Anyone who reads about or researches rosé has likely consulted the writing of Elizabeth Gabay MW. She’s the author of Rosé: Understanding the pink wine revolution and her highly anticipated new book Rosés of Southern France, written in partnership with Ben Bernheim, is out now.
Bernheim is Gabay’s son, a twenty-something sommelier, writer, and wine industry veteran who returned to the family home in eastern Provence in the early days of the pandemic. During this time he started working with Gabay, researching and tasting wine. As the months ticked by, the duo had tasted around 1,000 rosé wines and documented tasting notes for 850 of them — all from Southern France. These notes became a digital guide.
“But by the end of the guide we found we had more questions than answers,” says Gabay. They wondered about taste variance and typicity, and pondered over the sometimes-vague tasting sheets and winemaking notes that accompanied each bottle. And this is how the new book was born, birthed from a curiosity to deeply understand the rosés of Southern France.
Gabay is the eminent wine industry source, even before this book, on critical thinking about rosé from around the world. Working in Provence since the mid 1980s, she’s not one to make assumptions about color, age-worthiness, vinification methods, origins, potential, or style of rosé. This book — covering Provence, the Rhone Valley, and Languedoc — also includes an educational introduction to Southern French rosé as well as vintage reporting and context on aging rosé wine.
Interest in rosé wines from the South of France has escalated in recent years, though the region has cultivated this style since antiquity. According to BevAlc Insights’ 2022 Rosé Wine Category Forecast by Drizly, “pink bottles from France — especially Provence and elsewhere in southern France — continue to dominate sales, holding 63 percent of rosé share on Drizly.” And there’s no sign of this pattern slowing down. According to this same report, “continued product innovation means consumers will likely be seeking new styles” of rosé in both still and sparkling categories in the future. This is a reality that Gabay and Bernheim have anticipated.
“Of course we realize that with rosé being the most exciting wine category around right now — constantly developing and changing — a book will not be enough,” says Gabay, hinting at a forthcoming second edition. Meanwhile the website pink.wine is where fans and readers can keep up with the authors and access ongoing content and research about rosé wine.
The book is also rich with original photography and maps. “We decided to include as many maps as possible — difficult as very few maps exist for this region and less for rosé, so Ben created many of the maps himself,” says Gabay. “We wanted photos of terroir to show where the wine comes from, to discuss the soils, grapes, winemaking, and whether good rosés could age.” All that and more is waiting inside.