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Sip on this crisp, aromatic wine this summer.

Rosé de Provence has an image problem. Despite its prominence as the first Rosé wine, when most people think of pink wines, what comes to mind is sweet, uncomplicated White Zinfandel, rather than the crisp, bright, dry style Provencal winemakers have been perfecting for 2,600 years.

Just the other day, two women were perusing the display of rosés from around the world at Wine ConneXtion in North Andover when Wine Director Sam Messina overheard one dismiss the whole display as White Zinfandel. Her friend was quick to correct her, and one of Messina’s staffers stepped in to offer some impromptu education, he says.

Provence was the first region in France to make wine, and history shows those early wines were pink, because, while they were using red grapes, the juice spent just a little time in contact with the skins. Known in wine-speak as maceration, extended contact between the skins and the clear grape juice gives red wine its color and structure. With this long history, Provence has developed a reliable style designated by an Appellation d’Origine Protegée (AOP), a French government program that places restrictions on winemaking methods and grapes used in different regions in order to ensure product quality.

Because of the AOP designation, every Rose de Provence is dry and aromatic, though even within that style there are many variations in terms of acid, alcohol, and fruity or floral aromas. Its distinct crisp style makes it a flexible food-friendly choice, pairing elegantly with everything from shrimp cocktail to barbequed chicken, with the medium body even complementing steak.  Great rosé can be found for around $15 or less. Here are two everyday wines to seek out—check back next week to learn about an innovator making high-end age-worthy Rosés de Provence.


Domaine de la Fouquette, Cuvée Rosé d’Aurore 2013: Light-bodied and refreshing, with intense ruby grapefruit aromas, tart palate shows hints of minerals and lime. (Joppa Fine Foods, $16)

St. André de Figure Magali 2013: Appealing salmon pink color, strawberry nose, bone dry with nice weight (Wine ConneXtion, $12.99).