How is Rosé Champagne Made?

What’s more fun than a bottle of Champagne? A pink bottle of Champagne, of course. Rosé Champagne has skyrocketed in popularity over the last few decades. To be honest, we’re not entirely surprised. With its pale pink color, its delicate bubbles, and its crisp, clean flavors that coat your mouth and tingle upon your tongue into a long-lasting finish, who wouldn’t want to be drinking such a gorgeous beverage?

But how exactly does rosé Champagne get that gorgeous, salmon color? By mixing red and white, of course. To make Champagne, winemakers are allowed to use the following three grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, the last two of which are red grapes. Champagne is usually white because the flesh and juice inside red grapes are free of pigment, so once the grapes are pressed and removed from the skins, the final product is white. In the Champagne region, many of these red wine grapes are harvested to produce still red wines, which are then added to the sparkling wine to create a lightly pigmented sparkling rosé. Though light in color, these wines are often more powerful in flavor than your regular Champagne, thanks to the punch packed by the still red wine. Winemakers generally blend 15 percent of still red wine into the final sparkling rosé wine production.

Another way that rosé Champagne is produced is via the saignée method, a winemaking process commonly used around the world to create still rosés. This process involves allowing the must to undergo minimal skin contact, generally for only a couple of hours. This minimal maceration allows the must to develop stronger aromas and flavor profiles while deepening the color. “Saignée” literally translates to “bleeding,” which is essentially what the skins are doing for the juice.

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Do not be fooled by the term “blanc de noirs,” though. Literally translating to “white from black,” these Champagnes are produced using only red (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) grapes. However, the skin contact here is usually absent or extremely minimal. Blanc de noirs wines are not considered rosé Champagnes, even if their pigment is somewhat grayer or darker than your regular sparkling.