How is rosé wine produced?

Rosé wine has certainly gained a lot of popularity in recent times. There are more and more wineries coming up with their versions of this versatile and pleasant wine. In fact, there are different ways of making it and, of course, the results can vary a lot.

Of the several ways there are, let’s explore the most common ones, but first let’s understand all the issues involved.

Method 1

The colour is the result of how long the skins of a red grape variety stay in contact with the liquid part of the must. This is known as the maceration process. Wine makers can simply decide for a different maceration time to obtain a different depth of colour. The skins of grapes are also where 95% of aroma and taste come from. Thus, a richer colour will typically coincide also with a greater intensity of aroma and taste, making a similar wine more suitable for accompanying food. Wine, of course, is not just colour, aroma and taste. Body also plays an important role and alcohol is therefore a critical issue. Last, but not least, balance is of the utmost importance. To create balance, acidity will also be something that winemakers need to consider with attention.

Method 2

There is another method commonly used to make a rosé wine. It is to simply start making a red wine with perfectly ripened red grapes, sometime also blended with some white varieties, but cutting the maceration short by separating the skins from the liquid at an early stage – this could be after just a couple of hours or after a whole day – and then continuing with a vinification process like for a white wine.

In another instance, the grapes used for producing a rosé are picked some days before they reach full maturation and again using a quick maceration process. In this case the resulting wine will be lighter in body, as the lower sugar concentration of not fully ripened grapes will give a lower concentration of alcohol. Not only, the acidity level will be higher, and this will give the wine an even fresher character. This approach to making a rosé is often preferred to make a wine that is best enjoyed as an aperitive, rather than to accompany a meal.

Method 3

The third most common way of making a rosé is to “bleed” part of the liquid of a red wine must after a short time of maceration, transferring this liquid in a different container to complete the fermentation process. This last method is often used also to gain concentration in the red wine, as by removing part of the liquid means to increase the amount of solid parts in the initial container where the aim is usually to obtain a full body red, and at the same time ending up with a rosé that will usually have a fairly important alcohol level and therefore very good also with food. Quite often, rosé wines made with this “bleeding” method are a perfect substitute for red wine in summer when we are dealing with a dish that would normally call for red wine pairing, but the climate is so hot that even the idea of drinking a red wine sounds too heavy. In this case, such a rosé will come to the rescue, offering a suitable structure with a fresher and lighter character.

Central Tuscany is famous for red wine, so it is no surprise that most farms grow only red varieties, especially since the beginning of the Millennium, when the historical recipe for Chianti wine was modified by removing the possibility of including a small percentage of local white varieties in the blend. Climate though is changing, and our summers have been getting warmer, so many local producers have chosen to expand their range of wines to include something lighter and fresher by using the red varieties and make a rosé and thus responding to the increasing demand for this type of wine.

Many of the wineries we visit with our tours make a rosé, mostly using the typical local variety: Sangiovese. Each one though is different, and trying them all is not only fascinating, but also extremely fun and pleasant!

Montalbino winery

Montespertoli is a small town in the hills South-West of Florence. The surrounding countryside represents the smallest and youngest DOCG subzone of the greater Chianti wine production area. Only 15 wineries belongs to this consortium. Montalbino is the one we are going to discover today.


A little bit of their history

Montalbino winery is part of the farm owned by the Tinacci family since the early 90’s. In 2015, the middle son Giulio decided to dedicate himself to the vineyards of the estate that his father had no interest in and had rented out until then. He started by working with the existing older vines. He then planted some new ones, rigorously indigenous varieties, and now has a total of 5 hectares of vineyards. In fact, when visiting Montalbino winery, the first thing that Giulio likes to do is to take his guests for a stroll through the vineyards. He explains all the work and selection operations that are required to manage the vines and obtain the best grapes. During this walk his passion and dedication stand right out and build up the right atmosphere and curiosity to taste and discover his wines.

Montalbino wines

At present he is making four wines. The most important is the Chianti Montespertoli DOCG, a blend of Sangiovese with a small percentage of Canaiolo and Colorino. This wine is vinificated and aged entirely in stainless steel vats. It is then aged in the bottle for several months before its release. The lack of aging in wooden barrels keeps this red wine incredibly fruity and fresh. In this wine black cherries are the underlying flavour throughout, with also a good dose of sapidity that would invite anybody to pair it with all the typical Tuscan food. Perfect matches are cold cuts to cheese, meat, but also soups, pasta and vegetables. In spite of the young age – this wine is released when it is about 2 years old – it offers also a very soft and round character.


The other red wine produced is called Montalbino rosso. Now, this is the blend of all the indigenous red varieties that Giulio planted: Fogliatonda, which is the biggest percentage, with also Canaiolo, Colorino and Sangiovese. This wine is in my opinion the one that best represents Giulio: pleasantly young and genuine. Fruity and floral to the nose, extremely soft and drinkable in the mouth. This wine is excellent to accompany meals, but it feels light enough to be enjoyed also as an aperitive. It is the perfect match with the fresh fava beans (baccelli) and young pecorino cheese, very typical in summer. It is no surprise that it gained the recognition as “Top Daily Wine” by Slow Wine.

The white and rosé

To complete his “quartet”, Giulio produces also a white and a rosé. His white is a pure Trebbiano di Toscana. Like the others, it is made using only stainless-steel containers. The batonage operated during the vinification gives this white wine a very round character that complements its acidity, making it a great wine both to accompany meals, and also to be enjoyed alone.

The rosé is the result of an early harvest of Sangiovese grapes, to maintain this wine fresher and lighter. A short cold maceration gives this wine a very light salmon-pink hue. Like all of Giulio’s wines, this too is a winner for freshness and pleasantness. It’s lighter alcohol content makes a perfect aperitive and it would be impossible not to finish the bottle without even realizing!

All in all, at Montabino, you will find wines that are as fresh and youthful as their maker Giulio, but also tightly connected to the history and tradition of the area, through the use of the older Tuscan varieties and you will be able to perceive the perfect link between the future, present and past. It will be very interesting, in the future, to see how everything will mature and evolve.

Poggio al chiuso, fratelli

Poggio al Chiuso winery

Along the old Roman road Cassia, as one approaches the town of Tavarnelle, on a hill overlooking the Pesa Valley, we find the old cellar where everything started for the Poggio al Chiuso winery.

Nowadays it is run by the three Corti brothers: Marco, Matteo and Andrea, who each contributes his own peculiar skills to the continuation and development of this family business that their great-grand father Narciso started back in the 30’s.

During our visits to this winery, Andrea, the youngest of the three, is the one who welcomes you and guides you through the old vineyard and olive grove, and the cellar, while telling you about the history of the winery and introducing the wines that you will later try in the tasting room.

With the eight hectares of vineyard that surround the family home, situated just a few kilometers away from the main cellar, they produce six different wines and, of course, Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

The reds include a Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG, made in a very traditional way; this wine is a blend of local varieties only – Sangiovese and Canaiolo. After fermentation, it is left to mature in the traditional concrete vats, to preserve all the typical characteristics of the grapes used and become a very pleasant and direct wine. It is a perfect expression of a genuine Tuscan wine, suitable for all food occasions, from a simple picnic to a full course meal. If you are after something that offers more body and complexity, then it would be hard to decide between Le Cappelle, a pure Sangiovese, and Voltaccia 49, a pure Merlot. Both these wines have gained important award recognitions. They are aged in French oak barrels of 500L and left to refine in the bottle before their release on the market, when they are already fully enjoyable with richer meals, or just tasty cheese, but also offering good potential of evolution with further ageing to become good meditation wines.

In addition to these, for something light and fresh, there are also the three Voltaccino versions: white, red and rosé.

Poggio al Chiuso is a place where tradition and innovation are perfectly combined together. By listening to Andrea, you can immediately sense both the energy of the young generation approach to wine making, as well as the great respect they have for tradition, which they treasure and exploit to come up with very interesting and innovative ideas. The best example of this is evident during the visit to the cellar, when you see the bottles of their first production of a sparkling wine, made by the traditional blend used for Chianti – Sangiovese and Canaiolo – and applying the Champenoise method.

Unfortunately this first production will not be ready for tasting until 2023, but this is definitely a great reason to keep in touch with them, while enjoying what is already available to keep our palates entertained!

Renzo Marinai winery

Renzo Marinai winery

As you arrive at Renzo Marinai winery, you feel immediately immersed in history. This small farm locates on a hill right in the middle of the Conca d’Oro. This area is the geographical centre of Chianti, famous for the superior quality of its wines. The old central tower that dates to 1163 dominates the charming stone buildings of the winery. It is used now as part of the aging cellar where oak barrels of different sizes are stacked and wine rests with the sound of Mozart in the background.

The winery

The buildings are in the centre of the property where 8 hectares of vineyard alternate with olive groves and forest giving the visitors spectacular view to enjoy all around. The varieties grown are for the most part Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. They grow and use other less famous local varieties, like Canaiolo, Colorino, Foglia Tonda, Ciliegiolo, Mammolo and Pugnitello.

This is the charming atmosphere that permeates right through the place. A visit here means that you will meet Angela who will show you through the cellars while explaining the long history of the area and of the winery. She will then lead you into the tasting room and here the wines will start their show.

Their wines

Both Chianti Classico and the Riserva are a blend of Sangiovese with 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon, which gives the typical trait of Renzo Marinai’s wines: full body and fruitiness. The Riserva though, thanks to a more extensive aging in the barrels, also offers greater complexity and smoother tannins. The Chianti Classico Gran Selezione completes the Chianti family. It is a pure Sangiovese, a real thoroughbred obtained from carefully selected bunches. This wine is a great expression of the personality that this variety acquires in time. It is excellent with a rich meat dish and, if left to rest in the bottle for some years, it can also become a wonderful meditation wine to enjoy alone.

All three Chianti wines of Renzo Marinai are ideal for those who tend to prefer bolder wines to match with food.

One of the other red wines produced is Guerrante, a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has ripe fruit aromas that support spicy and leathery notes and characterized by considerably smooth tannins.

Kadar is the name of a very special wine. It combines the rarer Tuscan varieties grown on the property. These grapes ferments and macerates directly in an oak barrel for 6 month. After pressing, the wine is first stored in large glass vessels for one year and then bottled. It is a real unique wine: complex, smooth but extremely fruity and fresh. Ideal for drinking alone. Finally, Conca d’Oro, the pure Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is one of the best interpretations of this wonderful location in the heart of Tuscany and tops a selection of wines that make a visit to Renzo Marinai winery a must for all Cabernet lovers.

We would love to take you there to enjoy these wonderful wines in such a charming historical setting and surrounded by breath-taking view. Don’t miss out!


Solatione winery

Solatione winery

I’m very happy today to talk about one the many excellences that enrich the special network of boutique wineries that you can visit on our tours. We’re talking about Solatione winery. We have been working with Solatione winery for well over a decade now. It is no surprise if every time we take someone there, it feels like taking them to visit family.

The history of Solatione winery

Like most small wineries, Solatione is a family run business. Renato Giachi started the farm at the beginning of the 70’s, planting the 6 hectares of vineyard with the typical local varieties: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Colorino, Trebbiano and Malvasia. Now, his children, Fabio and Francesca run the farm. Well, they have been at it for over twenty years and doing a great job at keeping the reputation of this winery at the highest levels.

Fabio is one the hardest and most dedicated workers you could meet. He carries out all the work in the fields and in the cellar, where he spends entire days. Francesca, his sister, is in charge of all the office work and hospitality. When guests arrive, she’s the one to welcome them and take them through the property for a visit of the vineyard. The winery is situated on the top of a hill that dominates the Greve valley. It offers a spectacular view of the surroundings. Then she’ll follow with a visit to the cellar before sitting down in the beautiful tasting room. Here she will delight them with the tasting of their superb wines while entertaining not only with technical descriptions, but also with anecdotes and answers to all the questions.

Solatione’s wines – Chianti wines

Initially, Renato used to produce only Chianti Classico and sold it bulk to the bigger local producers. In 1992, he started bottling his wine with the Solatione label. In time the production extended to include Merlot grapes and Supertuscan wines. So, let’s look at them!

The tasting always starts with the basic Chianti Classico, a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and a small percentage of Canaiolo and Colorino. This wine has extreme elegance and never fails to surprise people who taste it for the first time with its fruitiness and freshness, supported by a sturdy and well-balanced structure that lets this wine age in the bottle even twenty years! It is the perfect treat for everyday meals.

Next, the Chianti Classico Riserva: in this case the blend includes only Sangiovese and Merlot. The result is equally impressive. Deeper colour, amazingly intense aroma and taste, rich with tannins that caress your palate and let you enjoy the dark fruit taste endlessly. It is ideal for rich Sunday roasts and aged cheese. This wine, if you resist the temptation of drinking it all before, is ideal for aging in the bottle for up to thirty years.

Solatione’s wines – Supertuscan wines

Looking now at the Supertuscan wines, we find Rossombroso and Sololui. Rossombroso is a pure Merlot with a brilliant ruby red colour. A wine that likes to keep the drinker entertained. Its ever-changing aroma and taste will first allure with ripe berries and then trap you with the myriad of spices that it’s capable of expressing as it breathes in the glass. Excellent with rich stews, but also alone, or with dark chocolate.

Last, but not least, Sololui is the latest addition to the Solatione family of wines since 1917. In this case the solo performer is Sangiovese, specially selected and aged in medium size French oak barrels for 24 months. The result is a complex and sombre wine that is best enjoyed with rich meat dishes, truffle and aged cheese.

Like all Solatione wines, these two are also ideal for wine collectors, with an aging potential of over thirty years. But then, why should we wait so long to enjoy these beauties?!

The superb quality and character of their wines certainly make a visit to Solatione winery a must for all wine enthusiasts, who will also enjoy the friendly personality of Francesca and the sheer beauty of the location. So, what are you waiting for? Let us take you to Solatione!