We had a surplus of sample wines at Cheers headquarters recently, and the team members were all picking out a bottle or two of wine to enjoy at home. “I guess I’ll take this rosé, since my wife likes sweet wines,” said one colleague.
The wine he had selected, a Russian River Valley rosé of pinot noir, certainly looked liked it would taste sweet—its deep-pink color brought to mind Strawberry Kool-Aid. But while the rosé did impart some flavors of strawberry, as well as plum, it was crisp, refreshing and anything but overly sweet.
The perception that all rosés are sweet is a lingering one in the U.S. Why is that?
Many of us started drinking wine the same way we started drinking coffee: light and sweet. White zinfandel, moscato and other sweeter “blush” wines are often the first wines people taste.
And given that young consumers typically don’t have much disposable income, they’re not buying the best of the barrel. So as their tastes change, and they move on to drier varieties, many wine drinkers don’t return to pink wines.
Rose-colored wines still get dismissed as cheap and sweet—even by people that profess to know a lot about wine. That’s a shame, as this major misconception is preventing people from trying some amazing wines. Plenty of red-wine drinkers would probably enjoy a glass of cool, crisp rosé this summer if they knew what they were missing.
As the article “The Bloom is on Rosé” points out, customers who appreciate rosés are beginning to spread the word, as are many restaurant wine directors. But the pink wine still has a ways to go before it gains widespread acceptance in the U.S.
If you’re looking for a good rosé to try or recommend, quite a few pop up among the Cheers national wine panel’s favorite summer wines. The descriptions and ratings for the panel’s picks can be found here.
We also look at the trends of locavore drinks, session beers and low-alcohol cocktails. And our cover story on vodka highlights some new and noteworthy brands and offers tips on marketing high-end vodkas.
Not that operators really need help selling vodka; it’s the world’s most-consumed spirit. But as more premium vodkas enter the market and become known for nuanced taste profiles rather than neutral mixability, it will be important to be able to distinguish the key characteristics of the different types.