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April 21, 2024

The Dark Side of the Rose

How I’m learning to love rosé again

Long ago, while living in the South of France and watching fellow denizens quaf anonymous pale pink wine like it was some kind of sports drink, I burned out on the whole category of Provence rosé.

To be fair there are some good — even great — rosés coming from Provence. But they tend to get overshadowed by the anonymous stuff.

I want wine of any color to hold up to a meal with some mouth-filling savoriness, no matter what season it is. And ideally, I want wine to express some local character. I want some "there" there.

Chef Nicolas Durif of L’Hysope in France

Like me, chef Nicolas Durif of L’Hysope in western France likes "red rosé" at the Rosés de Terroirs tasting in Nice.  Photo @ Robert Camuto

So I was cheered earlier this year with an invitation with the cheeky title “Rosé Rebellion on the French Riviera?” It was for a tasting and lunch organized by the three-year-old Rosés de Terroirs association at the appropriately named Les Agitateurs restaurant in Nice.
There I met like-minded wine lovers and a wild range of wines from France and Italy — ranging from salmon to deep cherry.

“I am a fan of red rosé — not white rosé,” said burly, bearded, acclaimed chef Nicolas Durif of L’Hysope in western France, who likes to age rosé at least five years for the vermouth-like spicy notes that emerge with time. “We serve the light rosés to the clients who like water.”

I was at home.

For a deeper dive, do read the latest Robert Camuto Meets…. at