Misunderstood, ridiculed, under-appreciated – in the world of wine, rosé is a teenager with an inferiority complex. But a change of this perception might be coming, and the push towards it begins in Phuket.

“It’s red” or “it’s white” isn’t enough to define a wine. When talking about those two dominant kinds – that is red and white – we tend to look beyond just their color, we search for something hidden deeper, something refined and complex. But when it’s a rosé in the glass, then it’s…well, just a rose. A pink wine, no to be treated seriously. Yet there are wine lovers, and experts, who beg to differ. “Don’t judge a rosé by its color,” says James Suckling, throwing the weight of his name behind the world’s most under-appreciated wine.

The first thing that surprises me when I meet Suckling at the Nai Harn hotel in Phuket, during the “Best rosé in Thailand 2017” event, is that he remembers me. We’ve met for the first time a year ago, at the 2016 edition, and he must have attended dozens of wine events and encountered dozens of journalists since then.

On the other hand, though – should I be surprised? After all, good memory is absolutely crucial in his trade of a wine critic. And Suckling, being one of the world’s top wine experts, proves that his in excellent shape, by casually quoting prices, origins and other fun facts about each rosé stacked in front of us. Because, I forgot to mention, our encounter is less of an interview and more of a chat over a glass – or rather many glasses – of rosé wine.  All of them, the finalists of this year “Best rosé in Thailand” competition.

Launched a year ago by The Nai Harn hotel in partnership with Suckling, it aims to change our perception of rosé wine. “People don’t really know rosé and don’t think about it as a serious wine, “says Suckling and pours me a glass, to prove how wrong those people are.

The wine has a deep, almost ruby hue, a nose full of fruits with a touch of smoke and it fills up my mouth with a fruity freshness that just lingers on. “This is what you’re looking for in a good rosé – nice density and texture, but also freshness. A refined, fresh and balanced wine,” says Suckling.

We continue to fill our glasses with more wines – each of them different shade of pink, ranging from pale salmon to some that could be mistaken for light reds – and each one proves that rosé is a self-standing, well defined wine, not just a younger brother to reds and whites. “A really good rosé isn’t stuck between red and white. It’s not like ‘is it meat or is it fish”’, it cannot go with both, “says Suckling.

What it can go with though, is Thai food, making Thailand a perfect place to start changing rosé’s unfair image. In fact, this change might be already happening. Last year’s “Best rosé in Thailand” featured just over 50 wines, this year’s – more than 80, and many of them now available under 1000 THB per bottle, making them way more accessible. But what maybe changed the most, is quality – it skyrocketed.

“I think there is no limit to it, there could be a 100 points rosé” says Suckling, and with such words coming from one of the world’s most influential wine critics, the future of rosé looks rosy.

For more information and full results of the “Best rosé in Thailand 2017” competition visit jamessuckling.com