John Stimp­fig

‘In France, rosé has out­sold white wine ev­ery year since 2009’

Decanter - - CONTENTS - John Stimp­fig is con­tent di­rec­tor of De­can­ter

I have no idea whether it was the chicken or the egg which ini­tally prompted the re­mark­able rise of rosé in re­cent times. Was it the dra­matic im­prove­ment in qual­ity that fired the cat­e­gory’s ex­po­nen­tial sales growth over the last 10 years? or did a spon­ta­neous spike in sales en­cour­age pro­duc­ers to sud­denly up their game. What is in no doubt is that rosé has en­tered a vir­tu­ous cir­cle of ever-in­creas­ing quan­tity, qual­ity and pop­u­lar­ity.

The fig­ures are ex­tra­or­di­nary. For in­stance, in 2015, US sales of rosé in­creased by 58% in vol­ume terms and 60% by value. In France, rosé has out­sold white wine ev­ery year since it first over­took it in 2009.

When I be­gan drink­ing wine, such sta­tis­tics were unimag­in­able. Mainly be­cause of how ex­e­crably bad most rosé was. In those hap­pily dim and dis­tant days, it was re­garded as an af­ter­thought. es­sen­tially, it was a by-prod­uct of red wine, bot­tled in bulk to be flogged off. Back then, pink mostly meant plonk.

Today it’s a very dif­fer­ent story, even at the cheap-and-cheer­ful end of the rosé mar­ket. The profit mo­tive has spurred com­pe­ti­tion and in­cen­tivised grow­ers and wine­mak­ers to im­prove qual­ity rad­i­cally. While there is still bad rosé out there, most pro­duc­ers are giv­ing it the cor­rect amount of care and at­ten­tion in the vine­yard and win­ery. and it shows in the glass.

But it is at the pin­na­cle of the rosé mar­ket where the changes have been the most marked. For more than a decade, we’ve seen the emer­gence of a whole new cat­e­gory of se­ri­ously good gas­tro­nomic rosés (see Top 30 tast­ing, p28) with fine wine prices to match. It be­gan in rosé’s Provençal home­land, but is now spread­ing far and wide.

Mak­ing this style of wine well isn’t easy to do. It re­quires in­vest­ment, ex­pe­ri­ence and skill. The cor­rect sites must be sought and planted with the most ap­pro­pri­ate grapes and clones. Pick­ing dates are ab­so­lutely cru­cial, be­cause you want just enough sweet fruit and soft acid­ity to pro­duce a com­plex, sup­ple, nu­anced and above all charm­ingly drink­able wine. as for the knife-edge vini­fi­ca­tion stage, that’s pos­si­bly the most chal­leng­ing of all.

So it’s lit­tle won­der that the best of these more se­ri­ous wines are nudg­ing fine wine prices. For my money, though, these top-end vins de plaisirs are worth ev­ery penny.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.