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Wild About Rosé Tasting Series

Beth Ribblett

Some give credit to the Egyptians for its creation, others to the Greeks but most agree that France, especially Provence, has been the capital of rosé production for centuries.  By the time that the Romans reached the area in 125 BC, the rosé wine produced there had a reputation across the Mediterranean for its high quality. From the delicate, dry rosé of the Anjou in the Loire valley and pale style clairets of Bordeaux, the popularity of rosé swept over all of Europe and have historically been a part of everyday life.

Pretty much every winemaking region in the world produces some sort of rosé whether it be a sparkling, still or dessert style. While European rosé has usually been produced in a dry style, it was the US that began the "blush", sweet style wines that became popular in the late 1970's.   As a result, many Americans unfortunately still associate "white zinfandel" with all rosé wine and are missing out on a whole world of fabulously dry, flavorful and incredibly diverse wines.

Rosé is basically a lighter style red wine, made with red wine grape varieties, served cold.  Red wine gets its color from the dark grape skins being in contact with the juice, so if you remove the skins early and shorten the time of contact, you'll get pink wine.  And those same skins also give red wine its tannins, so by removing them early you get a pink wine that is structurally more similar to white.

We've always been huge fans of rosé and over the years have made a concentrated effort to educate our customers on the value of rosé for food pairing and quaffing.  A good supply of them is in the shop no matter what the season, but the number of offerings increases in the summertime and our Friday tastings almost always include a rosé.  Well something seemed to click last summer as New Orleanians, and the rest of the US, are finally embracing it and giving rosé its due. According to Nielsen Company, rosé sales in the US market grew 26.1% in 2011 and I excpect 2012 will see an even bigger jump.

Our efforts, combined with Bacchanal and their very popular rosé fest, WINO and other fine wine shops in the city, have paid off and people are coming to the shop in droves wanting to experiment with rosé.  In fact our best selling wine over the past two weeks has been the 2011 Charles & Charles Syrah Rosé with 10 cases sold in less than 2 weeks!

So I've been on a quest to find the best of the 2011 rosés, telling our reps to bring them in as soon as they arrive so we can taste and decide which of these lovely, refreshing pink wines we should stock for your, and our, drinking pleasure.  As promised, we've been sorting our of favorites to taste at our Flite Nite on Wednesday, April 18.  But since there are so many good rosés continuing to come in, I've decided to hold 3 different tastings over the summer with the first featuring the impeccable wines from Southern France.  So please join us this Wednesday for Wild About Rosé Part I, a flight of 6 wines from France.  The tasting is $15 and will feature 6 wines presented by myself, Mike Fabianski and sommelier Kimi Kirivania and I can't tell you how excited we all are about this event!  Due to the interest we've received, reservations are recommended, call 504.304.0635 to hold your spots.  We will accepts walk-ins as spacing permits.