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Those silly looking pink wines in your favorite wine shop or liquor store are gaining respect through robust sales. Rosé is perfect for the summer’s hot weather and sales are even hotter.

The numbers are staggering. Since 2009, overall consumption of Rosé wines has increased 160 percent.

Arguably, the best Rose’ in the world comes from Southern France. Exports of rose’ wine from the Provence region to the U.S. grew 62 percent in volume last year compared to 2010. Value of exports for the 2010-2011 period increased nearly 50 percent to a record high of nearly $10 million Euro.
The booming growth can be dated back to 2003 when Provence exported 146,000 liters of Rosé to the U.S. Last year that number easily passed 1.7 million liters.
Bethann Kendall, Vine and Table

But the U.S. isn’t the only major importer of the salmon-pink Rosé wines. Sales have also increased significantly in Brazil, Russia and other countries.

“What we’re seeing in the U.S. market reflects a global trend,” said Julie Peterson of the Vins de Provence U.S. office, which provided the statistics above. “Those who appreciate great wine and the Mediterranean lifestyle are turning to Provence rosé for its versatility, food friendliness, and gold standard quality.”

Midwestern wine retailers have also noticed the explosion in growth.

“Rosé sales increase more and more very year,” said Bethann Kendall, wine buyer at Vine and Table, Carmel, IN. “Last year was probably almost three times more than what I sold my first year here.  And right now, in May, I’ve already sold more than what I sold all of last year. It’s looking great. It’s going to be a huge increase probably 15-20 percent.”

Provence Rosé is made from a blend of basically six grapes. Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre, Tibouren, and Carignan can be found in Provence’s signature wine. But around the world you can find Rose made from just about any grape varietal imaginable. Oregon, home of some of the U.S.’s best Pinot Noir, makes great Rosé of Pinot Noir wines.
For years “pink wine” was soiled in reputation by white zinfandel but no more. “I think there is still a huge misconception on Rose but we taste it every Saturday,” Kendall said. “I’m always opening a bottle to try to sway people in the right direction. It’s not all sweet. I tell them if they don’t like Provence Rose they’re just not going to like it from any region at all.”
Howard’s Picks:
2011 Bieler Pere et Fils Rosé – Simply Unbelievable Provence for a miserly $11-$14. This dry delicious Rose is a blend of 50 percent Syrah, 30 percent Grenache, and 20 percent Cabernet. Bigger than some Rose’ but the cranberry color and wonderful taste of red raspberry makes it a real must buy. “I was excited to finally get it into Indiana,” Kendall said. “It sells out every vintage and it’s just true to the area with very beautiful strawberries and raspberries and a nice chalky texture which comes from the soils of Provence.
2011 Mas de Gourgonnier – Cherry and classic Rosé strawberry with hints of spice make this Rose a real treat for around $15. While a little lighter in style than the Bieler, it’s equally dry. This wine is 60 percent Grenache (my favorite) with a 40 percent blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Cabernet. This is a perfect hot weather wine and gorgeous pairing for lighter foods.
More choices: Chateau Revelette Provence Rose’ (Wine critics: 89-90 Points and the best I’ve tasted this year); Acrobat Oregon Pinot Noir Rosé, $15; and closer to home Butler Winery’s Rosé of Chambourcin, $14-$15.

POSTSCRIPT: Rose has been in the news a lot lately. Here are some links to additional stories about Rose.

From SFGate, San Francisco, another from the San Francisco Chronicle, from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune,  

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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