Pop Goes The Wine -- With Cola Flavoring?
There is a new, and somewhat disturbing, trend in wine. In an attempt to revive a lagging wine industry the French are working on a plan to make wine more appealing to younger drinkers. To this end they have created Rouge Sucette (Red Lollipop). It is a red wine with cola flavoring and sugar added. How do you judge the palate and bouquet of something like that?
Back in the 80s there was the appearance of wine coolers, such as the brand Bartles & Jaymes. The concept was based on the idea of sangria, a red wine drink that originated in Spain and Portugal. Sangria is red wine mixed with fresh fruit or fruit juice and a sweetener. In some cases a splash of brandy or soda is added. The wine coolers were widely panned by connoisseurs, but they have weathered the storms and more than 30 years later they are still on the market.
Over those 30 years wine consumption has dropped by a startling amount. In 1980 more than 50% of adults in France reported drinking wine on a daily basis. That number has dropped to a mere 17%. A number of factors are cited for the decline, including the end of long lunches and the sagging economy.
The goal is to bring younger drinkers -- those in their 20s -- and women into the wine market. This is a generation that prefers beer and hard liquor to the traditional beverage of their forebears. The maker of Rouge Sucette, Hausssmann Famille, has already had success with mixing grapefruit and passion fruit flavors with their rosé and white wines.
The drink is 75% red wine and 25% cola flavor, sugar and water. It will officially be launched in August.
Believe it or not, this is not the first joint venture between cola and red wine. A drink called kalimotxo is popular in Basque culture. It is a cocktail that mixes equal parts red wine and cola served on the rocks. The drink dates back to the 1970s.
Rouge Sucette is bound to do more than just raise a few eyebrows. Is this the ultimate "dumbing down" of wine? Only time and the palates of a new generation will tell.