- The Underground Wine Letter - https://www.undergroundwineletter.com -


OK gang. Let’s hear it for anti wine. But, before you erupt in a thunderous ovation, let’s first define anti wine. For me, anti wine is wine that is balanced and tasty without being over the top. Why is that anti you might ask? Well, today a lot of people equate wine with a number and the bigger the number the better the wine is supposed to be. In today’s world, anti wines can’t compete for big numbers because most of the big numbers boys give big scores only to the biggest wines. In some circles the alcohol has to be at least 15% to even qualify for the big numbers derby. Anti wines do not qualify. Anti wines are balanced, tasty, and very enjoyable and drinkable. They are anti big and dense.

In this sense, rosé is the perfect anti wine. It is anti big numbers. It is anti sip and spit scoring. It is anti massive tastings with hundreds of wines. (To read an article on this phenomenon click here). [1]

That is all of what rosé is not. And, that is good. That assures that rosé will never be put at the altar of the big numbers gods.

“Collectors” will not be drawn in because of the lack of numbers and the nature of the majority of rosés being made to be enjoyed young. That’s great for those of us who really like to drink rosé and enjoy it with a wide variety of foods. This is also a guarantee that the wines will remain affordable. It is not likely to become steroidal, get the big three digit score, and spoil the party for the rest of us. And, in this country wine drinkers are taking notice. The trend to more affordable, food friendly, drinkable wines is continuing and is one of my forecasts for 2012, along with the continued increase in the popularity of  rosé and especially  those from Provence. (To read that article click here [2]).

Recently, Nielsen released its numbers for imported 2011 rosé sales in the U.S. and they are up, up and away! Here is the report:

“Nielsen: Imported Rosé Retail Sales Jump 26% in 2011

– Average price per bottle also rises, as consumers seek out quality –

(New York, NY, February 6, 2012) – For the seventh straight year, The Nielsen Company is reporting retail sales well ahead of the market for imported rosé wines priced at $12 and above. Sales in this market segment grew 26.1% on dollars and 14.4% on volume in 2011.

This represents a growth rate more than seven times that of total retail table wine sales for the same period. Growth rates for imported rosés remain “very, very attractive,” for retailers, said Danny Brager, vice president of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Team.

Sales increase by value ($) Sales increase by volume
Imported rosé wine +26.1% +14.4%
Total table wine +3.7% +2.5%
U.S. retail sales of imported rosé table wines priced $12 and above, within the Nielsen food, drug, and liquor channels for the 52-week period ending Jan. 7, 2012, compared to the same period the prior year.

Results like these confirm dry rosé’s position as one of the fastest-growing wine categories in the nation, according to Julie Peterson, a representative of the Provence Wine Council. In addition, Nielsen reported that the average price per bottle in this category was $15.32 in 2011, a full $2.00 more than the 2009 average. “Not only is rosé’s sales growth continuing,” said Peterson, “but the price per bottle is also going up, which points to consumers’ growing appreciation for premium rosé – a segment in which Provence is the leader.”

This report speaks to imported rosé wines  priced at $12 and above. There are also quite a large number sold here with lower price points and I am sure that those also experienced a large surge in growth. But, as the report concludes, premium rosé is the segment where Provence is the leader. Information on the wines of Provence is provided by The Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP), known in the United States as the Provence Wine Council. The CIVP “is an organization representing more than 600 wine producers and 72 trade companies from the Provence region of France. Its mission is to promote and advance the wines of the region’s principal appellations. The organization’s members together produce 95 percent of Provence’s Appellation d’Origine Controlée (AOC) wines. More information can be found online at www.winesofprovence.com [3] or www.facebook.com/winesofprovence [4].”

Last fall I visited Provence and spent some time at a few wineries. The people were gracious and very nice. And, there were a lot of terrific wines. It was a great trip and I will have an article posted soon. Stay tuned! The 2011s are just starting to arrive here. I will have a major article on the 2011s this year with some follow up notes  to cover rosés arriving later just as I did last year on the 2010s  (To read the first 2010 rosé article click here [5]

However, for the many years that I have been drinking rosés, there has never been a vintage that did not produce an abundance of delicious wines. And, 2011 will  be no exception. In Provence, the growers I visited there last fall were very excited about their 2011s. Although it was too early to taste them when I was there, I had no doubt that their assessment was accurate. In fact, I have tasted a few early arrivals and will have an article soon. The wines are delicious.  So when you see the 2011 rosés,  pounce! Try a few and make your own assessment. If you don’t know rosé, you will soon find out what you are missing. And, if you do, I know you are eagerly awaiting the 2011s  just as I am. Rosé is anti wine. Long live rosé. And long live rosé that is one of the most food friendly and delicious wines on planet earth!


In Vino Veritas,Sig

John Tilson