Most wine lovers have heard of ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers), but how many are familiar with RAP (Rosé Avengers and Producers)?
ZAP, of course, has been the champion for America’s heritage grape for nearly two decades. Their annual tasting, held in San Francisco each January, is one of the largest wine events in the country—a day-long orgy of Zinfandel produced by hundreds of different wineries, held in two buildings the size of football fields.
RAP’s yearly event, nicknamed Pink Out, will be held on Tuesday, May 8 at the Butterfly Restaurant in San Francisco’s Embarcadero. It’s a modest tasting compared with its Zinfandel counterpart, with perhaps 40-50 wineries participating. Butterfly’s chef, Robert Lam, will turn out Pan-Pacific appetizers, and “guests are encouraged to wear their most fun and entertaining pink attire.”
So what’s the point of RAP? The organization is “dedicated to righting the wrongs done to dry rosé,” and those wrongs are legion. When I first started drinking wine in the 1970s, dry rosé (usually sourced from the South of France) was one of the most popular wines in America. That popularity was wiped out when the White Zinfandel epidemic swept across the country. Consumers were suddenly placed in an impossible situation. The folks who liked White Zin had no use for dry rosé, since it wasn’t sweet enough. On the other end of the spectrum, wine lovers became self-conscious about drinking dry rosé in public, since it seemed to visually brand them as fans of White Zin. Faced with that double whammy, sales of dry rosé slowed to a trickle.
The category is once again booming in recent years, as a new generation of wine drinkers discovers the versatility of dry rosé. Dry pink wine has an amazing range of styles and food matchups; flavors of red fruits and a firm, tannic backbone make it a good accompaniment for everything from finger foods and fish dishes through chicken, veal and pork to red meats. It’s also a charm by itself on a hot day.
Wherever you are on May 8, uncork a bottle of dry rosé and celebrate the fact that people are recovering their senses.