By Amy Gross, the VineSleuth
I plan to tell you much more about the trip here on VineSleuth Uncorked soon, but an announcement of a new wine product releasing in France has inspired me to share something about my trip with you now. It is the release of Rouge Sucette, which means “Red Lollipop” and is a combination of red wine and cola flavoring.
While I was in Spain, Beth Fontaine of Roller Skating with Scissors and I tried what we heard was something of a phenomenon in bars there, the Calimocho. The Calimocho is a combination of red wine and Coca Cola with equal parts of each, and since we were there to get a feel for the culture, Beth and I decided to give it a try.
So what did it taste like?
Before I tell you, I have to give you some information about my palate or flavor preferences. I am not much of a soda drinker. I don’t typically drink super-sweet sugary drinks, but I do love a sweet wine sometimes, as in the delicious late harvest Riesling Trockenbeeren Johannes Reinhardt made at Anthony Road in the Finger Lakes, or a gorgeous Sauternes. But sugary sweet is not my thing, if that makes sense.
So, now that you know that, back to Spain and the Calimocho…
Beth and I ordered the drink and our bartender brought us a bottle of Coca Cola and set down a bottle of Rioja wine. Rioja wines typically have a bit of red fruit flavor to them and Coca Cola’s taste profile is…. Wait, please tell me you are already familiar with the syrupy cola taste and fizzy mouthfeel of Coca Cola—right?
Our bartender poured the two together, and then it was time to give it a try.
What I Thought
Together, the Coke and Rioja wine weren’t terrible, but the drink didn’t taste a bit like wine.
It was super sweet, fruity and fizzy and reminded me of what we used to call ‘suicides’ at the soda fountain when we were kids. That was when we would fill our cups with some of every soda option offered at the drink machine and marvel at the mix of Orange Crush, Grape Crush, Big Red, Coke and a splash of Sprite. (My mom was so cool she even let me do this at home sometimes, too.)
The Calimocho tasted very much like one of those ‘suicide’ sodas. It was fruity, sweet and fizzy, and a bit like a Cherry Coke, but not quite. It was too heavy and syrupy to be refreshing to me, but I don’t drink sodas very often, so I may not be the best person to judge a cola-based drink.
Is the Calimocho a drink for wine drinkers to sub in for a glass of wine every now and then? I doubt it.
Is the Calimocho likely to introduce wine to a new category of drinkers and mold them into wine drinkers some day? Most likely, no. But it could increase the sales of wine, as it is used as a mixer.
Release of Rouge Sucette
Wine industry people are very curious to see what will happen after the release of Rouge Sucette in France, which is essentially a Calimocho pre-mixed in the bottle. Wine drinking in France has lessened in popularity, especially among younger drinkers, so I’m sure the producer is hoping to re-capture some of that market.
Just like the Calimocho, I don’t see this as something that wine drinkers will embrace. And I don’t see it as a ‘gateway’ drink to bring new consumers to enjoy wine, but I bet it will still sell a lot of fermented grape juice.
Any chance you’d be up for experiencing a little of Spain’s culture by trying a Calimocho at home or at your next trip to the bar? Or would you be up for trying Rouge Sucette?