A Rosé for All Seasons: Interview with a Master Sommelier

Rose wine goblets
Image: kieferpix / Getty Images

Rosé gets guzzled all summer long, then ignored for the rest of the year. But should it? It may be time to consider rosé beyond the hot days and acknowledging the ability these wines have to pair with a variety of foods.

What many do not realize is that the category has a wide range of styles, some of which can continue to develop with age. In her VIBE Conference 2020 seminar, “Rosé for all seasons,” Rebecca Fineman will select a lineup of pink wines and speak to their applications beyond a hot-day’s refresher.

Fineman, a Master Sommelier, studied music and anthropology at Pomona College in California, which was followed by a Fulbright year in South Korea, and graduate school in Honolulu. She worked in publishing in New York during the day and got a job in a restaurant in the evening, and fell in love with the industry and put her literary pursuits on the back burner. Rebecca passed her Master Sommelier examination in 2017, making her the 25th female Master Sommelier in the United States and one of 249 Master Sommeliers in the world.

VIBE: Rosé certainly is undergoing a major comeback lately in restaurants.

Rebecca Fineman: Yes, and I’m really excited about this since having worked in the industry for many years I’ve had the opportunity to taste some rosés that were alarmingly good and ageable and really don’t fit at all that simple rosé category that everyone thinks of when they think of rosé. My presentation is an opportunity to show that rosé is more than a one-note wonder, and that there is a lot of versatility to them. Yes, there are simple wines that can be delightful because sometimes you don’t want a wine that’s complex, but there are also wines that come from all over the world with a range of styles that are delicious, food-friendly, affordable and can really be surprising

VIBE: There’s been a rush among many winemakers to take part in this American rosé boom. How is that affecting the situation?

Fineman: I was just in Chile and I participated in a rosé tasting, which not long ago would have been unexpected. The winemakers there were talking about how the American market wants more rosé, so there are some problems with the success of rosé as people get swept up and think there is a simple formula that Americans want. So, there are some flaws in this growth boom, but when someone puts some thought into it and uses some good juice and produces a good wine for under $30 retail, people are generally very excited about it, especially when it comes from an interesting place. 

VIBE: What’s the best way to expand a rosé list when people are used to certain brands or types that may not be so available anymore?

Fineman: Grabbing the bull by the horns is one way to do it. There are a number of very small production wineries, cool hipster producers making rosé zinfandel right now, for example. That’s a conversation starter if you have something like that on your list. Or have something that doesn’t fit the customer’s perception and you offer it to gain the guest’s trust—if the recommendation is very affordable, if they don’t like it, they won’t be too upset. People don’t mind taking a chance if they aren’t being overcharged.

Thirsty to learn more? Be sure to register today for VIBE Conference 2020 and add this session to your calendar. See you in San Diego!

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