Rosé in red and white

Champagne is the only region where red and white wines can be blended to make a rosé. (Photo: YouTube – WindDownWithWine)

Can French rosé be produced by blending red and white grapes? My article a few weeks ago in which I said Champagne makers had often told me pink Champagne is the only French rosé that can be made by blending red and white wines, sparked several responses. Some pointed out that there are southern French rosés whose makers publicly admit to blending.

In other regions, it is permitted to co-ferment red and white grapes but not to blend them after fermentation.

After speaking to the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) and French winemakers, it seems that Champagne is the only region where red and white wines can be blended to make a rosé. In other regions, it is permitted to co-ferment red and white grapes but not to blend them after fermentation.

Jean Claude Mas, who produces Arrogant Frog and Domaine Paul Mas wines in the Languedoc, said:

“We can have up to 30% rolle (vermentino); we can co-ferment the grapes but not blend the wine later.”

Brigitte Batonnet of the CIVC quoted the French law:

“The Decree n° 2012-655 dated May 4, 2012 about wine labelling and oenological practices states in article 17:

‘… For the wines produced in France, the blending of white wines with red or pink wines cannot be used to produce a rosé wine, except for sparkling wines.’

“We know it is sometimes done in Provence but it is illegal and we have already read about legal proceedings in some cases.”

In Australia, there is no such regulation and our winemakers habitually blend red and white wines to make rosé. You might argue the best rosés are made from red grapes only, or by co-fermenting red with some white grapes, but I must admit I can’t see why it’s not allowed everywhere.

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