Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Evolution of Rose

It wasn't long ago that wine consumers view of Rose was as overly sweet, much like White Zinfandel, which was actually created by accident. Sutter Home was trying to make a dry, almost white wine with their red zinfandel grapes. During this process they experienced stuck fermentation in which the yeast dies before all the sugar is consumed, thus creating a sweet, pink wine. Sutter Home preferred the "mistake" wine, released it and it took off like gangbusters. This was back in 1975 and this wine, while technically not a Rose, became many Americans’ first impression of a Rose type wine.

This impression actually began quite a bit earlier. In France, "pink" wines were the first to be produced. In historic times, before modern winemaker techniques were developed, wines were made with low maceration which gave it its light color. After WWII, two Portuguese winemakers released a slightly sweet, sparkling Rose-like wine in Europe and the U.S. and set sales records. 

Meanwhile, in Provence, quality Rose's were being produced in 125BC and by the 14th Century became the wine of kings and aristocrats. Today, Rose production is around half to two thirds of all wine produced in Provence. With its food friendly, light crisp style, the region became synonymous with Rose and became the "go to" region for U.S. drinkers who slowly began to discover that "pink" doesn't necessarily mean sweet.  

At approximately 13%, the U.S. is now the second largest consumer of Rose' wine, behind only France. So how did we get here? Some say the trend began in The Hamptons where about five years ago, drinking Rose became a lifestyle and was known as "Hamptons Gatorade". Others theorize that the influx of Europeans, and their love of Rose, helped re-introduce it to Americans. Either way, the popularity surge has been good for everyone. Rose's made from a variety of grapes and regions, both Old and New World, are gaining in popularity throughout the U.S.

"Rose season" used to start in the summer. Now it begins in the spring and is practically year round. Here at Windsor Wine, the process began in February when we began tasting lots of Rose in order to find what we considered the best for our customers. Our selection includes not only Provence, but Rose from all over France as well Spain, Italy, South Africa and the U.S. Whether you're looking for light and crisp, full and fruity or something in between, we have something to please every palate.