A rosé by any other name…

… would taste as sweet?! But at Somerled, we prefer them delicate and dry!

If there are a million ways to make a red wine, there are a billion ways to make a rosé. (Fact). Why?

Firstly, you can use ANY red wine grape

In Australia, the more common varietals used to make Rosé include shiraz, pinot noir and grenache. But also, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Rob has used sangiovese to great effect in the past, but he absolutely favours that gorgeous perfume of pinot noir. Each carries its own flavour profile – cherry, perfumed, mulberry – just like the big reds.

Secondly, there are several ways to make it


Mix a red and white wine together and what do you get? A crudely made and not necessarily fabulous tasting rosé! This method is generally frowned upon.

Saignée (‘san-yay’) method

Rosé can also be made using the Saignée, or ‘bleed’ method. This involves ‘bleeding off’ a portion of the juice into a separate vat to finish fermentation. The remainder goes on to make red wine.


When making big red wines, winemakers will crush, press right down and leave that juice on skins for days. They want maximum flavour, tannin and colour.

To make a rosé in this way, you simply need to leave it ‘on skins’ for a shorter period of time. But how long? Rob likes his Rosé fine, soft and pale – so he can’t have it pressed for too long or there will be too much tannin in the resulting wine. It is only ever in contact with the skins for a couple of hours. Others like to press for ages (up to 24 hours) and come up with a darker, more tannic version.

Thirdly – sugar

Rob ferments his right down so it’s bone dry, like the French. But with rosé in Australia, there has been a longstanding trend to stop fermentation before it finishes so that not all sugar is fermented – and you are left with a sweeter wine which can be appealing to young drinkers.


The permutations in the way these three aspects can be approached are endless. Of course .. if you’d like to try an Adelaide Hills Trophy Winner .. best order some of ours! (Shameless) (But true).

2 thoughts on “A rosé by any other name…”

  1. Hi Maree,

    I just caught up on all the blogs I have missed recently, while I’m stuck at home with a cold, and have enjoyed them all.

    Thanks for the weekly posts, and I’ll look forward to next weeks blog now, like a kid waiting for the postman, like we did in the old days 😉

    Cheers, Bob

    1. Hi Bob… sorry to hear about the cold, but glad it gave you an excuse to catch up on some important reading! I still experience that excitement re. the postie. It may have something to do with all the online shopping I do though!

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