After decades of being seen as the wine world’s lowest of the lowbrow, rosé wines are finally getting their due. For most of living memory, pink wines were always cheap, typically sweet, and usually made with the grapes that didn’t make the cut for use in better red wines.
This millennium’s turnabout has been driven mainly by the popularity of grenache-based rosés from Provence and the Rhône in the south of France. Red-skinned grapes may dominate France’s Mediterranean zones, but the natural human craving for chillable wines to drink on a hot day led to a thriving local tradition of pink winemaking. The rosés from these regions are taken seriously by fine wine drinkers because they are dry, not sweet, and made from high-quality fruit grown specifically for pink wines.
However, there is another, lesser-known strand of pink-winemaking culture in France from colder regions further north that produces a wildly different flavor profile. Here, white grapes dominate and red grapes struggle to ripen on the vine. As a result, the rosé wines of Anjou, located in the Loire Valley southwest of Paris, are made from underripe grapes. To offset their tartness, vintners stop fermentation early, resulting in wines that are much lower in alcohol and far higher in sugar than the more famous French rosés of the south. Rosé d’Anjou wines like this one are featherweights, fluffy and fruity with lightly sweet flavors of strawberries and candy apples — an ideal combination for foods that feature a spicy kick or are themselves overtly sugary.