California Rosé & Other Blanc de Noir Wines

Pink is charming and pretty — the color of flowers, seashells, clouds at twilight or the soft glitter of fire opals. Pink is also the color of some delicious wines. The wines appear delicate, but many are strong enough to stand up to spicy foods. They are also light enough to be a versatile match with a variety of lighter dishes. These pretty wines are known by several names including rosé, blanc de noir, vin gris or simply blush. The wines may also have a name using the single grape variety from which they may be made, such as White Zinfandel, White Grenache, Pinot Noir Blanc or White Merlot.

White Zinfandel accounts for the majority of blush wine consumed in the U.S. A favorite since the 1970s, these crisp, slightly sweet (generally 2.5% residual sugar) wines have introduced many consumers to the enjoyment of wine. For 52 weeks ending June 17, 2017, pink wines accounted for 9.3% of the volume sold in large volume food stores and other large volume outlets in the U.S., according to Nielsen figures.

The other wines in the pink genre are the bone-dry rosés and blanc de noirs. Gaining accolades and market share, these beautiful dry wines have high acidity, and complex aromas and fruit flavors. From a smaller base, dry rosés gained over 26% volume share of the blush category last year, per Nielsen.

Winemakers use nearly all types of red grapes to produce these wines. For rosés, well-colored grape skins are allowed only brief contact with the clear juice after crushing to produce the light crimson hues of a rosé wine, generally an average of six to 24 hours of skin contact. Blanc de noir wines, a term applied to white wines from black grapes, also known as vin gris-style wines, are also produced by quickly separating the clear juice from the color-laden grape skins, but immediately after crushing so that only the barest blush of pale color remains in the wine. Both rosé and blanc de noir wines are then made like white wines.

 

Table Wine Trends in U.S. Food Stores and Other Large Outlets

Year % Market Share by Value, Total Table Blush* % Market Share by Volume, Total Table Blush
2016 6.1% 9.3%

Source: Nielsen Company. Wine sales in U.S. food stores and other off-premise measured channels from all domestic and foreign producers
* Includes White Zinfandel, White Grenache, White Merlot, and Other Blush