Dulwich Wine Society

Why is pink in fashion? Wine that is ...

Approaching Valentine’s day merchants and writers try to push rosé wine , but,  perhaps surprisingly, pink is becoming fashionable, according to Greville Havenhand.

Did you know that more than 9% of the wine sold in this country is pink?  Yes I know we call it rosé but we don’t usually talk about “rouge” or “blanc” so I prefer to stick to pink.

Time was when pink wine was either like liquid bubblegum or was that sweet, slightly fizzy Portuguese product of the marketing man’s art. At least the bottles vied with Chianti flasks as lamp bases in student’s rooms. Admittedly a lot of the increase in pink sales here is accounted for by low-alcohol sweetish Californian wine – wine for people who don’t like wine.

There are now more serious pinks from all over the world, although the French still lead the way, even though they still mass produce some fairly poor specimens in the South. They also produce some excellent pink Champagne which brings us back to Valentine’s day.

How about a pink Bollinger?  It is not cheap but it is available at most good merchants and at Waitrose. made with the usual Champagne grapes but with the colour coming from the skins of the Pinot Noir. Many of the other Champagne houses make pinks, and for the most part they are very good. The English make good pink fizz, but look for those from the Loire, such as Bouvet-Ladubay if your budget is restricted.

It is the new wave of  dry, fruity,  still wines that  has gone a long way to getting rid of the prejudice against pink. I have recently been sampling a few notable examples.

For instance a pink Beaujolais from the leading Burgundy négociant Louis Jadot. Do not think of banana skin and dolly mixtures of Beaujolais Nouveau, but the best expression of the Gamay grape with raspberry and cream flavours with a crisp acidity. This is another that you can get from Waitrose.  It works well as an aperitif and with Thai food.

A South African example is Lourensford “The River Garden Rosé” It is dry and crisp and full of red fruit and is quite inexpensive. An old favourite “Chateau des Sours” has taken on a new lease of life in recent years and is worth looking out for at Majestic.

A New World favourite is the 2008 Villa Maria Private Bin Rosé.

 Villa Maria is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc but this blend of mainly Merlot and Malbec (unusual grapes for this winery) which are grown around Hawkes Bay especially for this wine. It is crisp, aromatic and very fruity. It is widely available at a good price for a wine of this quality.

The message is that winemakers are realising that there is a market for quality. Drinkers are responding