Of the blood: Meet our 2019 Saignée

With the recent release of our 2019 Granite Belt Saignée, we felt it was the perfect time to give a little bit more background into this exceptional and unique drop. You might notice that unlike our other wines, our Rosé is not named after the varietals which were used to create it. Meaning ‘to bleed’ in French, Saignée (pronounced ‘son-yay’) can also be used to describe a certain style of winemaking. Generally producing wines that are bolder, darker, and richer than your run-of-the-mill rosé, the Saignée method is named as such given the process of ‘bleeding’ red grape skins. 

Witches Falls Winery Rosé

How it's Done

Using a stainless steel vat, the skins and seeds of the red grapes are left in with the juices for only a short window of time. This can be for as little as 2 hours, or as long as 2 days. The chosen level of skin contact will dictate how much pigment and tannin is seeped (or bled) into the juice. That is, a Saignée left on skins for 6-8 hours will be a light, blush-pink; whereas one left for 12-48 will be a much deeper, near-red hue. 

For those lucky enough to sample our 2018 Saignée, you’ll have noticed that the 2019 vintage boasts a much lighter, softer hue. As the 2018 vintage was left on skins for 12 hours, it exhibited quite a rich, full pink and strong, peppery palate. By contrast, our 2019 Saignée was bled for only 8 hours and thus has a much softer, crisper palate and gentle hue.


Witches Falls Winery Rosé

The Process

For both the 2018 and 2019 vintages of Saignée we have used a blend of two red grapes; Black Muscat and Shiraz. The combination of these two decidedly different varietals is largely responsible for Saignée’s unique qualities. This Rosé exhibits quite a sweet, Turkish Delight aroma, due to the Black Muscat grape, otherwise known as a Moscato grape, used in sweet and dessert wines. By combining this with a Shiraz grape, the Saignée actually has quite an unexpected peppery kick on the palate, more typical to the shiraz varietal. 

Witches Falls Winery RoséOnce the seeds and skins are removed, the juice continues to ferment on its own. Due to the nature of this method, many consider Saignée to represent a byproduct of red wine, as it is essentially the halfway point between a white and a red. 

alternative methods?

The cardinal rule of Rosé, and pretty much the only requirement is colour. So long as the wine sits somewhere along the spectrum of pink shades, it can qualify as a rosé. Outside of the Saignée method, there exists several alternatives, including pressing and macerating the skins, both of which are very similar processes. 

Alternatively, blending red wine with white can also be used to create Rosé. Generally only used in New World regions with more relaxed vinification rules, blending is actually prohibited in regions with a Protected Destination of Origin such as Burgundy or Champagne. 

So if you're looking for a reason to impress your friday night guests, or maybe just the perfect accompaniment to a sunny afternoon, look no further than our 2019 Saignée. 

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published