My sister adores rosé wine, so when we visited France recently, I took her to one of the many large French grocery stores and introduced her to the rosé wine aisle. She nearly swooned in delight. Various-pink and salmon hued bottles of wine were lined up on both sides of a very long aisle. The wines were from all regions of France, including Provence, the Rhone, Languedoc, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace, and other locals. In fact, the rose wine aisle in French grocery stores is usually similar in size and length to the red and white wine aisles, because 35% of French people drink rose (Frank, 2018). Now this same trend is sweeping America, making people wonder if we will soon have similar size rose wine aisles in our grocery stores.
The Rise of Provence Style Rose Wine in America
Trends in wine come and go. Remember the Mateus craze for semi-sweet pink frizzante wine from Portugal in the 1980’s and white zinfandel in the 1990’s? Now pink-hued wines are back in style again, but this time as an elegant dry style, based on the roses from Provence, France. In fact, according to Impact Databank, sales of imported rose wine grew 44% in the past two years in the US.
Part of the reason for the increased popularity of rose is a dedicated wine marketing campaign by the Provence Wine Council, who several years ago, re-organized with a focus on increasing sales globally. Their efforts have paid off handsomely with an increase of 40% volume in the past several years (Haller et al, 2016). In the US, imports of Provence rose have grown at double-digit rates since 2003, according to the Provence Wine Council.
Star power from Hollywood is also part of the rose allure. When Brat Pitt and Angelina Jolie purchased a wine estate in Provence and introduced Miraval rose to the US market, sales of the wine immediately took off. More recently, Jon Bon Jovi and his son paired up with French rose winemaker, Gerard Bertrand, to produce a new rose called Diving Into Hampton water (Sciaretta, 2018). The rapid fire sales of rose across the nation have also encouraged hundreds of US wineries to jump on the rose band wagon and offer new pink-hued options to their line-up of wines.
The Three Major Styles of Rose
Many Americans are attracted to rose wine because of its light refreshing taste and lack of pretense. It is fun to drink as a cocktail beverage, or as a pairing with many types of food, including various appetizers, seafood, grilled vegetables, fruits, salads, and poultry dishes.
There are also three major styles of rose, which can be produced from almost any type of red grape. However, the most common are grenache, syrah, cinsault, and pinot noir, or a blend of different grapes. The three styles are:
- Provence Style: Pale salmon color, light elegant body, and dry finish. Usually with a floral and citrusy note
- International Style: Medium-hued pink with more pronounced fruity style with a hint of sweetness. Often with strawberry, raspberry and watermelon notes.
- Tavel Style: Darker-pink, medium-bodied with slight touch of tannins. A more masculine, powerful style of rose, which can pair well with barbeque. Named after the Travel rose wine region of France.
Frank, M. (2018). Rose’s New Era. Wine Spectator, June 30, 2018.
Haller, C., Bede, S., Courderc, M and Millo, F. (2016). Pink Wine and Movie Stars: How the Provence Wine Trail Was Established. Chapter in Thach, L. & Charters, S. (eds.) Best Practices in Global Wine Tourism. NY: Miranda Press.
Impact Databank (2017). Available at: http://www.shankennewsdaily.com/index.php/impact-databank-report/
Sciaretta, G. (2018). Jon Bon Jovi Dives into Wine. Wine Spectator, June 30, 2018.
Wines of Provence (2019). Provence Export Stats. Available at: http://www.provencewineusa.com/site/market-stats