Tag Archives: rose boom

Enough already: Who cares who started the rose boom?

rose boomBecause no one did, and it’s an insult to those of us who drink pink to claim we needed someone to point the way

This fall, three different PR flacks emailed me to make sure the world knew that their clients started the rose boom. And this doesn’t include the woman who wrote that social media was responsible – praise Instagram for all those hipsters and Millennials posing with their pink wine.

Enough already.

Why do we need “a founder” to explain the popularity of quality cheap wine? Why is everyone so surprised that wine drinkers discovered something inexpensive and enjoyable on their own?

Because, of course, wine drinkers aren’t supposed to be smart enough to figure it out for themselves. We need someone to tell us what to do. Isn’t that how the wine business works?

Know this, and know it now: Rose’s increased popularity was only surprising to everyone who wasn’t paying attention. Europeans have been drinking it for years, without any help from marketing types or social media gurus. The wine business and its allies in the Winestream Media were so busy telling us that we would be drinking whatever wine that they thought was cool that they didn’t notice what we were drinking.

Rose.

And why not? It’s readily available. It’s almost always well made, even when it costs as little as $5 a bottle, and it’s rarely necessary to spend more than $10 a bottle to get a quality wine. Plus, it’s crisp, refreshing, and fruity. What more can anyone ask for in a cheap wine to enjoy on a Tuesday night in the middle of summer?

So why was rose such a surprise? Three reasons:

• U.S. wine drinkers weren’t supposed to be sophisticated enough to drink rose, because it was so European. After all, didn’t we – shudder – drink white zinfandel?

• Rose, because it doesn’t cost much, didn’t fit in with premiumization, the idea that we’re buying more expensive wine. So it wasn’t pricey enough to become a trend.

• It is a wonderfully exhilarating exception to what the wine business teaches consumers about wine: That we have to buy wine to pair with a meal or for a specific occasion. That rose exists regardless of what you eat with it or why you drink it is a revolutionary concept in the top-down, do what you’re told world of wine. This is, after all, where those of us who tell people to drink what they want are seen as the enemy.

So, no, no one invented rose. We drank it because we liked it. In the end, that may be the best part about the rose boom.

More about the rose boom:
They’re trying to ruin our beloved rose
The Wine Curmudgeon as hipster: Dude, he likes rose
Has the rose craze peaked?

Bota Box rose and the pink wine revolution

bota box roseWhy does the maker of the $5 Bota Box understand rose while so many others don’t?

The Bota Box rose, which costs the equivalent of $5 a bottle, is as good a cheap rose as there is on the market. How is this possible, given all the evidence that no one wants to buy $5 wine any more, as well as the fact that so much $5 wine is so terrible? And that so much rose, whether from Big Wine or “artisan” producers and targeted at the rose boom, is overpriced, not well made, or not especially rose-like?

Somehow, Delicato, the Big Wine house behind the Bota box rose ($18 for a 3-liter box, sample, 11.5%) has created a cheap dry rose that is exactly that. It’s light, crisp, and refreshing, with watermelon and strawberry fruit. Yes, it’s a little thin in the back and there’s an almost bitter tannic thing lurking in the finish, but neither of those should stop anyone from drinking it. Buy it, chill it in the refrigerator, and enjoy it.

In this, the Bota Box rose is so much better than I thought it would that I’m embarrassed to admit it. I didn’t expect it to be dry, and it was, as dry as any high-end Provencal pink. I didn’t expect it to taste like rose, and it did – even more than those pricey California roses made to taste like red wine, with tannins and 14.5 percent alcohol. I didn’t expect to like it, and I really did – so much that the more I drank, the more I started thinking about it as a Hall of Fame wine.

So what does Delicato understand that so many others don’t?

• There is still a market for quality cheap wine, and that premiumization is a much more sophisticated concept than most producers are willing to admit – or even understand. I’m convinced premiumization may not be as much about price as it is about quality, where consumers want better wine and not just more expensive wine.

• Big Wine is putting more effort into boxed wine, where it sees an opportunity to use its trademark cheap grapes even more efficiently. The Bota Box rose is made with zinfandel, petite sirah, and what Delicato calls floral varietals, so white grapes. That’s hardly a classic combination, and I don’t think I want to know the winemaking that went on to make it taste like rose. But it works.

• Someone at Delicato, at least for this vintage, cares about rose. The company could have made a less sweet white zinfandel knockoff, and who would have have noticed? Hopefully, that approach will continue next vintage.