinfandel, which moved quickly toward a sweet, fruity style (might surprise you to know that the first White Zins tended to be full bodied and dry, and they weren't particularly popular; then they got sweeter and took off as a category) they called it "Blush", as a softer buzz word to let people know it was sweetish and "soft".

When winemakers started trumpeting their dry rose styles, they resurrected the name to differentiate between the "Blush" category. But again, no specific precise definitions.

That do it?
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Howie Hart » Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:37 pm

Hoke wrote:No precise definition, Maria.

Any shade of pink can make a wine rose---as long as you want to call it that. A rose should be, basically, a red-skinned grape with brief skin contact made in the style of a white wine.
I agree with Hoke on the "should be" part, and I believe it is actually "law" in some places, but not in the USA. White grapes are sometimes blended with black grapes. This past year I made two very different Roses. The first was made with a labrusca type table grape called Steuben, however, even though the grape has a dark color, not much gets extracted, so even with extended skin contact (10 days) it is still a Rose. I finished this of-dry with about 1.25% Residual Sugar. I had no intention of making the second one, but I ordered fresh pressed Foch juice from a nearby presshouse. Foch is hybrid and normally a very deeply colored wine. However, heavy September rains last Fall led to harvest problems forcing the presshouse to harvest and press it out under less than ideal conditions, resulting in a juice that that had very little color, and what color was there was orange. To give it some more color and change the hue I added some Leon Millot, another red hybrid and some Vidal, a white hybrid that ripens much later, to soften the acidity and add complexity. I finished this bone dry. It's not Bone Jolly, but it's not bad. It wouldn't surprise me if some commercial wineries do things similar to what I did for similar reasons.
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by John Fiola » Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:13 pm

I would also agree with Hoke, Maria.
In the US - they are basically the same.

Blush - usually means a sweeter such as White Zinfandel, White Merlot and their ilk

Rose - usually means a dry style wine.
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by A.B. Drury » Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:47 pm

Sooo. . . . to-may-to, to-mah-to, then?
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Steve Slatcher » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:36 am

Howie Hart wrote:
Hoke wrote:No precise definition, Maria.

Any shade of pink can make a wine rose---as long as you want to call it that. A rose should be, basically, a red-skinned grape with brief skin contact made in the style of a white wine.
I agree with Hoke on the "should be" part, and I believe it is actually "law" in some places, but not in the USA.

In the EU, "quality" rosé wines cannot be made by mixing red and white wines. With one notable exception - Champage. (A "quality" wine is anything with a classification higher than a table wine, and thus would cover anything labelled with a vintage or a variety.)

In addition to what has been said before in this thread, aren't blush wines usually very pale pink? Rosés can vary a lot in shade. Some are very pale, but recently I've been noticing very deep rosés on the market. To my way of thinking, they border on being a light red wine.
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Peter May » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:14 am

I thought 'blush' was a merketing term used on wines aimed at people who did not know what Rose meant or how to pronounce it.
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Steve Slatcher » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:43 am

Peter May wrote:I thought 'blush' was a merketing term used on wines aimed at people who did not know what Rose meant or how to pronounce it.

Also for those with problems typing "é" ;)
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Thomas » Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:39 am

steve.slatcher wrote:
Howie Hart wrote:
Hoke wrote:No precise definition, Maria.

Any shade of pink can make a wine rose---as long as you want to call it that. A rose should be, basically, a red-skinned grape with brief skin contact made in the style of a white wine.
I agree with Hoke on the "should be" part, and I believe it is actually "law" in some places, but not in the USA.

In the EU, "quality" rosé wines cannot be made by mixing red and white wines. With one notable exception - Champage. (A "quality" wine is anything with a classification higher than a table wine, and thus would cover anything labelled with a vintage or a variety.)

In addition to what has been said before in this thread, aren't blush wines usually very pale pink? Rosés can vary a lot in shade. Some are very pale, but recently I've been noticing very deep rosés on the market. To my way of thinking, they border on being a light red wine.


Steve beat me to it.

Even before EU regulations, the words rose, rosato, rosado, in Europe were used mainly to identify a particular way of producing the pink wine.

In the U.S. no such restrictions applied. Pink is pink any way you want to produce it, except when some yo-yo came out with a pink Riesling.

Steve, the deeper-colored European roses--often Italian and Spanish wines--I believe are because of the product the producer begins with, deep, rich, lush southern regional reds--and possibly slightly longer time bleeding pigment. In the U.S. the shade of blush wines is a proprietary decision made by the producer.
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Peter May » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:32 am

Thomas wrote: Pink is pink any way you want to produce it, except when some yo-yo came out with a pink Riesling.


Just following tradition -- Pink Chablis anyone?
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by David Creighton » Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:23 pm

hi maria - you finally got the real answer from steve. i think you assumed that many of these wines are blends not of various varieties; but of red and white wines. this is basically true only in champagne and there not always. as to the darkness of the color. many european wines seem to me lighter than american ones. i think the 'bigger' phenomenon is at work here - reds have to be bigger and bigger and thus rose's do as well - and the way to do that is by leaving longer contact. sancerre rose is often quite pale.

in addition, there is an important distinction between rose that is made by a bleeding or saigne' of red wine and that which is made from the beginning to be rose. it is possible to 'improve' the color and flavor extraction in red wines by reducing the amount of liquid relative to the skins. this lighter colored wine is a rose but a very specific type. the grapes were picked to BE red wine not rose. by contrast, grapes that are picked to be rose from the beginning would naturally be more like white wine grapes - better acid, lower sugar, etc. the biggest wine i am aware of that was designed to be a rose - and thus violates my assertion above is the rare and interesting rose de ricys - a still rose from the aube region of champagne. best regards; david
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Thomas » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:29 pm

Peter May wrote:
Thomas wrote: Pink is pink any way you want to produce it, except when some yo-yo came out with a pink Riesling.


Just following tradition -- Pink Chablis anyone?


I'd forgotten about that one...must be the same yo-yo.
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Thomas » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:32 pm

Randy R wrote:As a rider to the excellent thread, do any producers artificially (i.e. added neutral ingredient) color their wines?


I suppose you've never heard of "Megapurple?"
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Thomas » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:21 pm

Randy R wrote:Megapurple brings up a lot of pr0n related stuff and the one link related to wine was not working. No, what is megapurple?


A winery wants to get lots of intensity. They leave the grapes hanging for as long as they can get away with it. In the process they get more alcohol than any sane individual would want in a table wine. So they add water back to the fermented wine to lower the alcohol. Now they need to get the color back to snuff. They add a product called Mega Purple.

Trade not-so-secret. One of the things that goes into pricing the end product. Doesn't that make you feel good? ;)

Google: Mega Purple wine, and you should get something.
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Paul Winalski » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:26 pm

Randy R wrote:As a rider to the excellent thread, do any producers artificially (i.e. added neutral ingredient) color their wines?


I have heard that mulberry trees and bushes are banned from the Upper Douro vineyard areas to remove the temptation to add mulberry juice to get better color.

Then there's the practice of adding alicante bouschet to aramon wines in order to boost the color. "Neutral ingredient" certainly applies to the wine in this case, since it's practically odorless and tasteless.

-Paul W.
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Howie Hart » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:59 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:Then there's the practice of adding alicante bouschet to aramon wines in order to boost the color. "Neutral ingredient" certainly applies to the wine in this case, since it's practically odorless and tasteless.

-Paul W.


Then there's (from the Big Winegrape Glossary)
LÉON MILLOT:
(Pronounced "lay-on mee-oh"). Earlier (September) ripening french-american hybrid red wine grape than, although derived from same cross, Marechal Foch below. Also known as Millot. Extensively grown in the Alsace region of France where it is known as "le medicin du vin" (or "wine doctor") for its ability to increase the color intensity of a red wine (eg. Pinot Noir) without perceptibly altering the quality. Also extensively planted in the Northeast and Midwest USA. Some consider the wine to be superior to Foch because of more distinct berry aromas. Best harvested at pH 3.4 and 19+ Brix in warmer climates if Carotene-caused discoloration is to be avoided. Market demand thought to be hampered by lack of name recognition.
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Re: Difference between a Rosé and a Blush (and other Q's)

by Bob Sisak » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:58 am

I remember when Jerry Mead was still alive telling the story of how he had tasted the wines from Mill Creek back about 30 years ago. As he was leaving, they had him taste a wine made from Cab Sauv that was very pale, but not quite a Rose color. Long story short, he suggsted they call it Blush and Mill Creek trademarked the name, and sold the Cabernet Blush for many years. I don't know if it's still around - I haven't seen it in about 10 years. I recall Mill Creek was getting royalties for a number of years from any winery calling their pinkish wines Blush, but I don't think they own the trademark any longer.
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