I’ve been thinking a lot about Rosé of late. There is a great rosé made by Israeli producer Galil Mountain that I recently poured at a tasting, and while I think the wine is amazing, there were guests there who saw the color and assumed it would be a sweet wine. For those seeking a sweet wine I suggested a bone dry but beautifully floral Viognier (also a Galil Mountain wine) – that was incredibly received. But it did get me thinking. Is there room for rosé to grow in popularity. I must admit, I too associated rosé with flabby white zinfandel until discovering the special characteristics that a good rosé offers. But why, even following a feature article last summer in Wine Spectator, was rosé still not being fully embraced? Is Rose’ already Passé???
A quick tutorial on rosé. The color in wine is extracted from the grape skins. The longer the contact with the grape skins, the more color (and other things) are extracted from the skins (basically) and end up in the wine. So with rosé, the grape skins are given SOME, but not a lot of contact with the juice, thereby allowing a little color, but not a deep, rich red or ruby color that juice that was otherwise left on the skin for an extended period would extract.
OK, back to the question at hand. When crisp, dry & refreshing rose’ can be so good, why haven’t people fully embraced this style of wine?
I’ve got lots of theories;
1 – Men (OK, some) have issues drinking white wine. How do you think those men, or those who are teetering feel about a pink drink?
2 – It isn’t red & it isn’t white. So what is it?
3 – The aforementioned stigma that was attached to rosé (or blush) as a result of the aforementioned white Zin phenomenon.
And countless others, but one that has stood out to me relates to an issue I have complained about in the past. I take issue with places that serve “a white wine” and “a red wine”. Or people who order “a glass of white” or “a glass of red”. I know, I know, it seems like I am perpetuating that same issue of pretension that I supposedly despise. But this is not pretension. This is about the exact opposite. I always tell people to drink what they like. But if they are simply ordering whatever generic juice someone else is going to pour them they are never going to discover WHAT IT IS THEY LIKE. Reds, whites AND rosé from different regions made of different varietals taste DIFFERENT. That is not to say one is good and another isn’t. Deciding what is good and what is not is UP TO YOU! But to decide that you don’t like rosé because you had a bad one is silly.
I know it would be weird to order a Pinot Noir rosé, or a sangiovese rosé, etc. But maybe that is a solution. And it is actually only one part of it as some Pinot rosé can be excellent while other can SUCK (although once again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder).
Can’t say that I have any definitive solution or that this issue and its corresponding “resolution” will “change the wine world”. But it is something I have been thinking about recently and I thought I would share some of those thoughts with you.
Happy Rosé Wine Tasting!
Quick reminder, tomorrow, Thursday night is the big (FREE) Israel wine tasting at Le Rendezvous wine bar on the Upper east side (of Manhattan). I’d love to see YOU there.