Rosé wine has a history almost as old as recorded civilization. Its pinkish colour arises from the skins of crushed red or purple grapes that winemakers leave in the juice for a short time before fermenting. Vintners widely use Zinfandel grapes for this purpose. The resulting rosé wine is somewhat sweet and possesses tannic flavours. Over centuries, rosé wine has enjoyed great popularity despite not always being considered a fashionable drink.
Greek colonists in Anatolia transported grapes to southern France in the 6th century B.C. Field workers there stomped red and white grapes to produce a pink wine that became favoured by people throughout the Mediterranean.
Throughout the Middle Ages, a rosé wine called claret gained ground throughout France. The English then became enamoured with claret. By the 19th century, rosé wine was commonplace at tourist resorts in Southern France, and the drink became associated with the leisure class.
North American Market
By the 20th century, commercial producers were selling rosé wine in North America. It was originally sold in a ceramic bottle that allowed oxidization to happen quickly. At this point, rosé wine had lost its high status, and serious wine drinkers avoided it.
Things began to change in the 1980s when Sutter Home White Zinfandel sold spectacularly well throughout North America. Despite high sales, rosé wine remained unfashionable in elite circles until French pink wines took hold in the 2000s when celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt elevated the profile of the beverage.
21st Century Resurgence
American and French winemakers continue to produce rosé wines that meet with public approval. Hundreds of thousands of bottles of rosé wines made from blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel have come out of California alone in recent years.
Rosé wine has achieved new levels of acceptance and praise in the 21st century. Its long history proves that it can easily weather changes in fashion. Many wine drinkers seek out its lightly bodied flavour. If you want to explore the rosé wines of the world, visit us at St. Regis Fine Wine and Spirits, a premier wine store in Vancouver.