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: VieVité Rosé 2016, Côtes de Provence, France, Christopher Duburcq
Grapes: 30% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Carignan
SRP: $20, 32,000 produced
In addition to funky-shaped bottles, the Provence appellation is known for its ancient vineyards. Nestled just north of Saint-Tropez is Domaine Sainte Marie, a legendary Provençal producer with vineyard plantings dating back to the 18th century. Sainte Marie has an eclectic mix of indigenous varieties planted, but is perhaps best known in the US market for its delicious Vie-Vité rosés, made as both an entry-level wine and a higher-end version called “Extraordinaire.” The 2016 Vie-Vité is a medium rosy pink color with notes of ripe raspberries and almond skin with lavender and fennel on the nose. Produced from vines with an average age of 25 years or more, Vie-Vité rosés also offer a textbook example of why these dry wines pair so beautifully with the cuisine of the region. Try them with bouillabaisse and classic garlicky rouille or with roasted tomatoes and zucchini done up all ratatouille-style.