This wine has given us so much happiness. Now we owe it something in return.
Rosé wines from the south of France are one of life’s simple pleasures. It’s what we sip sitting on the edge of a pool, on the deck of a boat in the summer sun, or with our feet in the sand and eyes closed under a beach umbrella.
It’s an uncomplicated wine. Typically, a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and sometimes Mourvèdre, it tastes light and fresh. French rosés are relatively inexpensive, and have modest levels of alcohol, which is why they are considered an “all day” wine. And don’t worry about searching for the right vintage — these wines are best within two years of bottling. Easy.
Let’s be honest, though, it isn’t a special occasion wine and I am unlikely to order a French rosé with a fine meal. But in the right place, at the right time, with the right companions, it can be perfect.
However, for many producers and distributors of French Provencal-style rosés, the past 18 months have been anything but rosy.
First, producers were caught in a trade war between Airbus and Boeing when, in October of 2019, the Trump Administration levied a 25% tariff on French wines.
Then came the pandemic. While wine consumption at home has increased (a fact I can personally vouch for), restaurants around the world — which sell a vast majority of better wine — have essentially shut down.
Both of these factors impact nearly every French wine (champagne sales are down by tens of millions of bottles).
But one other unfortunate symptom of the pandemic hurt rosé wines most of all: The summer holiday as we know it did not happen. There were fewer get-togethers on the beach, once bustling resort towns were still, and noisy bars and restaurants went quiet. Who among us spent any time in August by a hotel pool?
Now thousands of cases of rosé are sitting unsold and, given the wine’s short shelf life, the clock is ticking.
A U.S.-based importer specializing in French rosé told WineMag.com, “One restaurant pre-ordered 200 cases and then said they would take 14. What do I do with the rest?”
Now, by some accounts, thousands of cases of this symbol of carefree days will be distilled to make hand sanitizer. If this isn’t a metaphor, I don’t know what is.
Before these wines turn into vinegar (or Purell), consider putting on your best mask and picking up a few of these rosés.
Petale De Rose (My favorite): Refreshing, with aromas of strawberry and orange sherbet. Robert Parker 90 points.
Domaines Ott: Pale pink, medium-bodied with a lemony scent before a silky peach finish. Robert Parker 91 points.
Rock Angel: Partially fermented and aged in large oak barrels, medium-bodied with mango notes and a mocha finish. Robert Parker 89 points.
Whispering Angel: Bone dry with a smooth finish. Highly approachable with peach aromas and enjoyable with a broad range of cuisine. Robert Parker 89 points.
Miraval Rosé: Youthful yet complex and minerally. Robert Parker 89 points.
While you might be tempted to reserve your rosé for this summer, don’t. I say open them now! Close your eyes, dream of the salt air, the sea breeze, and the warm sun. Give yourself — and the winemakers who helped us enjoy so many lazy afternoons — a reason to say, “à votre santé.”
Danilo Diazgranados is an investor, collector, and lover of fine wines and a member of the prestigious Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, a fraternity of Burgundy wine enthusiasts.