HARDLY ANY WINE POLARIZES SO STRONGLY
#ROSÉALLDAY or No, Thank You?
The sales of
has been rising steadily and steeply for years and now amounts to
of global sales. However, some wine lovers refuse the glass of rosé that is offered to them stinks and want nothing to do with this “fizzy drink”. We recommend giving Provence in a glass a chance.
More favorable comes you to the Côte d’Azur
The sight of a glass of rosé wine, immediately creates an image in the mind of lovers of French Provence: A bright blue sky, the wind from the sea, the scent of lavender and herbs, the pine forests and the joie de vivre of a carefree summer.
The European countries that drink above average rosé wine, such as Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are familiar with this attractive landscape in the south of France.
France is the world’s largest producer of rosé wines and the center of rosé wine production is in the south of France.
It is not surprising that during the Corona pandemic, according to the German Wine Institute, wine sales in the German market from April to June 2020 increased by 12.5 percent compared to the previous year, with rosé wine being in particularly high demand, with an increase of 30 percent.
When all travel plans to France are canceled, the desire to bring French lifestyle into your glass at home is understandable.
Rosé wine is considered the wine of the millennials. A glass of rosé always looks good on Instagram. The motifs of most rosé wine campaigns get by with two almost identical images: A dreamlike pool or a view of the sea with two glasses of iced rosé wine in front of it.
In the past, rosé wine was considered the wine drunk by ladies who know nothing about wine. The Millennial generation sees rosé wine as the wine that is simply fun to drink and makes a statement against wine snobs and complicated wine lists that weigh kilos.
Rosé wine is drunk more than average in the 24-35 age group, after which the curve drops steeply with increasing age in most countries. An exception is France, the country with the greatest rosé wine tradition. Here people like to drink rosé even in old age.
Pink is not a color but an attitude
In Brazil, more men than women drink rosé wine; in the U.S., Russia, and Australia, there is no difference in rosé wine consumption between men and women. The Netherlands and Germany still show the largest gender gap within Europe. In both countries, rosé wine tends to be preferred by women.
Presumably, this statistic of the International Organization of Viticulture and Wine will soon be a thing of the past. Facebook’s US list shows 50 different options for indicating gender, from Agender, Androgyne to Transmasculine and Two-spirit.
For the first time in history, Pantone selected two shades as “Color” of the Year in 2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity, a light blue. The Pussy Hat movement demonstrated in 2017 with pink wool hats against sexist remarks by President Donald Trump.
Pink has gained a new status in fashion, art and culture. The Grand Budapest Hotel is emblazoned in rich pink on the poster of Wes Anderson’s cult film.
The hashtag #Roséallday is an expression for a fantastic summer day, stands equally for days on which nothing succeeds and which only seem to be bearable with rosé, is sometimes used with a certain disparagement but also self-irony.
Nothing must, everything can. Pink, in classical paintings the color for youth, today stands for a young spirit and is no longer defined by gender.
How does the rosé wine get its color?
The colors of rosé wine range from a very delicate pale rosé, almost indistinguishable from white wine, to a darker shade, more reminiscent of orange. The lighter the shade of rosé, the greater the sales opportunities in the trade.
The color is related to the method of production of the rosé wine and the grapes used for it. There are four basic methods of making rosé wine, which vary from country to country, region to region, and winery to winery, and are readily discussed in expert circles.
The simplest method
The seemingly simplest method is to mix white wine and red wine. Banned within Europe according to European wine law. With one exception: Exclusively for the production of rosé champagne, which is regionally protected for the French region of Champagne, this method may be used.
The bloodiest method
Saignée, or bleeding, refers to a rosé wine production method in which a portion of the macerated grape juice intended for red wine production is removed from the tank after a few hours for rosé wine, while the remainder of the grape juice is allowed to develop into a concentrated classic red wine over time and further production steps.
To this day, experts quote François Millo, then President of the Provence Viticulture, who condemned the Saignée method at the International Wine Fair in London in 2012, with the view that a rosé produced in this way is not a true rosé wine.
Red wine producers using the saignée method would only be interested in making a quick extra income by filling a few bottles with rosé wine, while their true passion was for concentrated red wine.
Rosé wine produced by this method often has a pronounced aroma and by no means has to be the worse rosé wine. Monsieur Millo understandably did not see the expertise of the winemakers he represents in Provence, who have focused on the production of rosé wines for many years, appreciated.
And he had a point: many wine drinkers still don’t take rosé wine seriously, even though the quality of rosé wine has improved greatly in the last 25 years.
The time critical method
Red wine grapes are harvested in this method between 10-20 days earlier than would be the case in the production of red wine. The goal is a balance between freshness and aromaticity. If you wait a few days too long, the rosé may lack freshness, if you start harvesting too early, the aroma may come up short.
The outside temperature at the time of harvest also plays a role in the freshness of rosé, so that in warmer regions, such as Provence, harvesting is sometimes done at night to transport the grapes in cooler temperatures for further processing. The grapes are then (usually) stripped of stems and lightly crushed to allow the color and aroma compounds found in the skins to enter the juice.
The pulp, seeds, skins and juice of the grapes are transformed into the so-called mash. The longer the mash remains in this state, the more intense will be the later color and aroma of the wine. For rosé wine long few hours.
The cellar master observes the process and continuously tests the state of the mash again and again to stop the uncontrolled fermentation with the help of yeasts when he believes he has found the optimal balance between color, freshness and aroma.
Rosé wine can be made from the must juice, where the weight of the grapes alone is enough to crush, but rapid pressing of the grapes is also possible.
The coal method
More rarely, the method is used to remove the red color components from a wine that has already taken on a dark red color on its way to becoming a red wine, by means of activated carbon, and to turn a red color into a rosé. Since the activated carbon filters out not only the color but also other components that are crucial for the taste, this method is not used for quality rosé wines
The silver bullet?
Does not exist. While the blending of white and red wines is prohibited by European wine law, with the exception of champagne production, renowned American winemakers sometimes work with a combination of methods: red wine grapes are processed very quickly so that the skins can hardly release any colorants into the later wine. This very light rosé wine is then mixed with a classic red wine to obtain in this way aromatics and a darker reddish color.
All over the world there are different combinations of the above methods and every winemaker swears by his method. The contact of the grapes with the skin can last 1-2 hours, but also 24 hours.
At professional wine tastings, the specific method of production is discussed. The end consumer rarely finds any indication of the production method of the rosé wine in question. A reference on the back label of the bottle or in the description of the wine in the online store is rare.
The Rosé Dilemma
There is hardly a topic that is discussed so emotionally in viticulture. Red wine winemakers who derive part of the grape juice for the production of rosé wine using the saignée method are accused of being interested only in the easy money they make, not in the rosé wine itself.
Chateau Cash Flow is the accusation that these winemakers angrily reject, pointing to the excellent aromatics of their rosé wines.
In addition, rosé wines produced in this way often have a longer shelf life and do not have to be sold off at discounts at the end of the summer. Since these rosé wines often show a darker color, they have a harder time on the shelf against the popular very light rosé wines, which literally fly off the shelf on warm summer days.
There are winemakers who produce well-selling pale pink rosé wines to be able to pay their bills and offer true dark rosé sweethearts only at professional events or in the so-called back room. And of course, rosé wine can now be found in metal cans in the refrigerated section right next to the beer cans. Everything goes and at the same time makes it difficult for rosé wine.
Rosé wine sells itself with the image of lightness -the serious rosé wine producers argue that quality lightness is the most difficult to produce.
Rosé wine and Hollywood
The USA is, after France, the largest market for the sale and production of rosé wines. Sales of rosé wine there are growing faster than all other wine categories, with annual growth rates of 40 percent. Rosé wines take up several meters of shelf space there at some wine retailers.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got into this business very early with their Chãtau Miraval. Bon Jovi owns a winery that produces rosé wine in Languedoc, and Sarah Jessica Parker markets rosé wine from Provence with a New Zealand wine company.
Chinese rosé wine is only at the beginning of what could be another success story.
Pleasure with history
Quality rosé wine has a long European tradition, but as a niche wine. Tavel, a strong rosé wine from the southern Rhone Valley, for example, is by no means just a light summer wine, but can be stored for several years and is traditionally served with expressive fatty sausages or spicy dishes.
To categorically reject rosé wine would be a shame. Between canned rosé wine and a traditional Tavel are worlds apart with many very interesting rosé wines to discover.
A good rosé wine is by no means only a summer wine, but can be combined very well with hearty dishes. It balances the dish, but is usually lighter than a red wine. The delicious bouillabaisse and its companions baguette and the mayonnaise-like rouille are perfectly matched by an expressive rosé. Precisely because it is neither white wine nor red wine.