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: Terra Corsa Rosé 2016, Vin de Corse, France, Daniel Barcello
Grapes: 85% Niellucciu, 15% Grenache
SRP: $12, 1000 cases produced
I often tell people to buy the weirdest, most unpronounceable grape they can find and in this case, Corsica’s unique grape “niellucciu” roughly translates to delicious. Some wine experts consider this grape to be a clone of Tuscany’s sangiovese, but there is debate about that. It certainly demonstrates some of the same fresh cranberry and green pine notes that I associate with sangiovese, and in this rosé it’s blended with the classic grenache of southern France. I really dig this wine for $12. I discovered it lurking on the dusty bottom shelf at my local Vons grocery store and promptly bought a case for spring-time parties. It has more robustness and tannic structure due to the niellucciu so is a great “house wine” that aligns nicely with tomato-based salads, roasted pork with fines-herbes or grilled fish with tapenade.