Once upon a time, pink wines were not taken seriously, and frankly, most of them deserved it. White zinfandel, the most popular pink wine in the U.S. during the ’80s and ’90s, had a boozy heft and saccharine sweetness. The irony is that it wasn’t even technically a rosé, but a white wine given a pink tint through short contact time with grape skins. Regardless, its bad rap unfairly stained real rosé, and people who drank it were considered wine-illiterate by the snobs.
Real rosé wine may have actually been invented before red or white, dating all the way back to the sixth century B.C. Talk about longevity and seniority! But it was only when the dry rosés from the South of France entered the U.S. market in the early 2000s that people here started to catch on to how delicious it can be. The sugary sweetness was replaced with better quality at attractive pricing, and the range of options expanded in color, intensity, and style, from the palest peach color produced in Provence to the dark, hearty, spicy red rosé from the Rhône Valley. Now you can travel the world with good-quality rosés: Austria, Burgundy, Spain, Italy, and the U.S., to name a few places.
So what makes a good rosé? Even the pros have trouble describing it—“there is no specific vocabulary for the flavors and aromas, and no world expert specializing in rosé,” said Francois Millo, president of the Provence Wine Council. Take that to mean that what’s good is whatever you like! (This, by the way, should apply to all wine. See my column in the last issue for more on that.) And while rosé also has the reputation as a summery wine, it begs to be enjoyed all year round, not only for celebrations but as a “just because” drink. Thanks to its range of dreamy bubbles and enchanting colors, it always invokes a happy, special-occasion vibe and gives you the feeling that you’re on vacation or at a party, even when you’re not. Making a Tuesday feel special is a kind of magic of its own, right? Plus, rosé has more antioxidants than white wine—it’s scientifically proven. So find your fave and drink up!
This article originally appeared in our Summer 2020 issue. Get the magazine here.