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RAP Pink Out Rose Tasting: May 13, San Francisco

rapavengers.gifIt's almost impossible to write about pink wines these days without invoking some sort of cliche. Even the (true) claim that rosé wines are no longer out of fashion has been recycled so many times that I'm cringing just typing it. The fact of the matter is that after years of being vino-non-grata, pink wines are finally back in the awareness of American wine drinkers. After the success of Sutter Home White Zinfandel sent wine lovers running for the hills every time someone offered them a glass of rose, discerning palates are returning to pink wines in huge numbers. According to the Nielsen Company, sales of rosé wines were up 53.2% last year.

If there's one organization that might actually be able to take credit for this, it would be the masked crusaders at RAP: Rosé Avengers and Producers. This motley crew of stubborn winemakers and publicists decided three years ago that they were tired of seeing pink wines dismissed as the oenological equivalent of Kraft Singles. So they set out to change the way people thought about pink wines in America. And it appears that they very well may have succeeded.

Now if they could only get California winemakers to learn how to make really good rosé, everything would indeed be right in the world. That sounds a little harsh, and it is supposed to. There are some excellent pink California wines out there, but there are far more awful ones than good. Especially when compared with some of the other regions of the world that are known for rosé: Southern France, Spain, Southern Italy -- all these regions are chock full of beautifully dry, crisp, pink wines that many California winemakers seem unable to duplicate. Things will get better over time, of course, especially as those who know what they're doing impart their wisdom to those who don't.

If you're interested in experiencing the ultimate pink wine experience, you can't do better than the RAP Pink Out Tastings, which are held every Spring in San Francisco. Be warned, however, this is a popular event and a very small space. I recommend going early, and steeling yourself for dealing with a crowd and what seems to always be a chronic shortage of spit buckets.

Having said that, there are some good wines to be tasted, and the appetizers that are served are usually quite good as well.

Rosé Avengers and Producers: Pink Out 2008
Tuesday, May 13th
6:30pm to 8:30pm
Butterfly Restaurant
Pier 33, The Embarcadero (at Bay Street)
San Francisco

Tickets are available for $35 in advance on the event web site. This tasting will likely sell out, as it has done every year, so get them ahead of time.

Street parking can be found on Bay Street, and the Muni streetcar stops right out front.

Comments (13)

Arnaud H wrote:
04.28.08 at 10:18 AM

The problem with ros is that the margins are ridiculous, which is why most California wineries won't consider making them, focusing instead on more profitable wines. As a result, many of them also have a poor QPR - it's sometimes hard to justify shelling out 20 dollars or more for a California ros when you find fantastic pinks from the French Southwest for under 10 dollars... But I still have my New World favorites, and there are nice affordable ross coming out of the Sierra Foothills or the Central Coast areas.

Chris wrote:
04.28.08 at 3:45 PM

The other side of Rose' is that there are many producers who "bleed off" a little of their red juice to concentrate a full bodied red. This pink juice either goes down the drain, or into a bottle...
Some of these can be (juicy Grenache or Syrah) delicious, or truly (high alcohol, low acid, veggie Cab Franc) hard to drink. Remember, some of these wines never even saw a press!

Kathryn Hill wrote:
04.28.08 at 5:10 PM

You know, CORE Santa Barbara Ros is pretty good. (And this is coming from someone who buys a case of Domaine Tempier Bando Ros from Kermit Lynch every year.)

Arthur wrote:
04.28.08 at 7:21 PM

I would also recommend Ventana's Dry Rosado. Winemaker Reggie Hammond calls it his purpose-built ros - no saigne.

Jennifer wrote:
04.28.08 at 10:44 PM

Kathryn Hill, I love your wines and worked with you once at Ferry Plaza when Paul M. was carrying your wines. I appreciate the votes for great rose! There are some amazing rose's out there and they don't come from wineries who use the "bleed off" method. Please let it go down the drain.... One of my favorite rose's is from Abruzzo. Illuminati Campirosa: 100% montepulciano d'abruzzo. Beautifully done. The work that goes into great Rose should be honored with at least a great attempt at making quality rose.

Tish wrote:
04.30.08 at 5:36 AM

My favorite pinkling last summer was Mulderbosch's Cabernet Rose, from South Africa, which I think ran about $12. I find the Italian "Il Mimo" and SPanish "Gran Fuedo" very reliable and affordable as well. I would love to know if anyone can find/recommend a good Califrnia rose under $15....

Rich wrote:
04.30.08 at 9:08 AM

I recently tried a rose sparkler I really liked with food. Cremant D'Alsace Rose, Dom. Allimant-Laugner N.V. Jennifer, thanks for the tip on the Abruzzo Illuminati Campirosa. I'm going that way soon and I'll look for it.

Anonymous wrote:
04.30.08 at 9:19 AM

Its sad that I can get fabulous Domaine Fontsainte rose for 13 dollars with the crappy dollar and can't find a decent one that is not flabby here for less than 18. Its time for some great 10 dollar roses. I do actually like the Vin Gris de Cigare. its good but not in the realm of frenchies for the same price. I also like the dry mineraly Loire style which have very little fruit and lots of petals and stones.. you cannot get anything like that here.

Nicole wrote:
04.30.08 at 3:31 PM

Alexander Valley Vineyards makes a great rose of sangiovese. And I'm pretty sure it retails for well under $10.

Jeremy wrote:
05.01.08 at 4:46 AM

A to Z Wineworks makes a pretty decent rose from sangiovese in Oregon. Retails around $13. Turkey Flat from Australia is really good too, for around $16.

Chris wrote:
05.01.08 at 7:24 AM

Syncline for their Rhone variety Rose, and Amavi for their Cab Franc Rose. Both from Washington, and both fairly affordable.

Lisa wrote:
05.01.08 at 6:24 PM

I was just at the Santa Barbara Vintners Festival and tasted some really delightful Rose from several producers between $14-18. So Pink wines are indeed getting more popular for vintners to produce. I liked the Verdad Rose which was a GSM Blend from the Linquist's(Qupe) for $14.00.

Kevin wrote:
11.23.08 at 10:20 AM

There's a video of the PINK Out event on TasteTV.com, under Wines

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