On Sunday we honor Mom with flowers, gifts, and if she’s lucky, a beautiful bottle of wine. But which wine? You might think a delicate, feminine wine would do the trick, but motherhood is not always such a delicate, feminine undertaking. Motherhood calls for a rosé.
Rosé and Mother’s Day have very similar beginnings in the United States. Both started with a bang.
Mother’s Day as we know it, was first celebrated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis of West Virginia wanted to make a tribute to her mom and all mothers and maternal figures everywhere. Later Jarvis created a Mother’s Day International Association and even trademarked the phrase “Mother’s Day”. She took her campaign all the way to the White House, where in 1914 Woodrow Wilson, a noted mama’s boy, declared the second Sunday in May a national holiday. We could not find any reference to her mother’s reaction, but by the 1920’s the holiday had become so commercialized, Jarvis denounced it as a “Hallmark holiday”. “She was arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace while protesting against the commercialization of Mother’s Day, and she finally said that she regretted having started it.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day – cite_note-msnbc-103)
The popularity of rosé has had a similar journey, but perhaps without the jail time. Because the grapes were pressed soon after harvest and the grape skin had little contact with the wine, the earliest red wines were actually about the same color as the modern rosé. Historically, these lighter, fruitier wines were prized for their superior taste and delicacy. Until Mateus and Lancers came along to shake things up.
Both brands, created in the 1940’s after World War II, were successfully styled to appeal to the masses. By designing the perfectly refreshing pink celebration beverage, Mateus and Lancers were able to flood the European and American markets. Their super sweet, slightly sparkling rosés made record sales. We became wine drinkers; then we became educated wine drinkers. And as the American taste for wine matured, our delight in the pink stuff waned.
But don’t knock fad wines. Like Hallmark cards that made it easy to honor Mom, Mateus and Lancers made it easy for us to drink wine. Think of them as gateway wines fueling our fancy for something more.
Now we’ve come full circle. The recent renaissance of rosé wines is still upon us. Rosé has become our go-to summer wine (sign up to find some great rosé deals here). And why shouldn’t it be? Because they are made with some of the same grapes, rosé wines are as nuanced as our favorite reds. They are easy to drink. They are inexpensive without being cheap, elegant without being snobby, and young without being astringent.
You might want to skip the card this year, but don’t skip the flowers or the wine. A French rosé should do the trick. Provençal rosés are excellent. They tend to be dry and accessible. “A good rosé, at a lunch outdoors, preferably seaside or at least poolside, or even on a terrace, at a sidewalk table or on a tar-paper roof, will transport me to Provence as quickly as you can say Brigitte Bardot.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/24/dining/reviews/rose-in-demand-but-not-demanding.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0). What could be more meaningful than sharing conversation and a wonderful, transporting bottle of rosé with Mom on her day?