BEING IN PR I can recognise an image problem when I see one – and rosé wine has one of the worst image problems going. It has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in recent years, but I still find that when you tell people you like a glass of rosé they look at you with a sneer or even disappointment.
But why is this? I’m the first to admit that there are some pretty awful rosé wines out there, but there are some wonderful ones too, and isn’t that also true for both red and white wine?
One of the greatest things about rosé is that it goes well with a whole variety of foods; in fact the closest thing I know of in terms of versatility is champagne. It’s less complex than some reds so it works particularly well with things like pork, chicken and unassuming fish – such as sole – and is often heralded as the wine of choice to accompany a number of international cuisines like Chinese and Indian.
The greatest rosé wines are fresh and lively, best drunk when young and have a hint of fruit that’s almost unbeatable in summer. Typical flavours you’re likely to notice are redcurrants or wild strawberries with hints of dried herbs, spice and floral notes. I also can’t over-stress to you the brilliance of a lot of rosé Champagnes.
So I’m going to bust some of the myths around rosé and try to show you why it’s one of my favourite drinks, particularly with summer (hopefully) just around the corner.
1. Rosé wine is always horribly sweet
I think part of the problem that people have when they think of rosé wine is they conjure up some of the popular sickly sweet wines of the past like Mateus or some white zinfandels.
Let me just begin by saying this: I am a dry wine drinker. Just ask Geordie, who is constantly on the hunt for the driest white wines available in any given pub, wine bar, supermarket etc for me. So if it were true that all rosé wines were sweet, I’d be the last person trying to convince you to give it a shot. And the fact of the matter is that there are thousands of great dry rosé wines out there.
2. Rosé is for girls
Okay, I’ll admit pink is not necessarily the most manly of colours and rosé wine is definitely pink, but in the new age of metrosexuality (after all, nothing beats a man in a pink shirt) can we leave that aside for one second?
Now I think part of the problem here harkens back to point 1 above, but we’ve already established that not all rosé is sweet, so that deals with that. Even so, if I had a penny for every time a man says “I’m not drinking that, it’s a girl’s drink’ about rosé”, I’d be a very wealthy woman.
I think that anyone refusing to enter the world of rosé wine simply because it is ‘girly’ is cutting themselves off from a great selection of wonderful wines for virtually no reason at all. These people just don’t deserve your respect.
3. Drinking pink wine is for novices
This is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. People assume that the grown-ups and the wine-buffs don’t touch rosé and therefore they shouldn’t either. Well this just isn’t true. Any wine buff worth his (or her) salt will enjoy rosés as well as reds and whites.
And of course pink wine is enjoyed by serious wine lovers; if they didn’t it wouldn’t be produced by virtually every wine region you can name. The people who are really serious about wine will be precisely those who know how to sniff out a good rosé, and will be the first people to tell you just how good a decent dry rosé can be.
4. Rosé is cheap
Obviously, I’m talking about ‘cheapness’ rather than affordability here, and the assumption many people have is that rosé is synonymous with cheap and nasty – this is false.
Of course there are some cheap and nasty rosés out there, just like there are many cheap and nasty reds, whites, Champagnes, fizzy wines, etc, etc…but we don’t automatically rule out red wine just because there are some cheap reds out there, do we?
What I will say about rosé is that it is often very affordable, which is, generally speaking, a point in its favour. It also means that you can discover a whole multitude of great wines without breaking the bank. And just in case you’re the kind of person who thinks just because something is inexpensive it can’t be worthwhile (I really hope you’re not) then worry not, there are also some very delicious, very expensive rosés out there which I’m sure you will love!
So I want you all to put aside snobbery for the summer, and seek out some really great, fresh, lively fruity rosés, otherwise you’ll be missing out.
Sara Benwell works in the world of PR for a London firm specialising in finance. She blogs about politics, digital, social, finance and wine. You can follow her on Twitter @SaraBenwell