“There’s no way I’m drinking pink wine!”
So exclaimed one of my pink phobic male pals when I tried to convince him of the merits of rosé. He’s not alone in his machismo, especially in my neck of the Montana woods where lumberjacks, hunters, Carhartt clad construction workers, and grizzled cattle ranchers roam a land dotted with microbreweries. The statistics are telling. Bozeman, Montana leads the nation in most craft breweries per capita and the rest of state continues moving up the ranks, currently fourth in the nation overall in breweries per capita.
Wine, let alone pink wine, could barely budge Big Sky beer imbibers beyond their beloved brewskies.
The most obvious deterrent is rosé’s rosy hue so imbued with feminine associations, at least in American culture. When we think pink, we see Barbie’s signature color, infant girl clothing and breast cancer awareness ribbons.
Pink wine has feminine inferences as well. Rosès are heavily marketed in the month of May for Mother’s Day, springtime luncheons and garden parties.
Frilly nuances aside, pink wine’s reputation is further tainted by the cheap, syrupy White Zinfandel rage of the 70’s and 80’s that left an indelible sugar stain on our collective wine psyche.
Enough. It’s time to rethink pink and infuse a more manly mystique to rosé.
Let me tackle the color issue first and squash the gender stereotype of pink being for girls. If you step back in time to pre-World War 2, you’ll discover it was men who first identified with the color pink. Society viewed both pink and blue from a different perspective. A 1918 Ladies’ Home Journal article stated that “blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Pink at the time was viewed as masculine since it was derived from red and thus better suited for boys.
The “pink-is-for-men” trend continued through 1925 when pink suits worn by dapper men (think Great Gatsby) were symbols of wealth. The feminizing of pink began in 1947 when fashion magnate Christian Dior launched a women’s fashion line in pink. Since then, pink has been associated with feminine frills and frou-frou.
To continue on in my attempt to gender bend rosé…
Modern culture has its icons of masculinity tinged in PINK. How about the PINK Panther, the heroic cartoon cat? PINK Anderson, a tough 20th century American blues singer, was actually the inspiration for the English progressive rock band PINK Floyd.
Still not enough? Let me drop this macho name…
Bond. James Bond had no qualms about thinking pink or drinking pink, at least in the novel rendition of Ian Fleming’s famous exploits of Agent 007. In a passage of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, pink champagne is mentioned as an accompaniment to scrambled eggs. In Goldfinger, Bond’s signature Bollinger took on a bit of blush. “With ceremony…the tankards of champagne frothed pink.”
To further my case…
Rosé has been gaining popularity in recent years thanks to aggressive ad campaigns aimed at re-educating the public on pink wine. Pink may as well be the new red, at least vinously speaking.
The White Zinfandel stigma is countered by the fact that quality pink wine indeed exists. For starters, France (no need to prove this country’s preeminence in the world of wine), is renown for stellar rosés. Look no further than Provence and other regions in the South of France for excellent, complex rosé. A French rosé’s racy acidity and steely backbone make for a manly profile.
If a foray into France still seems too frou-frou, venture over to the land of mighty matadors. Spain, known for its powerful red wines, produces rosés that are bolder and deeper in color. These rosados are hearty enough to be paired with red meat.
And speaking of manly pairings, let’s move away from the salads and light poultry dishes that are classically matched up with rosé. A guy friend calls such lighter fare “girl food”. To appeal more to the male palate, try pairing rosé with bratwurst and sauerkraut or grilled pork chops. Such macho matchings just might convert the staunchest rosé rebel into an impassioned pink promoter, perhaps to the point of seeing pink elephants!
If I STILL haven’t endeared the male gender to the finer points of pink wine, let me highlight a specific rosé that was created by a partnership between two highly acclaimed winemakers: Charles Smith and Charles Bieler. Their collaborative effort to create stellar wines under the label of Charles & Charles is proof positive that rosé rocks. In fact, their motto for their rosé is:
YES, YOU CAN DRINK ROSÉ AND STILL BE BAD *SS!
This wine is pink as Alaskan salmon and a hound dog’s nose. Its aromas are reminiscent of thorny raspberry patches and mown grass. A dominant palate of Fred Flintstone’s gravel quarry and wild berries on steroids prove that this rosé is anything but girlie.
Here’s a link to an entertaining video featuring the two Chucks: http://bielerandsmith.com/
Are my masculine references swaying any men out there yet? Then let me quote a sommelier friend of mine, Andrew, who lives in Rhode Island. He admits that many rosés fall flat, but in a recent wine review featured on Vivino, he rated a Sonoma County rosé at four stars out of five. Angels & Cowboys Rosé (such a macho name!) was described as having stone notes and racy acidity, very drinkable on a hot summer day. In chatting further with Andrew, he exclaimed, “Pink is the new power color, so get over it! Rosé for life!”
With a certified somm’s stamp of approval, I now rest my case. Men, it’s okay to drink pink! And here’s the clincher. When you scramble the letters of the word TESTOSTERONE, you get ROSÉ ONSET.