Wine Review: drinking pink wine in the winter

Wine Review: drinking pink wine in the winter

I remember a time when it was difficult, if not impossible, to find rosé in the winter. When I started working in a wine shop in the early 2000s, we’d get a few pink wines in the spring – more and more each year as time went on – and they’d all sell out by the end of the summer. When the occasional customer asked for one in the winter, they were out of luck – unless we had a sad bottle of Beringer White Zinfandel floating around in the cooler.

Fast forward to 2020: rosé has become a year-round presence. This is fantastic, because pink wine is one of the most versatile food-pairing wines. It’s also just extremely tasty. 

Yet while many producers have expanded their rosé production in recent years, rosé still follows a seasonal schedule and you’ll find more in the spring than in the winter. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. It takes a few months to make rosé, so spring is when the wines from the previous year’s vintage are ready. So there will always be a rosé boom in the spring.

  2. Most producers focus on their white and/or red wines and only allot a small amount of their grapes for pink wine, so a lot of rosé is produced in relatively limited amounts. Once it’s gone, that’s it until the next year.

  3. Some rosés are the result of the saignée process, in which producers amp up the flavour and concentration of their red wines by siphoning off some of the juice during maceration. Instead of just tossing that bit of extra juice, they ferment it separately into rosé; the production run is therefore limited by nature of the production technique.
a field of purple lavender flowers
A typical scene in Provence, home of classic Provençal rosé. Sigh.
Photo by Thomas Despeyroux on Unsplash

If you look back through this blog, you’ll find an article in which I declare that I will scream if I have to write another rosé wine article. Well, here we are. I’m not screaming.

I wrote that post in response to the standard “hey it’s spring so we should write about rosé” article, of which I am very guilty of writing. I still stand by that sentiment – and you should go read that post because I think it’s as relevant as ever, particularly given how the internet continues to degrade evolve. 

If you’re looking to get started with rosé, you can do no better than going to the classic French region famous for its pink wine: Provence. Here, grapevines roll gently alongside aromatic fields of lavender and gnarly groves of ancient olive trees, an Impressionistic Elysium Field flowing towards the azure Mediterranean coast. The Henri Gaillard Côtes de Provence is a great example of Provençal rosé: simple but delicious, and absolutely perfect with traditional French fare. Bouillabaisse, anyone? 

Drinking pink wine in the winter – it’s a thing.

So there you have it – another rosé wine article, but not in the spring. Hey, maybe winter rosé will become a thing. Winter pink? Pink winter? I should start a hashtag.

Name: Henri Gaillard Côtes de Provence

Vintage: 2019
Region: Provence, France
Grape: Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre
Taste: strawberry skin, fresh raspberries, rose petal, dry spice
Texture: round and juicy fruit finishing with slate and minerals
Rating: 4 rosé wine articles out of 5

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