There’s not much better than a chilled glass of rosé on a warm summer day (or, really, any day). But according to Victoria James, sommelier and author of Drink Pink , our pretty pink wine could be harboring some pretty gross ingredients. Is nothing sacred anymore?
“Stay away from big brands and companies, since these are the McDonald’s of the wine world, pumping their juice full of chemicals and synthetic ingredients,” says Victoria. She adds that mass-produced wines contain ingredients like horse hooves, sulfur dioxide and isinglass, aka fish swim-bladder granulate. (Ah yes, the nose is fruit-forward with a nice horse hoof finish.) Hard pass.
So how can you avoid these icky wine additions? Here, she gives us her best tips on how to pick the perfect rosé.
Don't Fall For Gimmicks
"If something sounds gimmicky, it probably isn't worth drinking," says Victoria. "These products are relying on advertising ploys versus high-quality methods and ingredients to sell their products. Run when you see wine names that use words that are stuck in the 1990s, like 'angel' or 'whisper.'" [Editor's note: We've definitely tried that one.]
Look For A Specific Region
"The bigger the region, like Provence, for example, the more likely you are to stumble upon lower-quality wines," explains Victoria. "Get as specific as possible. Look for places within Provence like Bandol, Cassis and Palette. These places have stricter requirements for wine-making and vineyards, so as a result you have higher quality products!"
Find An Importer
"The back label of every imported wine bottle holds the importer information. These people do all the work for you, searching the world for the best products and assembling a portfolio of their favorites; you can trust them and anything they bring in will have heart and soul," she says. "Some examples of importers who focus on natural, organic, high-quality wines are Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Rosenthal, Louis Dressner and Skurnik."
Know What To Ask For
"Ask your sommelier or wine shop for small producers who craft well-made pink wine," says Victoria. "Ask for rosés with soul!"