Rosé conjures images of warm summer days and cool ocean breezes. Sounds magical, right? And it is, but the idea that rosé is just for the summer is an attitude that is changing – and so are the styles on offer, finds wine influencer and consultant Emmanuel Mireku (aka @mannydoeswine)
There is a market for red berries and fruity rosé in hotter months, but big brands such as Whispering Angel are promoted throughout the year,” wine consultant Roger Jones tells me at a recent tasting.
Jones, who used to run The Harrow restaurant at Little Bedwyn in Wiltshire, believes that having a “refreshing, crisp rosé on a cold Sunday in November with a shoulder of lamb will bring a ray of sunshine into the room”.
Whispering Angel and fellow Provence rosés are still big business and, according to the CIVP, Provence produced 150 million bottles in 2020, with the UK one of the top importers.
The pale rosé style remains popular for a few key reasons: it’s a lifestyle indicator and it’s eye-catching. The idea that rosé can be a more seasonally versatile wine is echoed by Paul Braydon, wine buyer for Kingsland Drinks. He says consumers of all ages enjoy different styles of rosé at different times of year, and on different consumption occasions.
“Of course, there are fashions,” he adds. “At the moment, the Provençal style is still popular – but at the other end the much heavier, sweeter White Zinfandel styles are still the biggest volume sellers.”
Braydon reports strong rosé sales over the Christmas period, further showing the style is not just a seasonal drink.
The popularity of this wine is also creating opportunities elsewhere. The choice of rosé products is growing, with the fairly recent inclusion of Prosecco DOC Rosé, for example, adding not only a new style of rosé but a new style of fizz. And there is room for more diversity in rosé.
At the Hallgarten & Novum annual tasting last month, I sampled an amazing wine from Greece, 4-6H Rosé by Gaia Wines, made using Agiorgitiko grapes. This was an intensely aromatic rosé with flavours of strawberry, stone fruits and pomegranate.
There were other rosé wines that stood out, from Italy to the UK, giving an indication of what the world has to offer.
Argentina is also making strides to take a share of the rosé market, with Catena launching Catena Rosé. The wine has a pale pink hue, evoking a visual connection to the Provence classics, but it’s a blend of Malbec, Grenache, Syrah, Sauvignon and Chenin, soon to be distributed in the UK by Bibendum.
Laura Catena, fourth generation vintner, managing director of Catena Zapata and founder of the Catena Institute of Wine, says: “There is very little Argentinian rosé. However, following some lengthy research and assessing market trends showing rosé has consistently gained a share of premium wine over the past two years, there is a clear opportunity for a premium Malbec rosé.”
Rosé also continues to transcend the narrative of gender. Gone are the days when such wine was imbibed by a single demographic – rosé has begun to appeal to many people as simply another wine option, and ultimately makes the wine industry more diverse. There is clearly room for rosé to keep expanding.