Rathfinny Wine Estate

The Rise of Rosé

With the launch of our sparkling wines next month and John Bon Jovi bringing out his own rosé, it got me thinking about the current upward trajectory of pink wine.

There’s no doubt, it’s a category that’s had its fair share of ups and downs. Typically viewed as too girly by men, and thanks to the American blush wines, too cloyingly sweet by others. I know that because if I ever used to order rosé whilst out with my friends, I’d never hear the end of it. Guys would have been very sure of themselves to withstand that level of stick that came with it. Nowadays, we tend to go all-in on a bottle of rosé, no questions asked. So, what happened?

Firstly, my friends were Neanderthals and have possibly evolved a bit. That aside, Provence Rosé had a lot to do with the sea change, in my view. Easily recognisable by the tall, thin bottles and with a much paler, ‘onion skin’ colour, it was a game-changer. Suddenly pink was in, far dryer and more refined than it had ever been. Not only that, but the price was significantly higher. From the bargain basement, confected stuff, we could now expect to pay around £15-£20 for a bottle of the paler upgrade from France.

Since then, there’s been a decisive movement to bring men into the category, by the annoyingly catchy name ‘brosé’. You’ve probably heard of it. This was exemplified by Justin Bieber’s recent visit to an American winery, where he apparently drank half a bottle of a Cabernet Franc-blend of rosé and began hugging fans, saying “hugs are better than photos”. A survey by the Provence Wine Council (PWC) uncovered that now in the US, Russia and Australia they have equal numbers of men and women drinking rosé. Thanks Justin…

Where does sparkling rosé fit into this then? Well, whenever I speak to members of the restaurant trade, I make a point of asking them their take on pink fizz. I’ve been told by some that if offered a glass of white or rosé sparkling, eight out of ten diners will choose rosé. Something to do with that extra decadence it offers, particularly as rosé sparkling is usually slightly more expensive thanks to the additional process of adding colour to it. I won’t bore you with the details of rosé sparkling’s food-pairing abilities, mainly because I already did that in my January blog post.

What I will say is that here at Rathfinny, we’re experiencing the popularity of sparkling rosé first-hand. There’s been such a demand by the trade, we’re already placed all of our trade stock for year one! Don’t panic though, we’ve got stock on the Estate and over double the amount produced in year two. We’ve had to be incredibly selective about who we work with, particularly in the first couple of years, but feel incredibly honoured to be working with the trade customers who have partnered up with us so far.

Not to get you too excited, but ours is going be the only sparkling rosé on the Afternoon Tea menu in one of London’s most iconic hotels during the Royal Wedding in May. More on that story later…

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