Why pink wine doesn't make these local F&B-ers blush 

Rosé Before Bros

click to enlarge Femi Oyediran, Kyle Norton, and Brooks Reitz sip rosé at Leon's Oyster Shop

Jonathan Boncek

Femi Oyediran, Kyle Norton, and Brooks Reitz sip rosé at Leon's Oyster Shop

Last June GQ magazine printed the following, "Make Way for Brosé: Why More Men are Drinking Pink Wine." And thus a media love affair began. It's no secret that we reporters love a pun. Add that pun to a hipster trend and you've got the sweetest kind of clickbait.

So yeah, I'll admit it, I'm capitalizing on a topic that's been magazine fodder for more than a year now. But here's why — rosé isn't just having a moment in New York or San Francisco, it's the drink of choice for many men in Charleston right now. Gone are the days of rosé being associated with White Zinfandel, the pariah of the wine world. As the men I spoke to will tell you, there's no better sip for springtime in this city than a glass of pink juice.

Kyle Norton
Co-owner 167 Raw
167raw.com

Why do you think rosé been seen as a chick drink?

The first thing is definitely the color. People associate it with being a girly color. It's just like when you were in high school everyone made fun of the kid wearing a pink shirt. Also, there was the stigma of it being sweet and being associated with White Zin. People made the association of it being sweet and therefore feminine. That definitely created stigma.

When did you get into rosé?

I got into rosé when we first opened the restaurant. I took over the beer and wine buying and tasting different wines all the time. rosé is a great fit for seafood first of all. We were tasting more and more of it and I discovered all these really fantastic wines that happen. I was hooked. It's refreshing, it's fun.

What's your favorite rosé of the moment?

There are so many fun rosés coming out of different regions of the world. We poured a rosé from Provence recently, a two-year-old wine meant to be consumed very young. It's aged in steel and oak — a year of each. It's low production with a lot of depth and character, a lot of soul too. It's called Clos Cibonne.

According to EffinBRadio, you jokingly call your new outdoor space 167 Raw's Brosé Garden. Your thoughts on the term brosé?

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I think it's a good mix of fun and silly. We love the term here because it's mainly a bunch of guys, a.k.a. a bunch of bros and we all really love rosé. It's a fitting term for our establishment.

What's your favorite place to drink rosé in Charleston?

That's a tough question that I'm always asking myself. There are a number of good places that have awesome outdoor space, but their wine program doesn't match that of their food. But to encompass all of the above, Leon's outside space is awesome and their wines are really good. You're sitting outside and getting good food and good wine all in one. Edmund's Oast is another awesome one. They've got a great wine program and the food is awesome and the Bower is super cool. Love to sit outside there and hangout.

David McCarus
Owner of McCarus Beverage Co.
mccarusbeverage.com

Why do you think rosé been seen as a chick drink?

I have no idea why it has been classified as a woman's drink for so long. In fact, I think that this is absolutely ridiculous. Now we are going by this term brosé?! What the hell is going on? Any man who has an issue with drinking something that has a pink hue to it has deeper issues than the glass they are holding. I mean haven't you ever heard of Campari? Marketing should be left out of the wine world. I guess this is just one more reason why women may be smarter than men.

Why do you love rosé?

I love rosé for its versatility. No matter if you're pairing with food, enjoying on your porch, in a park or really anywhere, rosé is always a winner. If you really want to take things to the next level, rosé champagne — wowsza! My fear is people will start classifying rosé into a specific category and this is not the case. rosé spreads across a large spectrum of flavor profiles and textures. This is why it's becoming such a great wine for Charleston.

What's your favorite rosé right now?

In the dead heat of the summer, I personally enjoy an acid blasting beast. I want a rosé that is fresh, bright, clean, and bone dry. When we transition into fall and winter, a fuller bodied rosé is perfect. It never gets really cold here; it's always rosé season in my mind. Great rosé is now being made all over the world. Italy is stepping up their game and California rosé is getting better and better. We just began working with Lorenza Winery, a producer out of California who only makes rosé. It's a mother/daughter team who is using old vines to make a dry, fresh and mineral driven rosé that is hard to stop drinking. I can't wait for it to arrive.

Advice to guys just getting into rosé?

I think men are always trying to impress the ladies and if you spend enough time around them you'll start drinking rosé as well. That is, if you're smart...

click to enlarge Brooks Reitz - JONTHAN BONCEK
  • Jonthan Boncek
  • Brooks Reitz

Brooks Reitz
Owner of Leon's, Little Jack's Tavern, and Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.
@brooksreitz

What are your feelings on the term brosé?

I think the term brosé is silly, but I can understand the marketing angle there for whoever cooked it up.

Why do you think rosé has been associated as a women's wine for so long?

I don't know why it was characterized as a women's wine (or at least was when I was growing up) except to say that most people called it blush, and most men weren't comfortable enough ordering a pink drink called blush. Fortunately I never gave a damn, so I drink it freely and confidently. My favorites are light, bright, and refreshing. I even made my own I love it so much.

What's your wine called and where can you buy it?

Oyster Shed rosé was created by me and Harry Root and is available at The Daily and at Xiao Bao Biscuit and Little Jack's Tavern.

click to enlarge Femi Oyediran - JONTHAN BONCEK
  • Jonthan Boncek
  • Femi Oyediran

Femi Oyediran
Certified Advanced Sommelier at Charleston Grill

How do you feel about rosé being viewed as a woman's drink?

I think its weird rosé has kind of gotten tossed into the gender specific product category or that men have to call it things like brosé so no one doubts their masculinity. The issue is color — pink is feminine, right? Meh.

How you do you choose a good rosé?

Some are great — a lot of them can be bland, bitter, weirdly sweet, or even still fermenting. So its important you sort through the ones that might waste your time. I judge rosés like white wine. Close your eyes. Can you always tell the difference? Whether it's cheap or a more expensive version, if its refreshing, has great acidity, and tasty fruit I am always game.

What's your favorite rosé right now?

Red Car makes a rosé from pinot noir sourced from vineyards along the Sonoma Coast that is just bonkers. It has all the aromatics of a sexy pinot noir matched with the zesty, bright citrus elements of a great white wine, and of course the acidity is just perfect. We do an octopus salad at Charleston Grill with a tomato-caper salad, lemon vinaigrette and parsley. Its terrific with rosé. The only thing missing is a seat near the south of France.

Where's your favorite place to drink rosé in Charleston right now?

The Bower at Edmund's Oast or the patio at 167 Raw are no-brainers if you want to slug down a chilled glass of rosé. Then again, any decent porch in Charleston with some friends and a good playlist rocking always wins for me.

Find Brooks' Oyster Shed rosé at The Daily, Xiao Bao Biscuit, Little Jack's Tavern. - JONTHAN BONCEK
  • Jonthan Boncek
  • Find Brooks' Oyster Shed rosé at The Daily, Xiao Bao Biscuit, Little Jack's Tavern.

Brandon Underwood
Front of the House Manager at Edmund's Oast

How do you feel about rosé?

I do not have a complicated relationship with rosé. In fact I have a very open relationship with it. It comes and goes out of my life every few months or so. We break up and get together and always have a good time catching up.

What do you think about it being seen as a woman's drink?

As for rosé having a gender attached to it? That is ridiculous. It's sad when any wine or beverage gets manipulated by the media.

How do you pick a good rosé?

It is quite difficult to find a delicious rosé because it can easily be off balance. The U.S. has a huge rosé culture. In fact most rosé Txakoli (a Spanish wine from the Basque Country) is produced for and sent to the U.S. because they know we will chug it down. I love rosés that are lighter body, salty, and tart.

Where do you like to drink rosé in Charleston?

The Ordinary. They always have a good range of rosé wine.

What's your favorite rosé right now?

My favorite rosé right now is from a producer called Valentin Morel from Jura, France. It's a rosé of native Jura grapes like Poulsard, Trousseau, and Savagni, and more. It's mouth-wateringly salty and refreshing.

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