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Dear Dr. Vinny,
What's the difference between vin gris and rosé?
—Benoit S., Quebec
Vin gris is a term that can be used for rosé wine just as the words “blush” and “pink” can be used. The French expression—which translates literally as “grey wine”—traditionally refers to a wine made from red wine grapes, but with white winemaking practices. So, instead of fermenting the grapes with their skins, which would extract a lot of color, the wine is made from the juice, which will be mostly clear but with a pink tinge. Keep in mind that the term is not regulated, but I believe most vintners use it in the spirit of the traditional method.
Some winemakers make a vin gris not just because they want to make a rosé, but also because the red grapes can still be used to make red wine. Draining off this first bit of juice is one strategy to concentrate the remaining flavors and colors.
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