If you haven’t heard the phrase “rosé all day,” I’m not sure where you’ve been these last seven plus years. Perhaps you’ve been curing diseases in a far away land, or conducting climate research in the Arctic. If so, thank you for your service. But you’re obviously back now, so let’s catch you up.
Rosé wines are HUGE! The “drink pink” craze has influenced every restaurant, with new requisite pink options and pink pairings. You can find pink wine in every size, cans included, stacked to the ceiling in retail stores. Everyone is drinking and talking about it.
So, why is it such a big deal?
Let’s go back a few decades. There were two rosés that made a significant consumer impact on the U.S. market after World War II: Mateus (1942) and Lancers (1944). These Portuguese pink, sweet wines were a huge success in the U.S. Market – there is and always has been a demand for inexpensive and sweet alcohol here, and this hit the spot for the drinkers of that era. When the Portuguese revolution was over in 1974, the U.S. imported another 20 million cases immediately for the sweet-wine-loving U.S. market.
In 1975, Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home was ‘bleeding off’ some of the freshly fermenting wine from their Amador County Zinfandel tanks – a process similar to removing some of the water from a steeping tea. The wine left in the fermenter to finish was much more concentrated once some of the slightly pink juice was removed. Bob intended to ferment the ‘saignee’ (to bleed) byproduct of his Zinfandel fermentation to dryness, but something unexpected happened – the fermentation stuck and the wine did not ferment to fully dry. The resulting slightly sweet White Zinfandel was an immediate success, despite being crafted by utter mistake. The U.S. market loved it, and over the next decade it was consumed at an almost frantic pace.
Slowly, beginning in the 2000s, American consumers started drinking more classic dry rosé. The more affluent and well-traveled segment of the population came into contact with the wine in Europe, where the dry rosé of Provence was synonymous with summer and the Mediterranean. When they returned home to the U.S., they began asking for them in restaurants and sommeliers gleefully obliged. This built to a fever pitch when the Hamptons experienced a crippling rosé shortage in 2014. The HORROR!
Soon, celebrities got involved. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt created the Château Miraval Roséfrom grapes off their estate in Southern France. Drew Barrymore created Barrymore Rosé. Roséwas officially the wine of the rich and fabulous. Instagram reinforced the sexiness of the category, and it spread like wild fire.
Wine is fashion and this is the hottest fashion trend to hit in decades. Rosé has a distinct advanrtage over most other wines in that it is not a grape varietal anyone needs remember or read about. It doesn’t come from a particular soil type, climate, or producer that anyone needs to understand. Oh, and did I mention that it’s inexpensive? Solid expressions of classic dry rosés are found between $10 and $20 per bottle. For a wine lover looking for sexy, uncomplicated, and inexpensive fun, rosé is the perfect choice.
Inspired and looking for a new rosé to try? Check out these delicious options!
Bieler Pere & Fils, ‘Sabine’ Rosé, Coteaux D’Aix-en-Provence, FR 2018
Grenache with Syrah, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon and Vermentino (Rolle). The wine shows inviting aromas of wild strawberry, lemon and orange peel, watermelon Jolly Rancher and white pepper. Crisp and juicy on the palate, this dry roséis craveable and works perfectly with or without food.
Charles & Charles, Rosé, Columbia Valley, WA 2018
The majority of this wine is Syrah with a little Cabernet Sauvignon and some Rhône varieties tossed in for complexity. It is darker pink than the other two suggestions. It looks like watermelon juice in the glass. The nose and palate show watermelon, kiwi, strawberry jam, and green banana. Dry, elegant and long finish.
Gassier, ‘Esprit Gassier’ Rosé, Côtes de Provence, FR 2018
Made from a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Vermentino (Rolle), this delicate pink hued wine is fresh and aromatic, showing notes of watermelon, cherry, green apple and crunchy peach with a whiff of delicate white flowers. Dry, mouthwatering and delicious.
Christopher Coon is an Advanced Sommelier (certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers), a Certified Specialist of Wine (certified by the Society of Wine Educators) and a French Wine Scholar (certified by the Wine Scholar Guild). Currently, he is the Senior Director, Wine Training and Education at Young’s Market Company for California, where he creates and teaches programs to onboard new sales associates. He also supports and mentors sales associates seeking the Society of Wine Educators (SWE) credentials of Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS). Chris is also the Examinations Officer for Young’s in the administration of all Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) classes and examinations. A New England native, some of Chris’ fondest memories about his family all take place around a noisy restaurant dinner table covered with food and wine. He has a deep respect for food and wine because of their ability to bring people together. Chris loves teaching and talking to people about wine, traveling to wine producing regions, and time with his family.