The French have gotten into fruit-flavored wines in a big way. As if news of declining consumption of wine overall wasn't enough, drinkers in France are snatching up bottles of rosé pamplemousse (grapefruit-flavored rosé) and rosé mandarin or black currant at an ever-growing rate.
Sales of flavored wine (and sangria) in France jumped 45.2% in 2013 over 2012's figures, "beating rum, specialty beers, cognac and iced teas," according to a study by IRI in the beverage trade magazine RayonBoissons.
Stocked at the supermarket, they're inexpensive and easy drinking. They're also lower in alcohol at 8% to 10.5%. Jean-Philippe Perrouty reports on the British site www.wineintelligence.com that the flavored wine craze is biggest with younger people in France, who drink them as apéritifs. A study cited by Perrouty conducted on behalf of ViniSud (the International Exhibition of Mediterranean Wines and Spirits) in France concluded that among those 18 to 34 years old, 33% drink flavored wines as an apéritif.
Hold on, there's hope: Many still prefer white wine or plain old rosé as an apéritif. But the fans of flavored wine are growing.
One company, "V et Fruits," offers 26 varieties of flavored wines. Crazy. A Bordeaux winemaker that also sells grapefruit and passion fruit-flavored wines came out last year with a new flavor, Rouge Sucette (Red Lollipop). It's red wine tinged with Cola. Shocking.
For the longest time I thought Americans were the only ones with a proclivity for flavored everything — lattés, bread, olive oil, muffins, marshmallows, tea and God knows what else. This is, after all, the home of 31 Flavors.
A bottle of Blanc Pêche (white wine flavored with peach) may be on the way to our shores as I write this. Or it may already be lurking on a supermarket shelf ready to leap out and start a flavored wine craze here, too.
Be scared. Be very scared.