They’re everywhere – those towering stacks of rosé wine cases that loom near every grocery store or wine retailer register around this time of year. But is rosé wine just a seasonal summertime specialty these days? Data says “no,” and as the thirst for dry pink wine, particularly among female consumers, continues to sky-rocket, rosé remains the hottest growth category in the wine industry with robust annual sales increasing across all sectors.
Some might point out how far the pendulum has swung from the days of Beringer White Zinfandel, when a stuck fermentation resulted in a sweet pink product that for many years was the face of rosé wine for most American consumers. As palates have evolved, today’s consumer no longer assumes that pink means sweet and the market opportunity for dry rosé wines has thus expanded. Traditional French producers in the Côtes de Provence, for example, have seized the opportunity to export to a thirsty American market but have been challenged to meet the rising demand due to an acute 2017 drought in the area that dramatically limited production. In Spain’s Rioja region and elsewhere, the push to produce more dry rosado is also driven largely by the American market. And domestically, just about everyone along the West Coast seems to be scrambling to include a rosé in their portfolio. No longer just a summer sales driver, rosés for many wineries are now an essential core product.
So what to drink? Here at DrinkMe / Bonfort’s, we’ve prepared a little around-the-rosé world tour with examples of regional typicity and grape variation. From haunting, pale southern France examples made from blended grapes to pinot noir rosés made with a range of extraction and color to big-volume California products made from purchased grapes, we hope you find a bottle that suits you.
Wine: Parusso Langhe Nebbiolo Rosato, “Parüss” 2016, Piedmont, Italy, Marco Parusso
SRP: $20, 650 cases produced
Here is an Italian rosato for wine geeks. Made from 100% nebbiolo, this gorgeous wine offers all the classic markers of Piedmont’s great red grape but in a lighter, dare I say more feminine version. It’s vividly pink-red, a fully vinified wine in its own right, as opposed to one made in the saignée method, e.g., in which a rosé is made primarily from the first press run of juice with minimal skin contact. The best adjective for this rosato is “perfumey.” It has a gorgeous nose of dried rose petals, ginger root and tar, with a complexity that is impressive. Nebbiolo offers lots of fine-grained, grippy tannins and this rosato has texture and mouth-feel for days. Pair it with roast lamb with fennel and bitter sautéed greens; it’s an entrée-worthy bottle as opposed to an easy-drinking picnic wine for sure.