By The Glass

ROSÉ, PINK or blush wines are getting more and more popular lately, both internationally and also here locally.

In the Philippines rosé wines seem to appeal more to the female demographic and to the young wine newbies. To me the charm of rosé wine is in its lovely color, which can go from pinkish onion skin and dark salmon to a bright light purple hue. Also, there is strong perception that rosé wines are all light, sweet, low in alcohol, and great thirst quenchers perfect for our warm weather.

But unlike the winemaking of either a red wine or a white wine, the method of which is straightforward, making rosé wine can be done in three different ways.

1. Skin Contact or Maceration — the classic way; this is when black or red skinned grapes are lightly crushed to release the juice like how white wines are made, but instead of the separating the grape skins immediately, in this case they remain in contact with the juice for hours or even up to a few days (depending on the grape varietal). Then the grape must is pressed and skin removed, before fermentation, just like making white wines. The famous rosé wines from Provence in the south of France uses this method using traditional grapes of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault.

2. Saignee Method — Saignee is a French term for “to bleed,” and in Spain and Spanish speaking wine countries, this same method is called sangrado (which also means “bleeding”); this method involves the “bleeding off” of portions of the red wine juice that is still pinkish in color in the early stage of fermentation, to separate it from the red wine so the remaining red wine can be more concentrated and gain darker color as well. The separated wine is then fermented to be bottled as rosé wine. The resulting rosé is therefore more of a by-product than its own production. My favorite rosé wines are from Navarra in the north of Spain, called Rosado, and these wines are actually made from this method using the Garnacha (Grenache) grapes.

3. Blending Method — this is the method where a white wine is blended with a small percentage of red wine to impart the “rosé” color. It works exactly like a dye for coloring effect. This is a method being frowned at among Old World wine producers, and is in fact illegal in France, except perhaps in the Champagne region. One of the most popular wines nowadays is the Pink Moscato from Australia, which comes from this rosé winemaking method. There is actually no such varietal as a Pink Moscato, and this wine is actually a Moscato white wine blended with some Merlot or Shiraz to create a “pink” version.

Other than the winemaking methods, rosé wines also have different taste profiles.

Back in the day — during the 1980s till the ’90s — the most popular rosés were the Californian White Zinfandels, made commercially huge by Sutter Home, and the undisputed king of rosé wines, the omnipresent Mateus Rosé from Portugal, also best known for its unique oval wine bottle. Both these rosé wines are on the lighter, sweeter side, and also have less alcohol. While both the Californian White Zinfandels and Mateus Rosé wines are still available, their volumes have definitely been down and are now just a fraction of their past prime years. The trend has however changed. The new rosé wine resurgence, especially globally, is already happening. In the US alone, rosé wines have grown by over 100% the last few years, and the growth is led by the drier, crisper, fuller bodied versions, not the sweet, slightly fizzy and lighter styles of the past.

Many New World wine producers from California, Australia, and New Zealand are now making dry rosé wines comparable to the Provence versions. Many in fact, because of the saignee method, are making real bold versions that are much closer to a hearty red wine than a white wine.

Unfortunately, in the Philippines the dry versions are not popular at all, and I rarely see dry rosé wines in the local market. The growth of rosé wines in the Philippines is buoyed by the strength of Pink Moscato — the sweet, fruity, light-bodied, and very quaffable wine spearheaded by giant Australian brand Yellow Tail. With the sweet rosé taste in vogue again, at least in our country, will the Californian White Zinfandel make a comeback?

The unbearable traffic is going to get even worst as we head closer to the Christmas holidays. There seems to be really no solution to this daily suffering as over 30,000 new cars are being added to our inadequate and over-congested roads every month. While I am not big on online purchases, especially on commercial items I see in supermarkets and department stores, the scary traffic situation made me change my mind. I now think online business transactions are really very practical and lately I have been spending more time browsing through websites offering goods with deliveries, especially if I get too lazy to visit specific stores far from where I live.

One online business Web site worth visiting is ( which specializes in wine and spirits. is owned by the Global Noble importer and distribution company of a good friend of mine, Edwin Ong. Gurkka is envisioned as the best one-stop shop for all wines and spirits needs. The site sells huge commercial brands like Johnny Walker Whisky, Hennessy Cognac, Jose Cuervo Tequila, Absolut Vodka, plus a significant number of exclusive brands that Global Noble directly imports.

The site also incorporated news and events pages as well as tips and trivia on wine and spirits. But the site is primarily meant to sell and deliver wine and spirits products. The convenience also extends to payment as Gurkka accepts all major credit cards, debit cards, prepaid credit cards, even PayMaya, Dragon Pay, SmartMoney, and Globe GCash. Delivery upon ordering and payment is between three to five days.

Check out their site and also discover special promotions, bundle packs, and other offers.

So to stock up on your wine and spirits, you can either go to the huge supermarkets and brace for the traffic and long queues, or simply go online and let Gurkka deliver your alcohol stash for the upcoming holidays.

The author has been a member of the Federation Internationale des Journalists et Ecrivains du Vin et des Spiritueux or FIJEV since 2010. For comments, inquiries, wine event coverage, and other wine-related concerns, e-mail the author at He is also on Twitter at