Thankfully, the broader community of American wine lovers seems to have gotten over its phobia of pink wines. We can now write about rosé without irony or cliché, and don't have to couch our advocacy of these food friendly wines with caveats about how trendy they are, etc.
Rosé sales in America have been climbing like, well, the deficit, and thankfully in this case there's no end in sight.
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 six 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 rosé 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. This tasting is often 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 continue 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 (approximately 40 producers will be pouring), and the appetizers that are served are usually quite good as well.
Rosé Avengers and Producers: Pink Out 2009
Tuesday, May 8th
6:30pm to 9:00pm
Pier 33, The Embarcadero (at Bay Street)
San Francisco, CA
Tickets are available for $35 in advance online. This tasting will likely sell out, as it has done every year, so get them ahead of time. If there are tickets left at the door, they'll be sold for $45.
Street parking can be found on Bay Street, and the Muni streetcar stops right out front.
My usual tips for such public wine tastings: don't taste on an empty 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.
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