We are now in the throes of rosé season, the weather is warmer, the outdoor furniture has been placed on the patio, we are now ready to enjoy our limited time outdoors … let’s make the most of it.
For wine-lovers rosé season is a delicious time of year where we get to let our pink-pride shine. And in all honesty, nothing makes me happier than seeing more and more dry rosé being made after years of living in sad, obscure limbo. Rosé has found a new lease on life as the summer beverage of choice for many, no longer just females and the yacht club demographic, it has become the true summertime sipper of so many. These days you can sip on pink wine without having to endure the derisive gaze of uneducated onlookers who have no idea how far rosé has come.
Look, rosé has found its slogan and hashtag on social media, “Rosé All Day”, and has fans from near and far. If you are on social media it’s promoted everywhere from Provence to Penedes – as everyone raises a glass of “summer.” I would even go so far as to say most wineries now make at least one rosé; and that is because so many of us have been turned onto the pink stuff and are fiercely proud of it. People have rosé parties throughout the summer, where every wine poured is of the blushing variety, and no one complains because they don’t see a red or white wine on the table. At the liquor board they see a sizeable shift in buying habits over the summer months, rosé sales spike as Ontarians follow the rest of the world’s trend in the drinking of pink wine over the hot months.
Pride in drinking rosé is no longer looked down upon, in fact if you are still embarrassed pouring or ordering one, you need to check yourself (as the kids say). It’s time to jump on the bandwagon. I even know of one writer who has a Men Who Aren’t Afraid of Rosé party – where everyone dons a pink shirt and sips rosé, it’s an all-day affair. All signs point to this no longer being just a trend, when summer comes along the love shown for rosé becomes a movement, a cult; it’s a party-like atmosphere … because it’s hard to be depressed or down when two kinds of wine are poured: rosé and bubbles – apart they are fun, together they are magical.
The reason rosé has such a bad reputation, or did, was because of a fluke in winemaking called White Zinfandel – I don’t want to go too far down this rabbit hole, but White Zinfandel was not planned – it was a mistake of winemaking that turned into a bona fide trend and damaged the profile of rosé for decades, and while still available, the good news is the heyday of White Zin has come and gone, and dry rosé (aka: serious rosé) once again rules the roost. Don’t get me wrong, the days of sweet rosé aren’t completely gone, they live on, but those wines are fewer and farther between than they used to be.
This year I gave myself a pandemic project: create a rosé report better than the one I did last year. Last year’s model was a page on my website listing the rosés I had tried; this year I (at time of writing this article) am completing a full-on PDF report with as many rosés as I could possibly taste – all told I’ll have tasted close to 175 rosés, both still and sparkling, from Prince Edward County to Australia and everywhere in between. And I know there are so many more out there. Trust me, I still long for the time, when I was not stuck in the house and when rosé season was such a momentous occasion at Chateau Pinkus. Every year for the past three, we’d take a day off during the week in early May to stock up on our favourites in preparation for patio season get togethers. Nothing beats a hot day with a glass of rosé. But this year I needed a little more motivation.
I also write at least one rosé article every year telling people about the best rosés I have tried, up to point of publication – throughout the summer more hit the market and if you follow me on social media or my website you’ll discover more rosés to choose from; but I have to cut it off somewhere so that you can go out and start your own collection of pink wines for you and your guests. Inevitably I get emails and social media responses that ask if I have tried X or Y rosé – and without fail most those requests are about sweet rosés. I always find it amazing that the people that say they drink dry, are really suckers for sweet … to those people I say this: serious rosé is dry, it’s refreshing and something you should be able to drink all day – the sweet stuff is no better than a cooler and should be treated as such; with the sugar induced headache the next day that goes right along with it.
So here’s my advice: go out and find your style of rosé, but don’t be afraid to experiment and show your pride of pink wines – and when home alone or when people visit, serve rosé and your cares will melt away, and in a year like 2020 we need a wine that does just that … take our cares away for a few hours anyway and one that just gives us those good vibes – that’s what a glass (or bottle) of good rosé can do.