With rosé season upon us, I thought it appropriate to feature the word saignée as our latest Wine Word of the Week. This French term, which literally means “to bleed,” refers to bleeding off juice during the early stages of red wine fermentation. This is done primarily for two reasons: (1) to concentrate the aromas and flavors of the finished red wine, and (2) the excess pink juice is used to make rosé.
Winemakers from regions like Provence who specialize in rosé production, however, tend to frown upon this winemaking method. They consider rosé produced using the saignée method an “afterthought” and simply a byproduct of red wine production. In contrast, Provençal rosés are made from grapes grown specifically for that purpose that get their color through maceration, a period of deliberate skin contact between the juice and the grape skins. Stylistically, Provençal rosés are often more delicate in flavor and lighter in color than those made using the saignée method, which are typically deeper in color with more robust aromas and flavors.
I hope you enjoyed our latest Wine Word of the Week and to see previous installments, please click here. If there’s a wine word you’d like to learn more about, please leave it in the comment section below!