29 March 2009

Oh, For the Love of Rosé

FRENCH WINE PRODUCERS are up in arms over the new EU standards recently announced relating to the production and sale of rosé wine. Why the fuss? The new standards would allow vinters to produce rosé by simply mixing red and white wines together.

Sacre bleu!

French vinters who specialize in rosé -- many from right here in Provence -- are obviously upset with these new regulations because French rosés are created with a far more subtle and difficult process that has been perfected over hundreds of years (leading, they would argue, to a much better quality wine). A spokesman for vinyards in the south of France recently told a newspaper that the new regulations would flood the market with cheap rosé 'imitations' and deflate world-wide prices.

France's enthusiasm for rosé baffles some wine purists (usually the pretentious ones) who dismiss the pink-colored wine as 'low-grade plonk.' But rosé now out-paces white wine in terms of sales in France (1/5 of overall wine sales in France) and over the past decade or so even some of the world-class enthusiasts are admitting that rosé wines can be very good. Most of the negative reviews over the years have come thanks to the saccharine-laced varieties produced for cheap out of California.

Mixing red with white to make pink is currently allowed in New World producer regions such as Australia or California but it remains extremely rare, and is frowned upon by most producers -- especially in France and Spain. The EU will make it's final vote on April 27.


dianne is for paris said...

What would summer be like in France without good rose.

Michel said...

Forget Paris, what would Provence and South of France be like without the dry crisp rose produced in the region. The thing that has made rose from this region so great is the method that has been used as opposed to California where wine makers are hesitant to make them totally dry and crisp since they want to keep them some what white zinfandel like. Horrible. I hope this is rejected. French rose wine is already so cheap, I can't believe that lower prices will get more sales in US.

French for a While said...

I knew you'd have some thoughts, Michel. Bravo.

kirsten said...

sacre bleu indeed! I can't imagine not celebrating the first hot weekend of summer without a good Provencal rose. I vote no.