According to Eric Hemer, MS, MW, CWE and Senior Vice President and Corporate Director of Wine Education for Southern Glazer’s, until recently Rosé was passé. “It was just something that France made, and it was either slightly sweet, such as Rosé d’Anjou from the Loire Valley, or it was dry, as made in the south of France in Bandol, Côtes de Provence, and Tavel.”
Rosé initially became fashionable in resort towns like St. Tropez, South Beach and the Hamptons. Today Rosé is all the rage across the U.S., with wines from the French region of Provence taking the lead in the category’s popularity. One indicator of the wine’s popularity is the many Rosé-only events and festivals that are popping up all over the country. The wine is also benefiting from the premiumization trend, where consumers are willing to trade up and spend $20 and upwards for a bottle.
Hemer adds, “As we get closer to the warm summer months, ‘Rosé season’ will kick into high gear and consumers will be looking for different ways to enjoy the wine whether they’re out on the town or staying at home.”
In the on-premise sector, on wine lists, if included at all, Rosé used to be tacked on the end of the white wine section, or take second place to white zinfandel under a “blush wines” heading. Today, savvy restaurateurs have a section on the wine list dedicated to Rosé, with several wines from different regions, grape varieties and price points represented. It is now also common to find good Rosés by the glass as well.
“There are many ways to enjoy Rosé and the style lends itself to summer entertaining,” continues Hemer. “Bartenders are also incorporating Rosé into their recipes, which consumers can easily replicate at home for a refreshing twist on the typical summer cocktail.”
Like white wine and sparkling wine before it, Rosé wine is now being used as a key ingredient in cocktails. Hemer suggests, “Add seltzer, pour over ice and add a lemon or strawberry garnish and consumers can enjoy a beautifully colored Rosé wine spritzer. Add a splash of a bitter liqueur and it creates a new aperitif. Or, use lemon-lime soda instead of seltzer and make a Rosé wine cooler. How about Frosé? Think frozen strawberry daiquiri, but with Rosé instead of rum. The possibilities are nearly endless.”
Depending on the region the wine comes from and the grapes used to make the wine, the style of Rosé ranges from a very pale hued, crisply acidic, lighter bodied wine with notes of watermelon and lemon citrus. This is the traditional style made in Provence from local varieties such as Grenache, Cinsault and Tibouren. This style is very refreshing in hot weather, and pairs with a variety of lighter foods, from salads to delicate fish preparations like filet of sole. Fuller-bodied rosé wines made from grapes with deeper color, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah tend to have more weight and flavor on the palate and pair well with foods like grilled meats and barbequed chicken, perfect for outdoor summer entertaining.