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Rosé rising in the ranks


South of France, north of Spain traditional homes

A few years ago, none of my friends drank rosé. Today, about half of them do. That’s a lot of progress.

People are getting smarter, or should I say, they’re learning rosé is a legit wine and not some pretty coloured slurp masquerading as wine. While blush is similar to a wine cooler, rosé is part of the dry wine family. An adult member with the same good manners and social skills as your favourite reds and whites.

The south of France and the north of Spain are the traditional homes of rosé. These hot climates mainly produce rich reds, but the locals need a refreshing drink for summer lunches and casual meals. So they make a pale, slightly tart red and call it rosé.

The first step to becoming a rosé drinker is to accept the idea that hot summer days need a seasonal wine. Sure, you could have refreshing white wine, but there’s something more than refreshing about a rosé. It echoes the magic and warmth of the season. It’s expressive and colourful — suggesting summer scenes from impressionist paintings. It’s a call to lighten up.

The other reason I drink tons of rosé is that it’s the perfect partner for my favourite summer food platter: cured meats, fresh cheeses, tomatoes, greens, crusty bread and good olive oil. Bread and cheese Mediterranean style.

Tomatoes seem to be the matchmaker with rosé. A tomato-based seafood stew and rosé is one of the great food and drink marriages.

For now, dry rosé is a great value. They’re giving the stuff away at $10 to $12. Expect prices to rise as it becomes more popular. France and Spain still offer the best values.

P.S. Last Saturday’s Vintages release offered a stylish, delish sparkling rosé from Australia. Makes you want to host a wedding. Or just have fun.

TALTARNI 05 Brut “Taché,” Australia LCBO No.967398 $22.95. Read my other recommendations for that release at www.billysbestbottles.com.

Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter and Billy’s Best Wines For 2007, a guide to the best wines at the LCBO, available in bookstores or through www.billysbestbottles.com. Sign up for his free wine e-letter at www.billysbestbottles.com.



Ted the Mule ’06 Rosé, left,

Cotes du Rhone, France

LCBO No.: 622126

Price: $11.15

Marques de Caceres ’06 Rosé, far left,

Rioja, Spain

LCBO No.: 622142

Price: $12