During the 13th century, rosé was the main production in Bordeaux, until it was considered too fragile to travel, so the region started to produce mainly red wine. Rosé must be drunk young and preferably on the spot, which is rather inconvenient and antinomic to a good wine that is supposed to age. This is also another reason, probably more rational, for the rosé unpopularity. (Source: Centre d’Expérimentation du Rosé).
The road to rosé recognition will be long and rosé producers are certainly not among the richest in the world, it is therefore important to cultivate the rosé culture. Europeans, especially the French – stubborn as they are – have been working hard on it recently. Too scared of losing what they have already built, they have made sure that rosé will remain rosé: A wine made of red grapes with a short maceration, then vinified as a white wine. Blending white and red can be done at the grape level in some places and when making sparkling rosé but once it has become wine, the mixing is prohibited except in some countries like Australia and South Africa.
Mixing two wines would only give the same pink color but reaching the same level of fresh fruit flavor is more difficult. It would hence disa ppoint and lose the consumer used to traditional rosés, something you don’t even want to think about! More than for any other wines, the border between traditional and industrial rosé is hard to delineate , producers and consumers need clear rules and not allowing a new set of rules for the rosé winemaking process will only make it clearer.
Rosé is not a mutt, it is a unique kind of wine, usually very light, delicate, refreshing, reminiscent of fresh fruits to the palate. It is much appreciated by itself before a meal but also pairs well with food. Have you ever tried it with apples, pears, fresh berries, peaches or apricots sorbets for instance?
It is not to say that you must drink rosé all day long – I am a red wine person, not considering changing religion – but there is a time for each wine, one is for rosé. Holiday in Provence – holiday by the beach – holiday! Rosé! Have you ever played the outdoor ball game called pétanque, otherwise known as bocce ball (the best description I have ever seen is here)? So it is 3 o’clock in the afternoon and you are under a stunning sun playing pétanque – Then, Rosé! Michel-Schlumberger in California, realeased this year a wine gamme called Pétanque that is the “embodiment of the Pétanque lifestyle…cultured, sophisticated, relaxed, very portable, a little competitive, and a ton of fun!”, unfortunately they only produce reds and whites, , a pity with such a name!
Rosé wine, not like all other wines, is associated with leisure and progress the lack of history this wine has in France, in comparison to white and reds can allow freedom in the way it is bottled and marketed. And in France at least, rosé wines have the most creative packaging.
Like any wine, rosé can be an awful potion or a very precious elixir. Here are my two treasures of the month.
Mas Amiel – Le Plaisir. 2008 A very gourmand strawberry red color, Wild strawberries and Cherry on the nose following through to the palate. with pepper notes. This rosé is well balanced and deserve its name. 70 % grenache noir, 20 % syrah and 10 % carignan
Chinon – Cuvée Marie-Justine, Christophe Baudry-Dutour.2008 Named after the daughters of Christophe Baudry, this rosé has a soft salmon pink color and a delicate pear and peach palate, it is also floral and very refreshing.