Nov 1, 2015

Rosé and the Kardashian effect...

Some of you are thinking what on earth does Rosé and the Kardashians have in common? Don't you mean Brangelina? Well, yes and no. Stay with us here for a bit.

Rosé (from French rosé; is also known as rosado in Portugal and Spanish-speaking countries and rosato in Italy) is a type of wine that incorporates some of the color from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. When making (most common style) rosé, the aromas and flavors are primarily influenced by the particular grape varieties used to produce the wine. The light, fruity character of many rosés come from volatile thiols (organosulphur compound) that are found as flavor precursors in the grape skins. There are a number of these and they are extracted from the grapes skin during maceration but are less likely to be extracted at temperatures below 20 °C (68 °F). So producers doing a "cold soak" maceration (with much lower temperature) to limit microbial and oxidative activity may extract less of these compounds. The stability of these aromas is very dependent on phenolics (there are others but) to protect these compounds from oxidation.

One of the reasons why rosés have such a very limited shelf-life is because of their low phenolic levels due to the very limited skin contact and extraction time. Usually within a year of production most wine experts recommend that rosés are consumed.

So there is a bit of info on Rosé. Now what is the deal with the Kardashians? It seems that 5-7 years ago people started buying and drinking rosé. Then something happened and for no apparent reason it became super popular. There are now a plethora of rosés available to choose from. The fact that as sales have soared in the last few years and they seem to continue to charm the 'wine drinker' with their seductive qualities, more producers are making them. Does rosé just have delusions of grandeur or is it actually grand? You can now buy the stuff in (increasingly expensive thanks to the cost of the glass) magnums, jeroboams and cumbersome nine bottle big methuselahs, rosé once had all the class of a hen-night out in a stretch limousine but has somehow become the latest pop culture golden child and just like that it is like a Kardashian. Popular, but with no real substance. Perhaps the influence of Gen Ys, Millennials and the hipster market, who have all embraced rosé are partly the cause.

And then there's the pop culture selling (to those that exist vicariously) rosé "en primeur" à la Brangelina, Their wine looked like it would be sold out before the wine has even been bottled, for all the world as if this pale-pink imitation of a real wine were a fancy first growth or a snooty limited-production burgundy, incredibly and seemingly presumptuous beyond reality. Get it... reality TV, just like a Kardashion.

So where is this rambling going to you ask. To be honest probably no where just like a discussion about the Kardashians.

Rosés can be beautiful wines but it seems with the mass popularity has come mass crap. It seems that at least three out of five we taste we would never purchase or even finish the glass and of the last two only one would be enjoyed.

So now rosé is also chic. And as always along with chic comes prestige, high prices and as with Brangelina, whose 6,000-bottle release of the first vintage of rosé from Château Miraval in Provence ($143.00 for a six-bottle case) sold out within five hours when it went online.

What started this rant? A bottle of rosé that was sent to be reviewed that was so pathetic that between four people the bottle remains more than half full. A situation we find more common with rosé than most other wine we receive of late.

The point we are trying to make is that just because something is super popular in no way makes it (or them) of any worth. Choose wisely...

Happy Wine Adventures,

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We are always on a WineWalkabout looking for a good drop. Please comment and ask questions about the things you like or would like to read and see. Don't drink without pants on!