Beyond its unique hue there’s something special about rosé—a quality you can’t see, smell or touch—that distinguishes it from other wine.
Champagne, too, has an appeal that goes beyond what’s in the glass: celebration and elegance, but for some, perhaps an air of elitism.
Rosé, on the other hand, feels like an invite to your best friend’s beach house—warm and familiar, with the promise of laughter and memories.
Where does this come from?
It took a week in rosé’s birthplace, Provence, with a group of wine writers, sommeliers and countless bottles of rosé for me to understand this joie de vivre.
My pilgrimage began in Saint-Tropez, a place that epitomizes the lifestyle of southern France: Stylish and seductive, yet relaxed and approachable, much like the wine of the region.
Traveling inland to the village of Pourcieux, the sea spray gave way to aromas of lavender and rosemary that were carried on the mistral.
Our lodging was a château—owned by a marquis, nonetheless—where the manicured grounds opened up to an unobstructed view of Monte Sainte-Victoire, the same landscape that inspired Cézanne.
Fearing an afternoon with a stiff aristocrat, we were relieved, and charmed, the moment our jovial host, Michel d’Espagnet, walked in wearing a disarming smile.
After a quick tour of the vineyards, Michel brought us to the back patio. There, a long wooden table was casually adorned with a leg of cured meat, a ball of local chèvre, crusty bread and bottles upon bottles of rosé.
Soon we were talking and laughing like old friends, as the the sun beamed through the pink wine in our glasses.
Sometime during that glorious afternoon, I finally understood.
From our veranda to tree-shaded tables at the nearby farms and at the cafés in the village square, an entire region was engaged in the same rite and experiencing the same euphoria.
It is said by winemakers and writers alike, that a great wine often evokes the place from where the grapes were plucked. But rosé, which can be made using different varieties grown anywhere in the world, evokes something different. It is the ethos of Provence’s people: Hey, let’s take a moment, pour some wine and enjoy life.