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Discover the rosé you'll love, but beware of knock-offs

Mother's Day is the first official day of the summer Rosé frenzy. Refreshing, pleasant, and easy to drink, rosé is a must-have for summer days. But how do you know which rosé to buy? The color, the label, or the price?

Let's keep it simple. Rosé is made from the juice of a red grape that has spent a short time in contact with its skins. The result is a slight coloring of the wine from this process. If the definition ended with that, our marital relationship with rosé would be much easier. But there are buts, because the procedures are diverse and more or less honest or deviant, in other words almost dishonest. It is therefore important to take a closer look at what you decide to consume.


The first process is called "vin Gris de rosé" or "direct press wine", which consists of extracting the juice from the whole bunches of grapes by the action of direct flow of the juice from the press. The color of the rosé will depend on the speed, and the pressure imposed by the press. This technique is used for grapes with black and thick skin from hot climates, in order to avoid a large extraction of tannins and a loss of acidity.

The wine will be very pale pink, almost grey. With a beautiful acidity, great freshness, and a low alcohol level. These are wines that should be drunk young. Ideal for appetizers, white fish, and summer salads.


The second process is called, "Rosé de saigné". It consists of filling a vat with grapes and its musts and then leaving the drain valve open, which allows the juice to flow before complete fermentation of the musts. The first run-off juices are higher in fructose (sugar) which will make slightly pink wines with a higher alcohol content. The pink is more pronounced, it is called "Salmon".

Aromas of citrus (grapefruits) and red fruits will start to be more present, and the tannin rate (color) will make the wine a little less crisp and refreshing, but fuller in the mouth. These are wines that can be kept for a few years. They’re ideal with cold cuts, cheeses, roast chicken, or tomato salad.


Another process is called "vat rosé" or "short fermentation rose on the skin". All the grapes are crushed, and the musts and skins are fermented in a vat. After 12 to 48 hours (usually 24 hours) the fermenting juice is separated (pumped) from the skins and musts.

The result is very expressive wines, powerful romantically, with more accentuated tannins, and a deeper color, sometimes even close to orange. This makes rosés powerful in aromas, with fruitier notes (sensation of sugar), and more tannic. These could sometimes join the “Chillable Reds” family. These would be ideal in situations where you would have chosen a light red wine. In general, these wines are produced with lightly colored red grapes (such as Pinot Noir), and therefore with less aggressive tannins, and so are easier to control.


Finally, the rosé wines 'Assemblage' or 'Blend'. These are completely fermented white wines to which red wine is added. This process makes it possible to control alcohol, tannin, aromatics (mixture of white and red fruits), color, and an increase residual sugars. This process is normally permitted and used only for sparkling wines. But in the new world of wine, where you can "live free or die", everything is allowed, so why not? If only for you the price, the label, and the color count. These wines are extremely unstable and must be consumed very quickly, they are not wines for ageing.

Beware rosé knock-offs

The lure of profit on the rosé market may push a certain unscrupulous wine producer to handle their wines with the same recipe as that of the Big Mc, "It needs to be delicious, no matter what!" Chemistry, coloring, manipulations—it is not uncommon to find more than 30 residual chemicals and health toxins in this family of wines.

But then how do you recognize them?

These are often very inexpensive (less than $15) very intense in color, often of a very "Barbie" pink, with aromatics of "gummy bear" and notes of "sweet cheap perfume". So, I recommend that you don't consume them. Because there is always a price to pay when you play with the devil.

So what to buy?

Support real winemakers, ecological, natural, biodynamic, or regenerative practical wines. These rosé wines are often less colorful. But so good and healthy for you. Be attracted by wines of a very pale, almost grey pink.

Our Rosés in Bonde (from direct press):

The Language of Yes, "Le Cerisier" Rosé 2022, Central Coast, CA

Pale pink and fragrant with Meyer lemon, strawberry and cucumber water, orange water cream, white flowers, and roses. Body, structure, and fatness on the palate. To fully appreciate it, this wine should be served at around 55F—if it's too chilled, the flavors and aromas won't fully express themselves. $42


J.C.Somers, Whole Lotta Rosé 2021, Garnier Vineyard, Carlton, Willamette Valley, OR

Barely pink at all. Aromas of sour cherry, red raspberry, cranberry, wet stone & minerality. Dry, delicate, and delicious. Exclusive to Bonde. $22.


Liquid Farm, Rose 2022, Vogelzang Vineyard, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, CA

Pale salmon. Aromas of white peach, apricot, tea leaves, mandarin orange, and river rock. Crisp, clean, refreshing. $29


Tablas Creek, Patelin de Tablas Rosé 2022, Paso Robles, Central Coast, CA

Pale peach. Light and heady with notes of cherry blossom, strawberry, stone fruit, mandarin orange, and minerality. Smooth, round, and juicy, with a lingering minerality on the finish. $30.

These are all opened for sample and available for purchase at the shop—come taste their magnificence!