In 1936, the first paid holidays were introduced, heralding the start of mainstream tourism. Holidaymakers came in search of sun and of course the South and Provence, home to excellent rosé wines. From then on, many people associated rosés with holidays. As an aside, the Good King René of Anjou, also Count of Provence, is said to have introduced winemaking methods for rosé in the region in the 15th century.
Drinking a glass of rosé around the pool, or even in the pool with water up to your waist, has therefore become a tradition. In hot weather, the temperature of wine increases rapidly, whereas a Côtes de Provence (AOC) must be drunk chilled. It is a fruity yet dry wine and therefore needs to be chilled by placing the bottle in an ice bucket, rather than diluting it by adding ice cubes which melt.
The growing popularity of rosé wines led South-West co-operative group Vinovalie to invent the ‘rosé piscine’ (Vin de France) in 2005. Unlike other rosés, the highly aromatic grape varieties used and increased sweetness of the wine make adding ice cubes and letting them melt a little a must. Also, the grapes are harvested very early in the morning to avoid oxidation, producing a pale wine reminiscent of its cousin from Provence.
So this is the type of wine that should be used for adding ice cubes and certainly not a Côtes de Provence, which must be enjoyed undiluted. Be careful outside the home, not all bars and restaurants seem to have grasped the difference!
Do you have a technique for savouring rosé nicely chilled? Share your techniques.