Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Four Days of Rosés

On a wet gloomy Wednesday last week, New York City's Meatpacking District was transformed into a little corner of Provence, thanks to the delegate of 16 Provencal winemakers who flew in to Manhattan host a series of tastings and events called Four Days of Rosés. The restaurant Fig and Olive--a large, pretty space with rosemary growing in tall planters and a Mediterranean menu--spread out a buffet of French cheeses and charcuterie while the winemakers poured from their best bottles, mingled with the press and generally spread a bit of Provencal sunshine around the cobbled streets of the city's far West Side. Among the wines being served were rosés never before poured in the States, now available in New York and other U.S. wine markets. The event was sponsored by the CIVP/Provence Wine Council, which represents more than 750 Provence wine producers; combined they make 95% of the region's AOC wines. I happened to be in New York at the time and was delighted to have been invited…to taste some fabulous rosé, to meet the winemakers and to schmooze around with Provence wine experts such as Francois Millo, director of the CIVP.
Rosé wines, it seems, are enjoying a “global rebirth” with sales of dry rosé in the U.S. growing eight times faster than table wines in general. France is the worldwide leader of rosé production, of course, responsible for 28% of the world’s rose. More than 85% of French rosé comes from Provence, home to France’s oldest vineyards. Rosé now accounts for 86% of all wine produced in Provence. The CIVP visit coincided with the news that a controversial European commission initiative, if approved, will accept the “blending” of red and white wines to produce rosé. The EU referendum is scheduled to be ratified on June 19. The CIVP, along with the French government, is strongly opposed to the proposal, arguing that proper and authentic rosés are produced only by a special technique that includes briefly macerating red grapes and removing the juice before it becomes heavily colored. The French government has said that it will bar the new production practice within France regardless of the EU’s legislation. Polls indicate that 87 % of French consumers oppose the EU plan.
Wednesday’s event was designed for the press and the turnout was predictably great, with writers from the New York Times, Wine Spectator, Food Arts, The Wall Street Journal and other publications turning up. Subsequent events were being staged for the wine trade--importers, distributors, retailers, restaurateurs--and a number of tastings for consumers were also scheduled. For more info about Provence rosé, check out the CIVP’s new site: www.winesofprovence.com.

1 comment:

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