As a wine columnist, there is always news pouring into the inbox. Some topics spark an entire column idea while others are worthy of note to anyone interested in wine.
It seems like stories about Rose’ sales flood my inbox on a weekly basis. The statistics are mind boggling to the point of disbelief. For example, rose’ sales make up just 1.5 percent of the U.S. wine market. But sales increased 53 percent in volume during 2016-2017. Nothing increases 53 percent in any business in such a short period of time!
And despite its popularity there are still misconceptions. Go into any wine specialty shop and look at the rose’ display. Rose is most often made from Pinot Noir in the U.S. Still it’s not hard to find Rose made from almost any grape grown in the vineyards. In Indiana, for instance, Chambourcin red grapes can make a great Rose. Some Hoosier wineries will use sweeter grapes to make a sweet rose’. That grape is often Catawba.
But sweetness is where a bit of the confusion begins. There are wine novices who immediately think sweet when they see pink. If a wine shop display has 15 rose’ wines then probably 15 of them are in a dry style. White zinfandel, which is usually pink, is the genesis of the misconception.
Still, even in dry rose’ sales there are a variety of styles. Rose’ made from grapes like sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Malbec, Syrah and any number of other grapes can have a much bigger mouth feel than a light rose’ from Provence.
French rose’, arguably the world’s finest, has a huge range of styles. Tavel, from the Rhone Valley, is usually made from grenache. Yet, it’s not terribly unusual to find a Rose’ based on Syrah for a bigger flavor.
Traditional Provence rose’ is usually made from grenache, cinsault, and mourvèdre. Provence rose’ has become the standard. They are the light summer drinkers you see at the beach, on street side cafes, and increasingly at home picnics.
Arguably, Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel fueled the rose’ rush. It has a mouthwatering flavor and texture. It hit U.S. shores in the mid-teens and now is often found around $20-$25. Whispering Angel sales have exploded in the U.S. There was a great headline in Vinepair, a wine news publication, that read “It went from Provence to Nantucket to Everywhere.”
Rose sales were concentrated on the coast but now have saturated the country. Just how popular is Whispering Angel in the U.S.? The wine debuted in 2017 in domestic markets. In 10 years, 2007-2017, sales increased 40,000 percent.
Your local wine shop will have the best Rose’ selection. Try the rose’ wines of Provence but experiment. Try the mineral-driven rose’ wines of France’s Loire Valley, a personal favorite. And, there are plenty of rose’ of pinot noir wines from U.S. producers.
Rose’ goes great with a salad, charcuterie, and fish.
Think pink this summer.