A friend once told me a story about an associate of his who asked him for a restaurant recommendation for a first date. Trying not to be too harsh, but still having to acknowledge that this associate was not perhaps the most sophisticated of individuals, the friend suggested a pleasant enough little pizza place in the city. The day after the dinner date, the non-sophisticate diner approached the friend with annoyance. He was not happy with the restaurant he’d been recommended at all, not one bit. The reason? He had decided to ‘impress’ his date by choosing the wine for her, and had asked the waitron for a bottle of the establishment’s finest rosé; when he was told there was no rosé on the menu, he took his date and stormed out of the restaurant “in disgust”. When I heard this story, not only did I wheeze and snot with mirth, I decided that this restaurant can’t be as bad as I’d once thought.
It may sound like the height of ingratitude or snobbishness, but I’ve always thought that dinner guests who bring rosé are showing little else but contempt for their hosts. Rosé is a lamentable excuse for a drink and should never, ever be presented to anyone who claims to enjoy a glass of wine with their dinner.
I’ve been handed rosé by no fewer than three dinner guests in the past; each time, I simply assumed they’d taken leave of their senses and discernment and/or gone teetotal. I’ve never expected guests to bring wine anyway, and I’d sooner they arrived empty-handed than present me with a bottle of this vile, perfumed Barbie water.
On one occasion, I was even given a bottle of sparkling rosé. I could only imagine I was the latest recipient in a lengthy game of pass-the-poisoned-parcel. Where did it even come from? Why was it, out of everything in the wine shop, actually chosen? It was perhaps the most gruesome item I have ever been forced to look at; the manufacturer had gone to extraordinary lengths, with peach ribbons and cellophane, to give the consumer an accurate idea of just how wretched the drink would be. I say consumer, there was absolutely no consumption of it from me – I wouldn’t even have trusted it to flush down the toilet without leaving a lingering pong or a hideous pinkening of the bowl. Or bowel.
In all seriousness, I actually hate the fact that I find myself judging rosé drinkers as people of generally poor taste. I might be right, but judging is wrong.
I’m more surprised that rosé has survived into the 21st century. I thought it would have gone out with polo neck jumpers but then, I’m still continually surprised by people claiming to love Fleetwood Mac. I put rosé’s continued existence down to a bizarre generational nostalgia for 1970s dinner parties. You know, if it accompanies a meal of prawn cocktail fondue, followed by boeuf Bourguignonne, coq au vin vol au vents and coleslaw a la mariniere, with a dessert of Black Forest gateau brulee, fair enough – you deserve something utterly revolting to drink with that lot. Even the smell of rosé reminds me of malodorous 70s perfumes like Charlie or Tramp, the type of ‘fragrance’ girls would wear to school parties to absolutely ensure you didn’t speak to or dance with them.
Just looking at the bottle of Mateus above is giving me something close to a nostalgia migraine as well as a senselessness of tongue. It almost makes me thirsty for Blue Nun or Black Tower too. Almost.
As a postscript, I should mention that I’ve just checked the menu for that pizza establishment in town and its menu now includes rosé. Nowhere does it say that its inclusion is “due to proletarian disgust”, mind you.