Riven with indecision on what to drink – red or white? Then think pink. While rosé wines are made from black-skinned grapes, they are fermented more like a white wine and at cooler temperatures under 20°C and so are served cold. The attractive pale onion skin or salmon pink colour is created by leaving the fermenting grape juice in contact with the black skins for one to two days maximum to put a little blush in the wine’s complexion.
While some people are mourning the end of summer and the beach days and barbecues that define the season, two New York-based comedians are lamenting having to say goodbye to their favorite warm weather alcoholic beverage: rosé.
There aren’t many wine names as resonant as Domaine Tempier Bandol. This is a producer whose back-story is as heady as the dry Provençal rosé for which it is best known. Tempier’s garrigue-scented pink wine is so popular that it runs out long before the next vintage is available and, yet, it is one of the world’s few rosés seriously worth ageing — for decades in some cases. It is usually released in late March or early April but, by July, when demand is greatest, there is none left in the cellar
If and when I become a proper alcoholic, it won’t be the whisky, though that will have contributed. It will be the rosé wine. I am growing infatuated with it. I have become yet more besotted this summer. Last night, with friends, we had a couple of bottles to accompany barbecued lamb. I couldn’t have been happier.
Reflecting on rosé sales from recent summers, it’s apparent that the pink juice has skyrocketed from regional popularity to requisite beverage option on wine lists across the country, a trend driven by wholesale wine buyers from New York to California.
Actress, director, human rights activist, mother…wine producer? Is there anything Angelina Jolie can’t do? The 2014 vintage of Cotes de Provence Miraval Rosé, made from grapes grown on the Chateau Miraval estate in the south of France owned by Jolie and husband Brad Pitt, is now widely available (the first vintage, 2013, was only sold through a few specialist wine merchants.)
Last spring the phrase “Yes Way Rosé” (#yeswayrosé) seemingly exploded out of nowhere. By the end of the summer, the New York Post’s Page Six was hyperventilating over an imminent shortage of rosé in the Hamptons. Had an insatiable demand for rosé suddenly exploded out of nowhere, leading to a run on the pink booze bank? Yes and no.
We’ve all learned to serve wine at the proper temperature. Rosé, I’ve found, is the only wine that tastes best when it’s 75 degrees or hotter. I’m not talking about the temperature of the liquid in the glass. I’m referring to the temperature outside. Rosé should be chilled, of course, but it’s a wine for drinking outdoors, on a sizzling hot day. It’s the most seasonal of all wines, the seasons being late Spring through early Fall.
If spring’s around the corner, can rosé wines be far behind? To be honest, most wine lovers probably don’t think much about rosé wines before June or after September – some may never think about them at all – but during those hot and humid months, rosés seem a capital idea for a light lunch, a Niçoise salad, a BLT, or a batch of guacamole.
It’s warm and everyone is talking about rosé again. They must be doing a lot of talking because sales of rosé grew by 25% last year, according to a recent Nielsen report. Yet, as I have said before, rosé has been here all along and the new takeaway should be that rosé is a wine style that works hard during all seasons, pairing beautifully with all manner of cuisine and lending its vibrant, pulsing “aliveness” to any occasion.