Every now and then I make a belittling crack about rosé. When I do that, someone defends the stuff, either because they are personally insulted or because they believe my disdain for pink wine brands me as a pretentious rube. They’re inevitably confident that one day I will give rosé an honest chance and come around to appreciating its simple charm. In response, I say something moderate and respectful: drink whatever you want…I just haven’t found the right one…I didn’t mean to imply that because you like rosé you’re stupid…really, rosé is just fine…please don’t cry, I didn’t mean it.
That kind of thing.
My response is a lie. I do mean it. Rosé isn’t just fine. Close your eyes and it’s indistinguishable from white wine and, in most cases, not even particularly good white wine. It’s so indistinct that I’ve actually forgotten what some tastes like while it’s still in my mouth. There’s damnation in wine critics’ joyful reference to rosé as a “quaffing” wine, and that damnation rests in the definition of “quaff”:
“to drink a beverage, especially an intoxicating one, copiously
and with hearty enjoyment.”
If the best thing you can say about a drink is that it’s great for chugging in order to get drunk, that’s as applicable to Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill, Mike’s Hard Lemonade and tequila as it is rosé. But there’s no one out there defending the charm of any of those.
My reputation for disdaining rosé predates this blog, and for as long as I can remember I’ve been ambushed by True Believers wielding glasses of pink wine. “I know you say you don’t like rosé,” they laugh. “But you’re going to love this.” Except that I don’t, and over the years I’ve dumped 10 gallons of various rosés into patio landscaping to avoid having to drink it. When wine store proprietors I know see me coming, they open the fresh vintage and entice me with words that make it sound like sunshine and wildflowers are pouring out of the bottle. “This is really wonderful,” they say. “It’ll bring you around.” But it isn’t, and it doesn’t, and I find myself looking for a bush I can dump it into.
I don’t like rosé. After years of trying, I’m convinced that I’m never going to like rosé. But it’s more than that. I think rosé is a scam, a gauzy marketing pitch and pretty color being used to disguise the large-scale monetization of inferior grapes. When I meet a woman who likes rosé, I conclude that she is a romantic fool hoping a bottle of wine can transport her beyond the constrictive bounds of her suffocating suburban life. When I meet a man who likes rosé, I think he’s just pretending to in an attempt to to get the woman who likes rosé into the sack. And if he succeeds, I’m certain their coupling will be bland and unsatisfying, neither one thing nor the other, like the wine that made it possible.
When rosé comes up, I’m polite. I make jokes that appear to be completely reflexive, and when people complain I say placating things. But inside I’m thinking what I have always thought but have never had the courage to say out loud. Rosé sucks. There is so much good wine in the world, unless you’re actually idling away an afternoon in a Provençal cafe, why would you waste even a moment on it?