Fighting back the rosé backlash! In defense of the pink drink

OK, which wine category is hot? Sooo hot? As in up 39 percent nationally for the first six months of this year? That’s right, folks, we’re talking about rosé! Dry rosé!

Just as America is warming up to dry pink wine, Papa Bear Eric Asimov tells us it’s jumped the shark. It’s over. Before it even began! Rosé, we hardly knew ye! EA cries out for rosé therapy on his blog:

But doc, why am I so unhappy about rosés? I don’t want to buy them. I don’t want to drink them. I don’t hate them. I’m just not interested. But I know I’m supposed to care. That is, I’m supposed to be carefree, which is the proper attitude for rosés. You know, lunches in Provence, tapas in Spain, let the rosé flow. But I’m not carefree about rosé. I’m grumpy. What’s wrong with me?…I hate to be a killjoy, doc. Isn’t there anything you can do for me?

Don’t be grumpy, Eric! Just get into the vibe! Although I’m not the kind of doctor you’re looking for, here are some tips for starting to think pink:

1. Context matters: rosé could be the ultimate wine where context matters. When it’s hot, chill it and have it on the deck, at a sidewalk cafe, under a tree, in a hammock–wherever there’s no air conditioning! The hotter you are, the better it will taste. 😉

2. A halfway house for whites and reds: dyed in the wool partisans of whites and reds may not often overlap but rosé may just prove that common ground.

3. Tired of serious wine?
It’s a quaffer, easily downed. Refreshment is key. Rosé is almost a state of mind more than it is a wine. (Is this sounding New Age-y yet?)

4. Food friendly: high-acidity dry rosé pairs with a lot of foods, including some hard ones like salads and gazpacho and, of course, anything meaty.

5. Wallet friendly: I’d be grumpy too if I paid a lot for rosé–$15 is my max. This is the first press of some wine or from red vines that aren’t mature enough to do anything interesting so there’s an economic argument for it’s being cheap too. Last summer when we were in the south of France we got a 5L box of the hearty Bergerac rosé for 12 euros, which brought down our per glass costs to practically nothing. It makes you extremely generous when the wine is always cold and your per glass cost is less than a postage stamp–and wine is for sharing!

Some of my favorite dry rosés from this summer:
* Chateau Peyrassol. At $17 it is in my grump-zone, but still very nice light Provencal style. (search)
* Commanderie de Bargemone: Yummy, fresh strawberry notes, good acidity and $12 (search).
* Domaine Houchart (St. Victoire): This wine just makes me think about lunch, outside under an umbrella. $15 (search)
* Domaine Sorin, Terra Amata (Cotes de Provence): Sustainably grown; wonderful with fried calamari (search)
* Chateau d’Aqueria (Tavel): Darker in color and bolder in taste, this is a good one for enticing people from the red side as I did last weekend with a guy who “only drinks red.” Though at $17, it’s into my grumpy price range (search)
* Bodegas Muga (Rioja): easy to find, this one is an even better value at $10 (search)
* Bernard Baudry (Chinon): pleasant, but a tad too serious for mindless summer fun with it’s dollop of minerality (search)

Preppy is back. Drink pink.

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10 Responses to “Fighting back the rosé backlash! In defense of the pink drink”

  1. here ye, here ye. we don’t have any of the ones you mention but we have 15 or so in stock. we’ve been getting feedback from people who don’t care at all about fashion, they care about taste and refreshment. and the rosés are delivering both.

  2. Mr. Asimov is entitled to his opinion, but there is nothing wrong with dry rosé (thank you for insisting on DRY rosé, to excluded the white zinfandels of the world). And a $15 cap is certainly appropriate. I’d aim even lower, but maybe I’m just a skinflint.

  3. You’re absolutely right about context. No one’s suggesting that rosé be consumed all day and every day – and my personal feeling is that a lot of Americans are at loathe to order rosé because they fear people will think they’re drinking White Zin (the other pink drink.)

    However – rosé is quite sophisticated and civilized as you say – when at a sidewalk cafe, chilled in a bucket on a hot afternoon. And there needn’t be anything low brow about it – for instance, the Sancerre Gaspard de la Thaumassière is a Pinot Noir rosé, which is completely dry and has a really complex structure.

    What’s also overlooked is pink champagne or sparkling wine. Despite being aesthetically beautiful (hear I refer to a wedding reception where everyone holds a flute of pink champagne – it really does add colour to an occasion)

    Pinotage, which hasn’t yet received much attention in the US market, is going to start coming into the US in the form of Rosé rather soon.

    Here are some recommendations:
    Bellingham 2007 Pinotage Rosé
    Delheim 2003 Pinotage Rosé
    Stormhoek 2007 Pinotage Rosé (best served over ice in a tumbler believe it or not)
    Tall Horse 2007 Pinotage Rosé
    Beyerskloof 2006 Pinotage Rosé
    Leopards Leap 2007 Pinotage Rosé
    (these are all good starters – and will be coming into the market under $11.00!)

  4. rose will always be in fashion. You just can’t stay away from it. It calls you on those hot summer days when you just want some proscuitto e melone or to slurp down a gazpacho. Just as the point system should not dictate what wine people buy nor should the media’s declaration that a trend is over stop people from enjoying a nice eight dollar bottle of rosato.

    After a long winter I really look forward to my first craving of rose. It always hits me just in time to bring in the warm weather. And it happens every year not just when the publications say so. Rose is not dead, man. It is alive and waiting with bracing acidity and immediate enjoyment.

    The nice thing about these wines is that for once we don’t have to think about what we are drinking. Reds and sometimes whites require some thought because of all those phenolics dancing around and partying(or fighting) with each other. Rose has elements of this but not so much as to evoke aromas of this or that. It’s hot, sweat is running down my forehead, give me a bottle of rosado from the basque and some tapas and I am set.

    The most expensive rose I have ever had was eighty bucks but worth every penny. It was Valentini’s Cerasuolo from Abruzzo’s montepulciano grape. SPECTACULAR! I would do it it again but only because I know it is amazing. Yeah man, more than fifteen bucks is pushin it.


  5. Thanks for supporting this pink damsel in distress!

    Ruarri – the pink trend in bubbly is indeed well established as the category has grown even faster than dry rose.

    EVWG – Well said! I’d be up for trying the Cerasuolo though I shudder at the price…

  6. Either it be sitting at a cafe in the south of France or grilling something in my backyard in Seattle, rosés define summer in my book.

    My pink drink of choice is the Chinook Cabernet Franc Rosé. It’s in a good price range ($14ish) and is definitely a local favorite.

  7. […] Related: “Fighting back the rosé backlash! In defense of the pink drink“ […]

  8. I am not a huge fan of rosés… but V.Sattui has an excellent wine “Gamay Rouge” that was a nice balance of red and white, and not too sickeningly sweet. The price was way above my comfort price-point so my husband had to purchase the bottle, and I have to say, it was almost worth it!

  9. […] Well, I was glad to find out that I wasn’t the only one having a “pink” crisis. There has been a running “pink” debate all over my favorite wine blogs, between those who just don’t get it and those who do. […]

  10. […] and the beach make for a terrible pairing. So air-drop me some of the humble rosé. As I have mentioned previously, I enjoy rosé in the summer and get grumpy paying much over $15 for it. In warm weather, on the […]


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