I remember asking my mother once what that pink drink was that all the adults were sipping at some wine country event. It was almost neon and my twelve-year-old brain instantly associated it with soda. Naturally I wanted some. She replied with “Oh that’s rosé, the Koolaid of wine,” which did nothing to lessen my desire for it. But I was bustled away before I could be corrupted by syrupy-sweet white zinfandel. And also, you know, probably to keep alcohol out of my twelve-year-old grasp. I grew up believing that rosés were inherently bad, somehow immoral, and should be avoided at all costs. If you found yourself stuck at a party serving rosé you would grin and bear it and then complain to your friends afterwards about that vile pink drink.
And ten years ago that was mostly true. When Americans thought of rosé memories of sickening sweetness and awful hangovers came to mind. But rosés are forging a new path in the American marketplace. Consumers of fine wines are finally realizing that this weird pink stuff doesn’t always have to be the leftovers of what didn’t make it into that sixty dollar bottle of Napa Cabernet. More winemakers are setting out with the intention of making a dry, high quality rosé from the start and consumers are starting to take note. Rosé sales by January of this year had grown 38% over 2013, marking the 9th straight year of double-digit growth in the US. Where before rosés were relegated to the bottom shelf at Safeway, they are now written about in featured articles in Wine Spectator. No longer will your wine aficionado friends turn their nose up at a gift of pink wine in a bottle, many are instead delighted. And it’s easy on the wallet. You’d be hard-pressed to find a rosé for over thirty dollars, and buying a bottle between ten and fifteen isn’t the Russian Roulette that reds and whites are at that price. Many of my generation have discovered wines through rosés because they didn’t want to break the bank on that bottle of Cab.
So I think Senses should make a rosé. Max, Chris and I are all very excited about the idea and we hope we can make one for the 2014 vintage. What are your thoughts? Is anyone else as excited about a rosé of Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast as I am? If so, maybe you’ll see a bottle of pink wine with that redwood leaf on it in the near future!