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Rosé Is All The Rage As French Wine Drinkers Branch Out

Rosé wine merchants in France are celebrating a vintage year for sales as changing tastes have led to a surge in demand for lighter wines. The Guardian reports that while overall demand for domestic wines in France has decreased, winemakers are reporting that rosé is now popular as a year-round tipple.

The blush pink beverage was once seen as a lightweight aperitif that you might sip on a summer afternoon, rather than a table wine to accompany meat or fish dishes. However, perceptions are changing and rosé is now drunk all year round and with food at the dinner table.  

Most people mistakenly assume that the translucent pink or peach tinge is the result of mixing red and white wine together. However it is illegal to sell such a drink under the name of rosé wine, which is made from red grapes that are processed in a certain way. Red wine grapes are left to macerate longer, but to make rosé the maceration period is shorter.

Commentators cite the fall in popularity of red meat as one of the reasons for the rise of rosé. Younger people are more likely to take heed of health advice to cut their intake of red meat, which is often accompanied by a glass of red wine. They are also drinking less than older generations or looking for lighter alternatives to heavy reds. 

In an interview with The Observer, a spokesperson for regional winemakers in France said: “Rosé was often regarded as the wine of the swimming pool but in the last few years it’s been drunk not just in summer but all year round. I was surprised to discover it was being drunk in winter.” 

They added: “The drop in the popularity of red wine is due to an erosion of clientele – with people drinking less overall – and because the occasions to do so are disappearing. The younger generations are eating less meat and shunning reds in favour of whites or rosés.”

Furthermore, Brice Eymar, director general of the Conseil interprofessionnel des vins de Provence, the group that represents regional wine growers, said: “Because it is a wine drunk during the holidays, this has stuck in the head of consumers. But Provence has fought hard to enlarge the period in which it is drunk. Rosé is not just for summer.” 

Other commentators have noted that rosè has a festive holiday feel that consumers enjoy, and this has helped it to become a wine that is drunk for special occasions and throughout the colder months. It was once perceived as a rather feminine drink, but now it is enjoyed more widely and by all age groups and genders.

The majority of French rosés are produced in the Provence region of south east France. Look out for grape varieties such as grenache, syrah, cinsault, rolle, and vermentino. The wine is characterised by a fresh and fruity flavour that has more body than a white, but is less structured than a red. 

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