Fine California Rosé – No Longer An Oxymoron

With global rosé sales on a steady rise (to the point that they seemingly threaten to overtake red-wine consumption in France) it can be hard to believe that less than 20 years ago, California rosé producers felt the need to create a collective marketing organisation in order to convince consumers to buy pink wines.

Known as RAP, Rosé Avengers and Producers, this group was launched in 2005 largely in reaction to the massive popularity of White Zinfandel. According to its (now defunct) website, the organisation was:

‘An international group of winemakers and wine drinkers dedicated to righting the wrongs done to dry rosé. In Europe, they down copious amounts of pink wine, perhaps the most versatile of all food wines. But what gives in the States? Except for a handful of savvy drinkers, too many Americans would still rather buy a mediocre white or red instead of a great rosé. It’s bizarre.’

Already a rosé enthusiast myself, and at that time a budding wine blogger, I eagerly attended the yearly ‘Pink Out’ tastings put on by this group, only to emerge from the first few events scratching my head.

While this collective group may have put European (and in particular French) rosé on a pedestal, they sure weren’t doing a very good job emulating the form, at least to my palate. To put it bluntly, in 2005 most California rosé sucked.

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