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The Rosé Pose


I would have dismissed the Sunday NY Times’ Styles piece on rosé wines (The Summer Drink To Be Seen With) as just another, well, Sunday NYTimes Styles piece, if it hadn’t been written with such a rock’n’roll bent. Try this:

“I used to hate rosé,” said Alex Kapranos, the lead singer of the rock band Franz Ferdinand and a food columnist for The Guardian in London. “It was a Blue Nun-style secretary’s-night-out drink, and that put me off it. But a couple years ago I had a cold bottle on a hot night, and it was marvelous.”

And this:

“Rosé has replaced prosecco and cosmos as the new chick drink,” said Ken Friedman, an owner of the Spotted Pig, a celebrity-friendly restaurant in Greenwich Village, which offers five rosés on its wine list.

(Ed’s note: Ken Friedman is a former A&R man and one-time manager of the Smiths; The Spotted Pig is part-owned by Norman Cook. I can’t help but think that Ken, who’s a great chef and knows his wine well, meant to be quoted calling rosé a chic drink.)

And, especially this,

“A lot of my friends don’t want to get wasted on vodka and be sick the next day,” said Greg Krelenstein of the MisShapes, a group of three influential Manhattan party promoters and D.J.’s, who tasted rosé for the first time this summer. “And everybody’s off the speed drinks like Spark. I’ve bought rosé for people, and they’ve been excited to drink something that’s not going to make them crazy like tequila.”

That’s the way with trends in New York City. Doesn’t matter if something has been around since time immemorial – like, for example, rosé wine. All that matters is that the hipsters have latched on to it and made it fashionable. A point proven, presumably, by the big picture of the MisShapes promoters sipping rosé in “a downtown backyard.”

The MisShapes team share their newly discovered love of rosé with The Times Styles crowd. (Caveat emptor: MisShapes throws a grape party; I mean, a great party. They’re cool.)

The Times piece, by Julia Chaplin with former Spin editor Sia Michel, notes that the actual rosé to be seen with this summer is Domaines Ott,

“the trendsetter’s rosé of choice since it was bought by Champagne Louis Roederer, the maker of Cristal Champagne, two years ago.”

Domaines Ott just happens to cost $30, more than twice as much as a great Tavel, and about three times more than your average Provencal/Rhône rosé. I haven’t tasted Domaines Ott to offer an opinion on its value; the only rosés I’d readily spend close to that much money on are the time-proven Mourvédre-dominated pink wines of Bandol.

But then I can’t help being out of synch with styles. I’ve been raving about rosés for years. In fact I wrote a big piece about Southern Rhône Rosés for iJamming! back in its early days, noting that:

“The best rosé wines from Tavel, nearby Lirac and the surrounding Côtes du Rhône valley can be serious, ambitious wines that succeed in offering both summer refreshment and serious food accompaniment. They are a vibrant translucent rose-pink in color, offer up a nose that even the most inexperienced wine taster would recognize as overflowing with strawberry and cherry, are often surprisingly bone dry – though this is usually offset by the refreshing acidity – and tend to be full-bodied, rich and spicy, carrying a serious alcoholic clout. They can make immediate converts out of the most cynical of wine drinkers, so much so that their style is currently being imitated (but not bettered) by California’s Rhône Rangers.”

We opened this wine from Tavel – the one appellation in France that makes nothing but rosé wines – just last week.

I was writing about rosés again just over the weekend, right before the Times piece turned a glass of Provencal pink a status symbol. And I’ll continue to write about them when Hamptons hipsters and Manhattan party promoters alike have moved back to Cosmopolitans cocktails.

Of course this may just be a case of sour grapes… Cheers.

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