Some facts about rose’ wines, and brut rose’ sparkling wines:
France leads global production of rosé with over 193 million gallons produced in 2015, according to the Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) and the Provence Wine Council (CIVP). France is not only the largest producer, but also the largest consumer by volume and the largest exporter of rosé wines! Spain (123.2 million gallons), the U.S. (96.2 million gallons), and Italy (58 million gallons) are the other leading rosé producers.
I put white zin in this email as well:
Many significant wine related events happened globally in 1973, but the creation of white zinfandel wasn’t among them. California’s Sutter Home actually introduced white zin the year before–in 1972. It wasn’t until 1975, however, that white zinfandel became the sweetish wine it is today. In that year, Sutter Home accidentally “discovered” the off-dry style of white zin thanks to a stuck fermentation. The very large producers Beringer and Woodbridge introduced their white zins soon after.
And a word about cava:
Since its beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century, cava (Spanish sparkling wine) has been readily consumed by the middle classes. Barcelona has dozens of xampanyeria, wine bars specializing in it. It’s a Catalonian family tradition to drive to wine country on Saturdays for a picnic of cava and grilled lamb. Bodegas sell locally raised lamb and rent outdoor stone fireplaces. Of course, the sparkler is also sipped ceremoniously. At a baptism everyone drinks cava, even the baby, whose pacifier is dipped in the bubbly. Not to be left out (cava is a wine for everyone after all) and possibly more important, as a way of keeping them quiet in church, other babies may be given the same treat.
What happened in 1764?
It was the year in which the first rosé Champagne was sold. Shipped from the house of Ruinart on March 14, 60 bottles of this rosé were sent to Baron de Welzel of Germany. The rosé was referred to as Oeil de Perdrix (“Eye of the Partridge”), described as a delicate, coppery pink similar to the color of a recently-shot bird’s eyes.
And to pay the Piper:
I’m sure the Champenoise weren’t too crazy about this… In 1919, the American Tobacco Company featured “Piper Heidsieck Chewing Tobacco,” as a way to entice people to chew more tobacco. The tobacco itself was high-quality white Burley tobacco picked ripe. According to the United States Tobacco Journal, “Piper” was unequalled for chewing, and the rare Burley leaf was made even more delicious by blending it to achieve a flavor like Piper Heidsieck Champagne. Apparently if you chewed “Piper” once, you’d never be satisfied with any other tobacco.
No more eating dirt:
Potential number of living creatures in one gram of soil. (In less biodiverse soils, the number may be as low as 10,000 organisms.) Most of these creatures are bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoans, along with larger but still microscopic insects and insect larvae. According to soil scientists, no environment on earth is more biologically diverse, per unit area, than soil. The picture above is one of the creatures, called a tardigrade.
And to go full circle on rose’:
Over the last couple of years, the increase in rosé sales has been so astronomical that wineries you’d never imagine making a rosé are making one. (Harlan and Screaming Eagle are still holding out).
The obvious question is why and why now? What’s driving the pink tsunami?
Intellectual comfort for one thing. You don’t have to know a single thing about wine to order a rosé. With white and red wine, at the very least, you have to know the varietal you want. Not with rosé. In fact, so few people seem concerned about the grapes in the bottle that wineries often don’t list them on the label at all. (Pinot noir producers are an exception).
How and when to drink a rosé is also pretty hassle-free. You don’t have to let it breathe or use special glasses or think for a minute about the “right” food pairing. “Chill and drink” is as fussy as it gets.
Back in the day, rosé owned summer. It was a way of imagining that one was hanging out in cafés in St. Tropez perhaps. But rosé’s easy poise between white wine and red wine means that it’s no longer confined to a season. Check out the expanding rosé category on wine lists year-round.
But what I find most interesting about the rosé phenomenon is its increasing acceptance among men. In fact, more than acceptance. Men now appear to embrace rosé in a way no one could have predicted. That, I think is an aspect of our overall “evolving” culture. (See my video, “Maybe We’re All Just Evolved,” on this). Just as wearing a pink shirt is no longer taboo for a large swath of men, ordering a glass of dry pink wine is also no big deal. Would a group of four men going out for a business dinner order white wines?
So, who drinks this stuff?
A full 20% of wine consumers enjoyed a glass of rosé in the last month, according to the E. & J. Gallo 2018 Consumer Alcohol Beverage Survey. The most likely age demographic to purchase pink vino are millennials (born 1980-2000). Millennials, in fact, are twice as likely to purchase a bottle of rosé as Baby Boomers (born in the 1940s-1960s).
Does color matter?
The color of the rosé does not indicate the intensity of its flavor. (This is true for all wines). However, current data shows that color is a confusing issue for rosé drinkers, who increasingly prefer lighter-colored rosés. Elizabeth Gabay, author of Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution, reports that consumers associate pale rosé with the popular Provençal rosé, and therefore assume it is better in quality.
Today, I think it’s more likely they’d order a bottle of rosé.
Bottom line: Drink what you like, at a good price point for you. Don’t get caught up in all the hype about French or whatever!!!!
**Many thanks to Winespeed’s Karen McNeil.