Monday, September 1, 2008

Rosé consumption in the pink

The popularity of rosé has been confirmed as new figures show the number of regular wine drinkers who drink rosé has risen by over 60% in the last three years.

According to research commissioned by the WSTA, six out of ten wine drinkers now drink rosé compared to less than four out of ten in 2005.

The figures, contained in the latest Wine Intelligence survey, suggest the growth in popularity of rosé has come in part at the expense of red, with consumption of red wine falling by 10% over the past three years.

Although white wine retains its position as the most popular style, rosé was shown to be the most appealing to newcomers to wine.

WSTA Chief Executive Jeremy Beadles said, 'Even without a good summer it seems the taste for rosé continues to spread. Interestingly, the figures show women have increased their rosé consumption the most'.

The findings of the survey back up the results of a recent poll, in which 70% of Decanter readers considered rosé a serious wine.

Sales in rosé also appear to be on the up, with Sainsbury's reporting a 50% increase in sales the last three years, up 25% on last year.

'We have added 12 rosé's to our stock in the last year alone and now sell 40 different rosé varietals', a spokesperson from Sainsbury's said. 'There is a definite move towards fresher, less syrupy styles. Italian varietals such as Sangiovese are becoming very popular.'

Lucy Shaw

Remarks concerning this on

As a British wine writer living in Spain I'm not surprised to read about the increase in rosé wine consumption as detailed in Decanter. One only has to look at the bodega (wine merchants) and supermarket shelves to see the large range of rosados on offer to realise that here consumption of rosado is well established. For further proof look at the diners in restaurants eating their wonderful paellas - their wine of choice, almost exclusively rosado!

However I suspect, though I have no statistics as yet, that rosado consumption here will level out and remain essentially constant rather than rise like it is doing in the UK. I believe that the reason for this is as follows: in previous years white wine in Spain has been largely disappointing, with some notable exceptions of course, such as the Albariños of Galicia. This has meant that historically wine drinkers who have not wanted a full red to sip or to accompany paella etc have taken to drinking rosado.

However for me Spain is now right in the vanguard of super white wine production where areas like Rueda, Somontano, Penedés and others are now turning out lovely white wines in many different styles. Indeed the best white wine I have tasted this year and now one of my favourite wines is in fact from that bastion of red wine excellence Clos Mogador, DO Priorat! ('Nelin' is a blend pf Garnacha Blanca, Viognier, Marsanne, Macabeo and Pinot Noir and is a superb mouthful of fruit with a wonderful nose, a complexity and depth that one can only gain from the very best white wines, and a long, lingering, gorgeous finish - incidentally!).

Therefore I believe that the increase in rosé wine consumption in UK will be mirrored here, but with white wine as more and more Spaniards and ex-pats realise that Spain is no longer home to just red wine. Rosé wine will however hold its own (paella and mariscos without it is almost unthinkable!) so it will be, as in the UK, red wine that loses some of its market share.
Colin Harkness

As a french rosé drinker and Loire wine exporter I am happy to read that"...70% of Decanter readers considered rosé a serious wine". This is the way we do in Anjou area with our semi-sweet rosé (Rosé d'Anjou and Cabernet d'Anjou). I could also talk about the dry Rosé de Loire but I prefer to emphasize on the exceptionnal particularity of the semi-sweets. Who knows that these 2 wines could lay down for many years? Not many people I guess ! Well, I have tasted several time some old vintages of rosés d'Anjou from different Domaines: most of them were fantastic!! The last one I tasted was a 1956: wonderful. Same color as a cognac; lot of dry fruits aromas; lot of freshness; and a bit of acidity. Delightful!

But even whe these wines are young they are gorgeous: elegant, fruity, with freshness and a delicate sweetness.

I had recently a stand in a wine fair in UK and I remember the immense amazement of all the people who tasted these wines for the first time: they almost all wondered why they didn't find these kind of wines more on the shelves !! What else (as will say George Clooney)
Mr. Lionel Lafitte, Loire Links, Louerre, France

Thank you so much for the article on rosé by Lucy Shaw. We've been making rosé for four years now up in Washington and the overall work being done vis-"-vis quality, style and public awareness has dramatically increased in the last decade. And now we are truly seeing an increased visibility in rosé consumption. It is so gratifying, especially reading articles like yours. As I travel around the country tasting with consumers there are still corners that don't “get” rosé. But that's alright. We only need a handful of friends in every city to spread the word. Keep up the good work.