The rise of rosé

(C) 2008 iStockphoto LPTravelling in France last summer, it came as a surprise to see so many diners selecting rosé to drink with their meal.

While France’s wine growers battle lower consumption and persistent overproduction, pink wine is enjoying popularity as never before.

Driven in part by the heat of summer, sale of rosé has overtaken that of white. In 2007, over one in five bottles of wine sold in France was a rosé, with the gains coming from falling sales of red.

Pink wine is in vogue among French youth as a light-hearted, festive drink to be enjoyed with scant regard for labels, vintages, grape varietals and origin. Drunk at lunch and the evening meal, rosé is seen as perfect for an aperitif and light evening drinking.

Market research confirms that rosé wine is being drunk by men and women, young and old, and from across the cultural and economic divides. In the UK, consumption of rosé by young women is rocketing.

And these are not just the sweet rosé and blush styles. Today’s more sophisticated drinkers are increasingly selecting more delicate, drier wines.

A remarkable range of varietal characteristics can be savored in a fine rosé and I will talk about the effect of production method and grape variety on colour and taste in later posts.

Blending work with pleasure after last night’s concert at Sandalford Wines (thank you Leonard Cohen and Paul Kelly for an amazing night of sublime songs and superb musicianship), the glass of dry Treeton Estate  2008 Veronica with a salad of roast lamb, fetta,sun-dried tomato and rocket at lunch was a perfect match for this summer day.

John Simmonds