International Rosé Day is June 10th!
In my mind, there are a few misconceptions about rosé wine: it is a summertime wine, it should be consumed immediately upon release, and it can never be considered a “serious wine.” Long before I moved to Houston, I was a strong proponent of the “rosé any day” theory and we would often pull a cork from a bottle of pink that had been chilled in a snow bank.
I doubt there will be any wine chilling outdoors in my foreseeable future, however, as “winter” in Houston lasted for all of three days this year—it got into the 20s on three consecutive nights in January and people lost their minds. Our rosé consumption has increased dramatically, though, since I have to admit that a nicely chilled rosé on a warm day is a blessing—and we have plenty of warm days down here (it was 80° on Christmas Day, after all).
While I will remain a “rosé any day” proponent (which might be seen as disingenuous given the weather patterns in my current city), most of the wine drinking world still sees it as a summer-only beverage. So instead of continually swimming against that relentless tide, I have decided to embrace it this year and dedicate the summer, at least in part, to slightly pigmented wines.
Thus, even though summer does not officially start for another few weeks, I hereby declare the Summer of Rosé officially open.
Well, that is not entirely true.
Right after I moved to the Bayou City (that’s Houston, in case you were not aware), I was invited to visit Provence on a press trip at the end of September last year. I have spent more than my fair share of time in France, even in Provence, but when I was asked to join the trip, I gleefully accepted. Sure, I was familiar with the area and the wines, but I jump at any chance I get to return to my adopted second home.
The organizers of the trip asked if I would be willing to fly over a day earlier since it would save several hundred dollars in airfare.
I flew into Marseilles, and then was quickly whisked off to Saint Raphaël, a sleepy little beach town on the Côte d’Azur, the French Riviera. After a quick nap, I was off to explore the town and look for a power cord for my computer, having conveniently left it at home.
While I was not successful in finding the cord, I did find a bottle of Domaines Terres Destel Cotes de Provence Blanc for 8€90 (about $10) at the Sparr market (about the size of a 7-11, but a bona fide grocery store) down the street from the hotel. Sure, it was not rosé, but Provençal whites are exceedingly difficult to find in the U.S. (they only represent 5% of the total production in Provence). Made from the Rolle grape (heathens often refer to it as “Vermentino”), it was fruity and delicious. Exactly what was needed to sit out on my balcony to welcome the approaching evening. The wine, in addition to being very tasty, was produced at a winery located right in Saint Raphael, which only heightened the experience. Tart with plenty of body, it was a wonderful introduction to the trip and to the town. And the view didn’t hurt either. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
The following day, with the morning and afternoon free, I set out for some more exploring of Saint Raphaël and I walked by the local fish monger who was preparing a huge paella for lunch that afternoon. Even though lunch was still a few hours away, I attempted to sit down and dine right away, but with typical French résistance, the owner politely refused as they were not open yet.
Thus, I ventured further into town, where I ran into another writer on the trip, Michelle Williams, author of the Rockin Red Blog. After minimal convincing, Michelle agreed to meet me back at the fish monger at noon, when the shop would be open. While it was a bit lacking in glamour, it more than made up for it in flavor and local flair.
The owner did not ask, he simply brought over a bottle of rosé and placed it on the table, explaining that it was a local producer and he bought the entire production every year. He insisted we had to try it. Who was I to refuse?
The year-long Summer of Rosé had begun.