Wednesday evening I got home from work and kicked off my scuffed brown shoes…my favorite shoes. A pair of men’s somewhat squared toed lace ups that are beginning to take on the look of one of those old trunks you might find in your grandparent’s guest room. Tucked in a corner or at the foot of the bed, hidden under a knitted blanket that has been tossed over the top in an effort to cover all the years of dings and scratches. I never untie them; just use the arch of one foot to peel the heel off the other, used to slip them on the same way but an unfortunate, somewhat Pinot Gris soaked evening in Alsace caused a spinal injury to the backs of my beloved shoes. I have to untie them to put them on now. One would think a normal person might, oh I don’t know…remember this at night when she is balancing herself on the arm of the chair, arch of one foot scrapping the heel of the other. Nope, never crosses my mind, like ever.
I bent down and did the two pronged shoe gather, slipping my pointer and middle finger into my still-warm-from-my-feet shoes, the fragile backs settling against my fingers and tossed them in my “shoe area”. Flipped open my laptop and finished the last little bit of an article on some new wines from the Jura that I needed to get to Randy before The Wine Country’s newsletter deadline. Time to tackle the next task, Rose, I wanted to try and get Randy some write ups on the new 2012 Roses that have either already arrived or will be here by the time our newsletter lands. I sat there in front of my laptop for about forty minutes, (well, I was bouncing back and forth between that and making dinner) blank fucking Word document glaring in my day weary face. As much as I wanted to beat the Thursday deadline I just could not bring myself to try and wax rhapsodic about the flavor profile of each and every French Rose I’ve tasted in the past two months. Any guesses why?
Because it’s Rose people! When I am tasted on these fantastic refreshing little wines I take very copious notes, (um because I know I am going to be charged with having to write them up) and they are very detailed. So here’s the thing, when you lay week’s worth of tasting notes…on Rose in front of you they kind of look….similar. Now I can write up a bunch of Loire wines, Rhone wines, even Burgundy and I can point to all the delicate and subtle differences with those wines, the history…the rarity, the vineyards but with Rose the range and scope are a bit narrower. These wines are not profound and they were never meant to be.
For years Rose was dismissed here in the US and with the vats of crap pink wine that people sucked back, and in some cases…ended up horking up I don’t blame folks for being resistant, hell I still have a hard time even nuzzling a man with Bourbon on his breath….long very bad evening that I still refuse to talk about. But with more travel, more interest in food and seasonal eating, importers, restaurants and retailers bending the ear and palate of the consumer, people have opened their minds and hearts to these gulpable summer sippers and now, well now they are all the rage. Our store has been touting Rose for years, Randy climbed atop his soapbox like 17 years ago and challenged people to forget what they thought they knew about pink wines. Took a few years but now we sell around 700 cases of Rose between April and September. People make pilgrimages to our shop, driving from Arizona and Las Vegas, (um perfect places for Rose by the way) to stock up on a summers worth of “Pink wine” also part of the reason I am slammed with suppliers wanting to sample me on this new Rose they are importing….sigh, freaking band wagon. Always ends the same way, “Yeah it’s okay but the ones we have are so much better…and cheaper” we hooked up with the guys that were in the know like years ago, so “Johnny come I better get me one” just isn’t gonna cut it for our customers.
So with that “hottest thing” deal with regards to wine you get the over analyzers. The folks that feel the need to geek out on anything and everything wine. These are the same folks that grill me about Nouveau Beaujolais, ask about brix and insist on knowing what the wine is made from. I wouldn’t mind this so much if these folks were really even listening or talking notes or something….they aren’t, they just want to show you how serious they are about wine. I dig that, I understand it in a way, I too am really serious about wine but….not all wine is “serious”.
To spend your time and energy breaking down Rose is missing the point entirely. These wines were made to just drink. Yeah I said it…just drink. Designed to quaff during the warm summer months when it is a tad too stifling to suck back heavy reds, it’s like ninety degrees out and you are grilling up steaks in the backyard….sure a Cabernet might go with that steak but the heat has you aching for something just a bit more refreshing, brighter, and fresher. This, this is where Rose belongs and what it was created for.
Rose is much like a Martini in that it is as much as a feeling as it is a beverage. Rose is about lingering in the yard, warm afternoons, picking at little bits of food while talking about Tiger Woods or whatever with family, neighbors and friends. Rose is a grownups summer break, our time to let our over active brains take a vacation. What goes best with the bounty of ripe, succulent summer produce, um Rose. What shall I serve with barbecued chicken, ribs or fish…um, Rose. It’s so easy that I simply cannot understand why anyone would look to make it harder. “Is it more like white or more like red?” is really all anyone needs to know.
When you start over analyzing Rose it is like looking too closely at that trunk in your Grandparent’s guestroom or my scuffed up, spinally compromised shoes. Asking yourself why all those dents, dinks, scratches and scruffs are there instead of seeing that life has happened to them. Those trunks hold years worth of art projects, photos and letters….my jacked up shoes have been with me all over France and Spain and when my feet are in them my head is held higher. Life, history and memories are all over those trunks, my shoes and your next bottle of Rose. Pop the cork, sip away at something easy, refreshing and life enhancing.
Sometimes it just needs to be wet, let your life, your memories be your tasting notes.