Why is Rosé so Popular? And Why Pale?



Did you know that rosé outsells white wines in France? Apparently it's a dominant staple in the country’s culture and cuisine, and has been the top seller since 2008. They produce 34% of all rosé made in the world. While you might associate rosé as something sweet, consumers preferences have shifted over the last 10 years to a paler, drier rosé. Now deciding on which to drink is more about the color than the grapes for most. And the most popular are the pale, perfumed ones of Southern France, most notably Côtes de Provence.

Why so faved? The region is very versatile with long, hot summers and in close proximity to the coast. The result is a pale rosé with strong fruit characteristics, plenty of bite, and a freshness and acidity on the palate. Refreshing and fabulous! You might have tried or heard of a wildly popular and highly mass-produced rosé from this region called Whispering Angel. In the words of my fave wine podcaster, Helen of Wine Face, "Whispering Angel is the McDonald's of Wine. So steer clear of it. That marketing machine has very little integrity and is not delicious. And it's bad for you. It has chemicals in it. So just DON'T DO IT." This is not to take away from the numerous FANTASTIC vineyards and rosé in France, but rather a caution to do due diligence when choosing what you drink… as opposed to drinking what you’re told to drink.

Instagram made it OK to drink rosé
— Napa winemaker Julien Fayard, a native of France

So let's talk rosé this side of the world. The U.S. has picked up speed in rosé production with 3,186 different still rosé bottlings for sale in New York City, 550 of which are made in the U.S.

There are four ways to make a rosé, but I went into detail on that in an earlier post. Winemakers here are now focusing on making "intentional" rosé as they do in Provence - picking the grapes earlier, macerating them until they desired color is achieved, and using it all for pink wine. But let's not forget, when we rush to produce wines (and mass-produce) we cut corners. We add unnatural ingredients, additives and preservatives.

What I will say about pale rosé is be careful. Some of them have bleaching agents in them. Some of them are wildly mass-produced and they have more sugar in it than you think they do.
— Helen, Wine Face Podcast

So drink pink proudly this summer, you're on trend ;) Just keep it clean-crafted, okay?


Sources/Additional Reading:

  • https://www.vogue.com/article/surprising-facts-about-rose

  • https://i-winereview.com/blog/index.php/2019/06/23/the-many-styles-of-french-rose-the-2018-vintage/

  • http://www.the-buyer.net/insight/the-style-and-colour-of-rose-is-now-increasingly-important-in-what-consumers-buy/

  • https://vinepair.com/articles/whispering-angel/

  • https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-28/a-new-wave-of-good-american-rose-wine-rivals-bottles-from-france