When asked about the future of rosé wine, Chez Lavinia owner Virginie Morvan said, “There’s a real change in the thinking about rosé. It used to be for the barbecue or on the ‘terrasse’ or for the holidays and festivals in the sun. But now, winegrowers are investing in making wine that can be drunk at the table, even with meat, and these are wines that are full-bodied.” Morvan is not alone in this opinion; today, the youngest generation of wine drinkers are trying this varietal even in cold winter months. A survey found that Millennials are twice as likely to buy rosé as Baby Boomers, which has led to steadier market values for these wines. By 2017, Millennials are expected to become the strongest buying power in the wine world, meaning that collectors should think about rosé now if they want to take advantage of this fast-growing market trend.
Looking to the Future of Rosé
According to a recent Gallup poll, collectors generally expect rosé sales to increase by as much as 70 to 75 percent in the hottest summer months, typically between late June and the latter half of August. In the past, this sudden spike in sales would be accompanied by a sharp decline around September, as the fall season came into full swing. However, over the past few years, the survey found that this is no longer the case; wine lovers are buying this traditionally summery beverage throughout the fall and even into the early winter. Rosé sales sustained a 52 percent increase in sales during September this year, which was down only 18 percent from the peak summer months. What this tells collectors is that younger drinkers are having a meaningful impact on rosé, buying not only more of this wine, but purchasing it outside the glow of summer.
What types of rosé are these young wine drinkers buying? Chef Tom Madrecki, who is 27, told the Washington Post that he has a specific taste for dry, red varietal-heavy rosé labels, but he needs to stick within a strict budget. Madrecki explains, “I love white Burgundy and grower champagnes. But I can’t afford them. So I’m stuck with funky Loire wines.” This gives collectors insight into what Millennials are seeking out right now: namely, lesser-known labels from Loire Valley and possibly, in the future, traditional rosé from Champagne. Although budding Millennial collectors cannot, as a whole, afford top quality bottles of rosé from the finest regions of France, that doesn’t mean they’re not interested. It is important to consider what future collectors may want to buy 10 years from now, which, if current trends hold, may very well be dry rosé wine from top producers.
Loire Valley producers make excellent rosé labels that reflect the taste preferences of many Millennial wine drinkers. Rosé from this region tends to be more fruit-forward, dry, and crisp than the cheap rosé that was widely popular in the 1980s. Wine drinkers from every generation are investing more in light, dry wines, so collectors would be wise to look for these qualities when they select a rosé to cellar. In addition, dry wines cellar longer than sweet wines, on average, which can result in a better return on investment when a collector resells, as a longer cellaring time gives a wine more time to increase in value and rarity.
Provence and Champagne Classics Bring Drinkers Back to Their Roots
In keeping with the trend of drier wines, a recent study found that US wine drinkers no longer group dry rosé wine in with sweet blush wines. In particular, Provence wines have increased in popularity on the market, outselling blush wines like white Zinfandel. On the US market, white Zinfandel has fallen in value by 10.5 percent, while dry rosé has increased in value by 5.1 percent over the past year. Exports of premium rosé from Provence have risen in value even more, climbing 52 percent over the past year. So far, French rosé has the most to gain from this sudden interest in traditional rosé blends.
French rosé will likely continue to increase in popularity, especially classic vintages from Champagne, due to their consistently high quality. Now is the best time to invest in classic brut-style Champagne rosé such as Moet & Chandon’s Dom Perignon. The estate’s 2000 vintage is an ideal choice for collectors looking to get into rosés, as this vintage was known for having a meatier, more fruit-forward palate than a simple blush wine. Wine Advocate’s Antonio Galloni says that the 2000 Dom Perignon “screams Pinot to a degree I have never encountered in another vintage of this wine.” The estate used 25 percent still Pinot Noir in the blend, which gave the wine a stronger, more red wine-like taste, allowing it to pair well with a variety of foods. It is this versatility that collectors should seek in modern bottles of rosé if they want vintages that will sell well outside of the summer months.
While small grower estates in Champagne are worth watching in the coming years, collectors should start investing in classic dry Krug rosé now to take advantage of growing interest in rosés. No one knows how long rosé will remain in the limelight, so it is smart to consider wines that generally sell well anyway, such as those from Krug. This estate’s recent releases have featured dry, rich flavors that are closer to a red wine in style than they are to a white. Many critics have said that Krug’s rosé seems to be a rosé in name and color alone, with the versatility of a fine Pinot Noir. Many modern drinkers are interested in pairing rosé with food, so, like the 2000 Dom Perignon, a Krug rosé is a good choice for food due to its richness.
How California’s “Rhône Valley” Changed Rosé
Classic French wines will be a boon for collectors in the future, but California has developed its own dry rosé wine that is taking the market by storm. Zaca Mesa’s 2010 Z-Gris Rosé is increasing in market worth due to the near-perfect weather conditions in Santa Barbara that year. According to Zaca Mesa, the estate has always tried to mimic the traditionalist styles of Rhône rosé blends, believing that the southern climate of the country is similar to California’s warm, sunny weather. These California Rhône-style blends are extremely dry, low in alcohol, and made from a blend of Grenache and Mourvedre. Since the producer made just 673 cases of the wine, Zaca Mesa’s version of a Rhône rosé is a rare find, garnering some of the highest prices on the market.
The average bottle price for rosé is $16.83 in the US, but fine vintages like those from Zaca Mesa can cost as much as $1,500 per bottle. This puts Zaca Mesa wines out of the budgets of many Millennials, but Zaca Mesa’s wines are nonetheless an important long-term investment. Collectors can choose to sell these high-end rosé bottles to older drinkers now, or cellar them until younger drinkers have a higher disposable income. This is why investing in quality rosé is so important. Good Rhône-style bottles with at least five or 10 good years left in them will allow collectors to wait out the early periods of this growing trend. Then, when rosé reaches peak market value and Millennial drinkers have more to spend on the bottles they want, return on investments will soar. A wine like Sine Qua Non’s Packin’ Rosy rosé is a great candidate for long-term aging, since most critics expect this wine to cellar for at least another five years before reaching its peak.
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