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RAP Pink Out! Rose Tasting: May 12, 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 rosé, discerning palates are returning to pink wines in huge numbers. How huge? This is the fourth consecutive year of double digit growth in sales of rosé wines in the United States.

If there's one organization that might actually be able to take partial 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.

Of course, that doesn't mean that there's lots of good rose being produced in the United States. Sadly, America still can't hold a candle to the rosés of southern France, southern Italy, or Northern Spain. Slowly but surely, though, more and more U.S. wineries are figuring out how to make dry-as-a-bone, crisp, floral rosés with a nice undercurrent of acidity. And this tasting is my annual way of checking to see how the progress is going. Thankfully, there are always a few French wine labels in attendance to make up for the dark syrupy wines that some California producers attempt to pass off as rosé.

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. 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 2009
Tuesday, May 12th
6:30pm to 8:30pm
Butterfly Restaurant
Pier 33, The Embarcadero (at Bay Street)
San Francisco, CA

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.

My usual tips for such public wine tastings: go with food in your stomach; wear dark clothing (or pink, in this case); drink lots of water; and make sure to spit so that you can actually learn something. Hopefully there will be more spit buckets on hand than in years past.

Comments (9)

04.22.09 at 8:32 AM

One spitting-related tip: take a plastic beer cup with you (if the venue isn't prescient enough to provide them) to use for spitting, and empty it into a dump bucket when you get a chance. Much more relaxing than elbowing your way through a crowd to spit.

Michael wrote:
04.22.09 at 10:36 AM

Cliched or not, I love to see Rose getting some good buzz. Well, I love that it makes US producers take note, I hate what it does to the price of European rose. I still feel that one should be able to get a decent rose for under $10 (or at least close to that), yet many french roses - my first choice - are now more like 15.

Either way, still good to see. At a local wine shop last year I suggested that they should have more than one real rose (excluding the white zin set) chilled in their vast coolers, only to be mocked by the clerk as being foolish. But then I live in the midwest, where trends can be slow to pick up.

Uzi wrote:
04.22.09 at 1:56 PM

Good to hear it is getting some real traction. Too bad it's not a mid day or afternoon, outdoors event. The best time/place to appreciate a dry pink glass, especially in this weather.

Alder wrote:
04.22.09 at 2:00 PM


You just never know in San Francisco. Could be 75 and sunny, or could be foggy, 48 degrees with 10 mph winds. Not worth the risk !!

Matt wrote:
04.22.09 at 9:07 PM

I wish I could make it! Rose getting positive attention is always a good thing. As an ambitious young cellar rat, I've wanted to launch a new label with a rose as my first wine and then the red that it was bled from as my second. Don't know if it would work right now though. Rose still has a fairly bad rap in the eyes of the average consumer.

jason Carey DWS wrote:
04.22.09 at 9:59 PM

I don't think it was Sutter home zin that started the disgust with rose, it was Mateus and Lancer's.

Dylan wrote:
04.24.09 at 8:43 AM

Thanks for that tip, Steve. That's a very simple way to get around the more difficult navigation of crowds at these events.

Ana Keller wrote:
04.27.09 at 5:50 AM

Why is it assumed that Ros has to be cheap? To make a delicate and beautiful Ros you actually get lower yields than making a Pinot Noir! I think that its a varietal that still has a long way to go!

J R S wrote:
01.17.10 at 1:51 PM

I actually cam eacross rapavengers site before I came to visit Vino - but yeah the buzz is still rose wine, however internet statistics from google do not seem to indicate this boom everyone is talking about. At the moment it appears to be more perhaps in clubs and supermarkets where the wine is being bought the most.

I can remember how rose wine was referred to the alcopop of the wine world, I am glad to see that the EU is taking the wine seriously and there are some hot wines to come soon!

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