Rosé Piscine Is One of the French Riviera’s Best-Kept Drinking Secrets
Thanks to this unique French import, everyone will be drinking rosé on the rocks this summer
If anyone needs me this summer, I’ll be drinking rosé on the rocks — and if I had to guess, I’d be willing to bet you will be, too.
Though drinking wine over ice has long been condemned as the original sin of wine consumption, reserved for only the most clueless or willfully uncouth of consumers, sipping rosé on the rocks is a luxury in which the illustrious — or at least enviable — beachgoers and sunbathers of St. Tropez have indulged for years. Rumor has it Parisian starlet Brigitte Bardot could often be found frolicking around the French Riviera downing rosé and Champagne on the rocks, and she’s even credited with giving this style of rosé consumption its name: piscine de rosé, using the French word for “swimming pool” as a playful nod to the large cognac glass in which the drink was often served.
It’s from this starlit reference that Rosé Piscine, the first and only wine crafted specifically to be served over ice, gets its name. “Rosé Piscine — pronounced like ‘be seen’ — is the colloquial French expression for a rosé on ice,” the brand tells InsideHook. “It was first introduced in France a little over a decade ago, where it quickly became and remains one of the top selling rosé wines annually. The demand there is literally insatiable.”
Rosé Piscine has since picked up a sizable following in Brazil, Uruguay and the French Caribbean as well, but remains something of a “kept secret” in the US, where it’s established “a cult following with people in the know.” However, as partner Angela Benzan and managing partner Neil Bhatia tell InsideHook, “We expect the secret to be out soon.”
If our predictions are correct, you only have a small window of time left to be an early adopter before the Rosé Piscine trend takes over, so here’s what you need to know to be “in the know,” before everyone else is.
What is Rosé Piscine?
By now, I assume you get the basics: Rosé Piscine is rosé on the rocks. But it’s different than just pouring your favorite bottle of Whispering Angel or Hamptons Water over some ice cubes.
“We wish we could take credit for putting ice in wine; however, it’s not been uncommon in the South of France for a few decades now by those who enjoy a cool, refreshing, crisp glass of rosé on a beautiful day,” says the brand. What Rosé Piscine did create, however, “is a wine that is made for and gets better on the rocks.”
In doing so, Rosé Piscine managed to effectively brand and categorize a little-known style of wine. As Benzan and Bhatia note, “piscine de rosé” has long been a French colloquialism, but Rosé Piscine made that expression a recognizable name, something specific those in the know can order at a bar: “Nowadays when you ask for a rosé piscine, you’re asking for and getting Rosé Piscine.”
Okay, but what makes Rosé Piscine different from any other rosé?
Sure, you could plop some ice cubes into any old glass of rosé, but you won’t be getting the full Rosé Piscine experience— which I tell you as someone who has consumed a fair amount of Rosé Piscine, though not nearly as much as I would’ve liked to by now.
“You can put ice in any wine,” the brand reminds us. After all, you’re an adult, you can drink whatever the hell you want. But if you do, you’re likely to end up with little more than watered-down wine within a few minutes out in the sun. Not so with Rosé Piscine.
As someone who has tried in vain to replicate the Rosé Piscine experience with any of the “dozens of rosé wines from Provence that look, feel and taste like Whispering Angel,” as Benzan and Bhatia put it, I can confirm Rosé Piscine has a secret, ice-melt-resistant recipe. I can’t tell you what it is, though, and neither will anyone from the brand: “It would be like asking Krispy Kreme what makes its donuts so good.”
What they will share, however, is that Rosé Piscine is made largely from the negrette varietal of grape, a smaller, dark and tough-skinned grape found only in a specific region of South West France that produces strong aromatic and flavor qualities, “qualities that we’ve further developed and enhanced when served on the rocks.”
It’s different. You’re just gonna have to trust me on this one.
But isn’t drinking wine with ice cubes tacky?
Again, you’re an adult, you can drink whatever the hell you want. But if you’re still wary of wading into taboo territory, Rosé Piscine offers a sanctioned invitation to break with stodgy oenophile tradition.
As the brand points out, rosé itself has long been considered “gauche” by wine snobs and sommeliers. “The only way to add insult to injury would be by adding ice,” which, of course, is exactly what Rosé Piscine did. While Rosé Piscine sanctions a former taboo, it also recognizes that it’s breaking with tradition, and doesn’t need an excuse or apology for doing so.
“There’s a certain human satisfaction in being bad or irreverent and bucking taboo in a fun, sexy, cool manner,” and that, according to Rosé Piscine, is exactly what has resonated with folks.
Initial resistance to the brand “came largely from the turtleneck-wearing wine snobs who decant their wine, then swirl it in their wine glass, close their eyes, sip and swish it in their mouth contemplatively only to then spit it out in a spit bucket,” and even those types have since set down their anti-Rosé Piscine armor.
Stateside, the trend has already started to catch on — even with brands exalted by the most snobbish of sommeliers. “It’s been said there’s no sincerer form of flattery than imitation. If that’s the case, we’re blushing,” Rosé Piscine tells InsideHook. Case in point, Moet & Chandon’s recently launched Ice Imperial: a Champagne crafted to be served on ice, for which Rosé Piscine, “didn’t even get a shout-out.”
Okay, but can I — a man — drink Rosé Piscine?
Once again, for the gentlemen in the back: You are an adult, drink whatever the hell you want. If you’re still afraid to drink rosé in the year 2021 just because it’s pink, then please kindly return to whatever antiquated era from whence you recently emerged.
“Rosé had largely, in the past, been enjoyed by women and those men comfortable enough with their sexuality,” note Benzan and Bhatia. “That was decades ago. All that’s out the window. Rosé Piscine is fun. It’s cool; it’s sexy; it’s inclusive. It doesn’t take itself too seriously.” And you shouldn’t either.
Remember, this well-kept secret is on its way out. So consider yourself “in the know” — for now. You’re welcome, of course, but if you want to thank me, just buy me a Rosé Piscine.
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