Pretty in Pink
You’ve all heard the current buzz, right? Forty is the new thirty. Fifty is the new forty. Sixty is the new fifty. That’s some pretty nifty math, don’t you think? It puts a little extra pressure on us to look, feel and act younger than we really are — when, let’s face it, there’s a big part of us that would like nothing better than to kick back, relax and shift into the slow lane of life with our grey hairs exposed for all the world to see. It’s kind of nice, though, to feel like we’ve still got an extra decade’s worth of youthful vigour under our hoods.
So get ready for the latest … there’s an even bigger buzz in the wine world right now, and, while it’s got nothing to do with age, it’s destined to take at least ten years off our attitudes. Get this: Rosé is the new red.
Okay, okay. Lovers of massive, teeth-staining American Petite Syrahs, I hear you. Compared to a big, strapping red wine, pink wine just doesn’t cut it. Can’t argue with you there. But for the rest of us, rosés are the perfect go-to wine when a red is too much and a white just ain’t enough.
It all started a few years ago, when jaded wine writers like me started to get a little tired of red after red after red showing up at tastings and dinners and in boxes for review. (It still happens. Check my tasting notes this issue: I’m swimming in them.) It didn’t matter that I was having a mild-mannered halibut with a polite squeeze of lemon; when it came to the wine on the table, it was the redder, the better. (Pity that poor fish; it never knew what hit it.)
And so, naturally, there was a backlash. I know I wrote about it, along with everybody else. It wasn’t much of a backlash, but it was enough; while sales of white wines in Canada lag behind reds to this day, the red tide has turned, whites are back in, and, for the average halibut, the world is a safer place.
What happened to rosés? Unfortunately, not a heckuva lot. Oh, sure, cheap White Zinfandels still get consumed by the truckload at nightclubs across Canada, but, as I’m sure Tidings readers already know, those are NOT the rosés I’m talking about. What was the problem? I think part of it was that we got used to thinking about rosés as summertime wines. We’d been to the south of France. We’d hung out at sidewalk cafés with a carafe of the local pink and some cold shellfish and brought back with us all sorts of warm, sunny memories. But a rosé in Toronto in back-to-the-grindstone September? Forget about it.
Until this whole “Rosé is the new red” thing took hold. And that’s precisely why I’m writing this column. September is the perfect time and place to fall in love with rosés all over again. Try it yourself; next time you’re feeling like a red is just a little too much of a good thing for a weekday pasta supper, chill down a bottle of good rosé instead. Stay away from the cheap/sweet ones and you’ll be fine. If you can swing it, splurge on a bottle of France’s famed Tavel from the Rhône for a little over $20 (hardly a real splurge at all); otherwise, watch your sweetness codes and follow your wallet.
Sit back, relax, and shift into the slow lane. Grey hairs? Embrace your inner senior. No matter what your age — forty, fifty or sixty-going-on-sixteen — after a glass or two of crisp, youthful rosé and a restorative meal under your belt, you’ll know one thing: you’re only as old as you feel.