It used to be that rosè wine was perfectly acceptable. Most of it came from France, in places like Tavel and Anjou . There also used to be the funny bottles of sweet rosè from Portugal, Mateus and Lancers. The Portuguese rosè was OK for neophyte wine drinkers in the 70’s, but they were precursors of what was to come…
Sweet hordes have come from the west, marching under the cloying banner of White Zinfandel, trampling the name of dry rosè into the dust. On and on they came. And rosè hasn’t been the same since.
But things are changing. Summer is on the way, and good dry rosè is a great summer wine. I’m going to try to make the case for real rosè here. Most wine drinkers, on seeing a glass of rosè, will sneer knowingly, try to avoid a pitying look, and decline politely. Or maybe not so politely. However, it’s getting more and more difficult to be sure that the object of scorn is in fact a sweet, cloying, white Zin. More and more savvy wine drinkers are looking for good, dry rosè. I have read that rosè sells better than white in France. It is making a comeback. If it says Rosè, it’s probably dry; if it says Blush, it’s probably not.
France’s Tavel never really went anywhere; we, with our sophisticated palates, just decided to ignore it. Tavel rosè is not a cheap wine – mid teens and up. It is dry, fruity, and thoroughly enjoyable. Anyone who can get over him/herself long enough to taste it will probably like it.
There is a rosè from South Africa that I have enjoyed for the past two summers. It is from a winery called -Mulderbosch and is made primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon. You’ll find it a dry crisp wine with strawberry flavors. Another good one is from Coppola and is called Sofia Rosè. Made from Pinot Noir grown in the Carneros Region of Napa Valley, it is crisp and fruity with strawberry and cherry flavors. Maybe a little fuller flavored than the Mulderbosch. The Sofia fared very well in a blind tasting I recently attended.
A rosè will actually widen the food choices you have, from salads to burgers. I’ve heard it said that a rosè will go with any food. I don’t know if I’ll go that far, but it will pair nicely with more foods that either a cabernet or a chardonnay. Are you going to go an a picnic this summer? Take a chance and bring one of these wines along. You might just be pleasantly surprised.
The cloying foot soldiers of White Zinfandel have been slowed down. Take up your dry rosè and join the struggle! Return the good name of rosè! Wine drinkers of the world, you have nothing to lose but your White Zin!