Should rosé wines be taken seriously?

There is an awful lot of rosé out there. Most wine regions of the world are jumping on the bandwagon and hoping that their pale-pink Provençal looky-likey wines will provide early $$ into their coffers (given that rosé is made from red grapes, many strapped producers therefore appreciate the revenues coming in earlier than with their red wines). It’s true that there are many consumers of rosé who only indulge their pink passions whilst on holiday in the sun and will not let objectivity get in the way of them having a good time. This has created an imperfect storm for substandard rosé attracting undiscerning quaffers. Which could, on the face of it and as a producer of award-winning, 90+ scoring rosé, lead me to think – why bother with all that effort of making my wine taste really nice?

Well, that’s the whole point. Rosé is undoubtedly going though a [pale] purple patch right now and many wine lists are now accommodating the public’s seemingly insatiable desire for a bottle of pink. And whilst this may smack of tokenism, we see this is as as golden opportunity to show the consumer (and the sommelier) what ‘good’ can actually taste like.

The reality is that there is a country mile between the watery, bland and often over-acidic rosés from lazy or cynical producers and the sublime, more-ish nectar that is coming from the better rosé producers around the world. And none more so than in Provence where a gulf still exists between the good, the bad and the ugly, but it is becoming smaller and the good are becoming really good and at times downright exquisite. Sure it might be tough to detect terroir in even a good glass of rosé and it’ll never demand the sensorial concentration required to appreciate a 1973 Corton-Charlemagne, but there are definitely Provence rosés that can stop you in your tracks and make you wonder why these wines aren’t taken more seriously.

Which goes some of the way to explain why the producers in Provence have set up a “Centre de Recherche et d’Expérimentation sur le vin Rosé” (The Rosé Wine Experimentation and Research Center) where they constantly play with all the different parameters to understand how we can make our rosés better and better.

So whilst there may be no need to pontificate, intellectualise or wine-snob a glass of rosé, there is every reason to pause and think about how it tastes and how much you enjoy it. It’s important to realise that the colour of the rosé is not an indicator of quality and you need your olfactory system fully functioning and to remain a discerning consumer.

And then order a jeroboam and enjoy it with your best friends in the world!

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