Some give credit to the Egyptians for its creation, others to the Greeks but most agree that France, especially Provence, has been the capital of rosé production for centuries. By the time that the Romans reached the area in 125 BC, the rosé wine produced there had a reputation across the Mediterranean for its high quality. From the delicate, dry rosé of the Anjou in the Loire valley and pale style clairets of Bordeaux, the popularity of rosé swept over all of Europe and have historically been a part of everyday life.
Pretty much every winemaking region in the world produces some sort of rosé whether it be a sparkling, still or dessert style. While European rosé has usually been produced in a dry style, it was the US that began the "blush", sweet style wines that became popular in the late 1970's. As a result, many Americans unfortunately still associate "white zinfandel" with all rosé wine and are missing out on a whole world of fabulously dry, flavorful and incredibly diverse wines.
Rosé is basically a lighter style red wine, made with red wine grape varieties, served cold. Red wine gets its color from the dark grape skins being in contact with the juice, so if you remove the skins early and shorten the time of contact, you'll get pink wine. And those same skins also give red wine its tannins, so by removing them early you get a pink wine that is structurally more similar to white.
We've always been huge fans of rosé and over the years have made a concentrated effort to educate our customers on the value of rosé for food pairing and quaffing. A good supply of them is in the shop no matter what the season, but the number of offerings increases in the summertime and our Friday tastings almost always include a rosé. Well something seemed to click last summer as New Orleanians, and the rest of the US, are finally embracing it and giving rosé its due. According to Nielsen Company, rosé sales in the US market grew 26.1% in 2011 and I excpect 2012 will see an even bigger jump.
Our efforts, combined with Bacchanal and their very popular rosé fest, WINO and other fine wine shops in the city, have paid off and people are coming to the shop in droves wanting to experiment with rosé. In fact our best selling wine over the past two weeks has been the 2011 Charles & Charles Syrah Rosé with 10 cases sold in less than 2 weeks!