Why Rosé Is the Perfect Anti-Wine

There's a good reason why the affordable, easy-drinking wine is rising in popularity

OK gang, let’s hear it for anti-wine. But, before you erupt in a thunderous ovation, let’s first define the term.

For me, anti-wine is one that is balanced and tasty without being over the top. Why is that "anti," you might ask? Well, today a lot of people equate wine with a number, and the bigger the number the better the wine is supposed to be. In today’s world, anti-wines can’t compete for big numbers because most of the big-numbers boys only give big scores to the biggest wines. In some circles the alcohol has to be at least 15 percent to even qualify for the big numbers derby.

Anti-wines do not qualify. Anti-wines are balanced, tasty, very enjoyable, and drinkable. They are not big and dense. In this sense, rosé is the perfect anti-wine. It is anti-big numbers, and anti-sip and spit scoring. It is anti-massive tastings with hundreds of wines.

That is all of what rosé is not. And, that is good. That assures that rosé will never be put at the altar of the big numbers gods.

"Collectors" will not be drawn in because of the lack of scores, and that it is a wine that is naturally meant to be enjoyed young. That’s great for those of us who really like to drink rosé and enjoy it with a wide variety of foods. This is also a guarantee that the wines will remain affordable. It is not likely to become steroidal, get the big three-digit score, and spoil the party for the rest of us. And, in this country, wine drinkers are taking notice. The trend to more affordable, food-friendly, drinkable wines is continuing and is one of my forecasts for 2012, along with the continued increase in the popularity of rosé and especially those from Provence.

Recently, Nielsen released its numbers for imported 2011 rosé sales in the U.S., and they are up, up, and away! This report speaks to imported rosé wines priced at $12 and above, but there are also quite a large number sold here with lower price points and I am sure that those also experienced a large surge in growth. But, as the report concludes, premium rosé is the segment where Provence is the leader. 

For the many years that I have been drinking rosés, there has never been a vintage that did not produce an abundance of delicious wines — and 2011 will be no exception. The growers I visited in Provence last fall were very excited about their 2011s. Although it was too early to taste them when I was there, I had no doubt that their assessment was accurate.

So when you see the 2011 rosés, pounce! Try a few and make your own assessment.

— John Tilson, The Underground Wineletter

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