An Apéro Poolside

In France, rosé, the pink wine, is all about lifestyle, notably the apéro.

Apéro is an evocative word for the French – an idyllic end-of-day ritual. As if by prearrangement, an apéro is accompanied – on a terrace, by the pool, or at a sidewalk cafe – by a rosé.

At first sip, everyone approves of whatever rosé is poured into his or her glass. This is a nearly universal phenomena: a cheerful time when critical judgement is suspended. Your wit and your tastebuds are awoken, titillated, and flirted with!

An apéro serves to transport one from the busy workaday world to the relaxed evening hours. It also marks an escape from the suppressive heat of the day to the cooling airs and fragrances of crepuscule.

More than a pre-dinner libation, an apéro is time to take ease among friends in shadows and coolness.

The BIB: Bag-in-boxes

A Bag-in-Box of rosé from the Cave de Bonnieux

In the south, 50 to 70 per cent of rosé wine is produced by wine cooperatives, and sold in bottles or Bag-in-Boxes (bulk).

The bag-in-boxes are 5 or 10 liters containers. At a local wine co-op, 5 liters of rosé sells for 16-18 euros, about $3.00 for the volume of a 750ML bottle.

BIB rosé is void of any snobbery. The bourgeoisie terrienne (land owners) in the Sud embrace bag-in-boxes with a self-conscious unpretentiousness. With BIBs as a form of cellar protection, they gladly serve rosé from a spout at pool parties and casual get-togethers, or as an end-of-day tonic when friends pop in.

At posh vernissages in the Luberon during the summer season, guests cheerfully sip rosé poured from glass carafes, filled from BIBs behind a curtain. This is a perfectly acceptable arrangement.

An apéro dînatoire at a tasting hosted by the Maison des Vins, Avignon

An Apéro dînatoire 

An apéro dînatoire is a designation for when hors d’oeuvres are complemented with additional servings of food, the quantity and selection falling between an apéritif and a dinner.

The term is often employed as a compliment for generous portions of food, offered at an art opening, wine tasting or private event.

At many events, rosés are offered in bottles from négociants, who purchase juice or grapes, and bottle it under their own brand.

Wine tastings feature estate-bottled rosés – grown, cultivated, vinified, and bottled at the property. These are rosés distinguished by a terroir, and a winemaking style. 

Note: apéro and apéritif are interchangeable. One hears often the expression l’heure d’apéro to refer to late afternoon, early evening.