National Rosé Day

National Rosé Day, June 9th

If you think it’s a bit strange to have a dedicated holiday just for that wine, let me tell you - dry rosés are all the rage.  And it’s about time we celebrated! 

In the Mediterranean countries, rosés have been considered a delight and a necessity for at least 3,000 years since the Ancient Greeks brought them to Rome. The Ancient Romans discovered that sunny Provence in southern France was not only the ideal place for retirement; they discovered that its dry, stony hill sides produced excellent vineyards. And that is still true. Of the many rosés on the market around the world, well more than half are still produced there, and locals and tourists alike still sit, absorbing the glorious Provencal  sun and enjoying a chilled glass of refreshing, tangy rosé.

So what is rosé? It is pink wine that comes in every possible hue of pink from palest, peachy pink to deep rosy pink. It can be lightly sweet, though sweet domestic rosés like so called “White” Zinfandel are often referred to as “blush” wines.  Rosés are generally crisp and citrusy, often quite tart, with refreshing, light, fresh strawberry/ watermelon and stony mineral flavors.

Rosé can be made from many different red skinned grapes, its lovely colors generally achieved by pulling the juice from the fermenting vats off the macerating grape skins (the source of color in almost all wines) before the wine is fully red.  Only in the case of pink champagnes is the color achieved by blending red wine with white.

There are a lot of myths surrounding rosé. People have pooh-poohed it as a girly wine, sweet, not a serious wine, a summer only guzzler. None of that is true! Real men do drink pink, most rosé is not sweet at all, it is delicious year round, and it is a very serious wine, taken very seriously by wine geeks, sommeliers and critics as well as by the growing armies of wine lovers.

For a long time, you could never find a real rosé on a restaurant menu. Nowadays, even in Michigan, there is a dry rosé on nearly every restaurant menu and at least a dozen in your local wine store. Case in point: D&W Fresh Market and Forest Hills Foods have been featuring several “real” rosés for decades, but in the last few years, more this year than any other, spring has brought us a flood of the stuff, 20-30 different rosés from around the world with more to come as summer wears on. They have been carefully chosen in formal tastings by our team of knowledgeable and passionate Wine Stewards.

Though most rosés do come from Provence, Italy, Spain, and Portugal make rosé, called rosato or rosado Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners, North Africans, South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders, and Argentinians all enjoy their own countries’ rosés. California, Oregon, Michigan, and New York wine makers are all producing rosés. You can find them from most everywhere right in your own wine departments. Talk to your Wine Stewards! They are rosé nuts.

For the Deck Party, Get a 3L Box Quality at a Bargain…
TRY that longtime bottle favorite: La Vieille Ferme Rosé. I like to keep a box of crisp, dry rosé in my fridge at all times. Then there is a glass available the minute I get home from a hard day’s work.

For just a hint of light sweetness…
TRY that 1970’s favorite from Portugal Mateus, now again available on the market thanks to Knapp Crossing D&W Fresh Market Wine Steward, Pam, who revived it in our stores after a cycling tour of Portugal last year. It is refreshing, slightly sweet end effervescent, and still comes in its original glass flask.

TRY Germany’s Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé. With its lovely mere hint of sweetness and balanced tartness, this comes with Forest Hills Foods Wine Steward, Cindy’s, recommendation as the perfect sushi wine pairing. If you like Pinot Noir Rosé, TRY: Elk Cove Pinot Noir Rosé from Oregon, while it lasts, or Kim Crawford Marlborough Rosé from New Zealand. Or Black Star Farms Old Mission Peninsula Rosé.

TRY this cooperative rosé venture between French and Spanish vineyards.  Provenance Rosé, one of our top sellers, is made from a blend of traditional rosé grapes, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and bottled in a beautiful bowling pin shaped bottle.

For the Classic Mediterranean style, bracing and mouth-watering wines, those sunlight and stones in a bottle types…
TRY any of these delicious rosés: French Pool Toy, brand new, in an unbreakable bottle, just right for patio of boat deck.  By Ott Cotes de Provence, from France’s most prestigious and one of its oldest Rosé producer, this is the standard for the region! Sartori Love Story Rosé, an elegant, balanced and pretty Italian rosé, made from the traditional grapes of the Veronese, one of my new, personal favorites.

For what’s happening rosé-wise in the U.S….
TRY some of the ventures into Roséland from well-known brands.  Josh Cellars, Prophecy, Apothic, Rodney Strong, and even Kendall Jackson are producing interesting dry rosés.

For the treasure hunter seeking the unexpected…
TRY a rosé made from Malbec or Cabernet Franc grapes. Crios Mendoza Malbec Rosé from Argentina or the Marland Lake Michigan Shore Cabernet Franc Rosé.
For a small package, something portable, for a break on the golf course, for that evening at the Picnic

TRY a can of Dark Horse Rosé, a new concept, a reminder that quality exists for all pocketbooks!

There are so many delightful rosés out there now. Take advantage and spend a rosé summer exploring them.  Buy a mixed case and keep notes, not necessarily detailed notes, though that is fun too, but a list of what you taste with a simple “yes” or “no.” Or shoot phone photos of your faves for your Pinterest Rosé list. Like us on Facebook and let us know what you are tasting.

Roz Mayberry

About Roz: During her distinguished career, Roz has served a term as the Retail Representative on the MDA's Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and Continues to serve on their Promotion & Education and Competition Committees. In addition, she has served as a judge in various national and international wine competitions.

Working with D&W's wine stewards and SpartanNash's vendor partners, Roz tirelessly explores the vast world of wine, discovering the finest wines for every budget and every taste. And she loves to discuss food and wine with customers and colleagues. As a lifelong foodie, there is nothing else she'd rather be doing.