A few days ago, Madonna posted a photo on Instagram of her 17-year-old daughter, Lourdes, and some girlfriends posing in their prom dresses. Two of them (not Lourdes) are clutching wine glasses that contain a liquid the distinct orange hue of either Juicy Juice or good rosé. Madonna's caption strongly suggested the latter: “Pre prom turn up ! #yaaaaaassssssbitch.”
Let’s skip the faux outrage about entitled, law-breaking children and go straight to being impressed by their taste in booze. Where each previous micro-generation of illicit drinkers has had its own designated, candy-flavored poison (in reverse-chronological order: Four Loko, Smirnoff Ice, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Zima, wine coolers), these teens want to drink what my professional women friends want drink. So do many of the Rich Kids of Instagram.
To a certain extent, sweet, pink rosé has always been the Smirnoff Ice of wines, even after it became very cool about eight years ago. (See the Misshapes drinking rosé here.) In 2010, New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov argued that this lack of pretension was the appeal, “that it’s not considered a serious wine.” “Everyone can let down their guard and feel free of any demands to demonstrate sophistication by issuing trenchant analyses of what’s in the glass,” he wrote. Even teens.
Of course, rich, suburban teens don’t love rosé for the reprieve from stuffy Bordeaux wines. I'm guessing they love it for the same reason they love everything they love: They heard about it in rap music. Nicki Minaj, Drake, and notably Rick Ross — a.k.a. “Rozay,” the face of Luc Belaire Rare Rosé — rap about drinking it while partying. As a result, teen social-media users seem highly aware of rosé, if slightly confused about its spelling. Here’s the Urban Dictionary entry for “rosay”:
An unknown type of alcohol that rappers are always talking about. No information on the subject can be found online. I'm sure you want to drink it, though. That's clear.
If we ever need to worry about teens imitating things they hear about in rap, we definitely don't in the case of rosé. It is better for their health than Four Loko and other sugary drinks more or less marketed to them. It is better for their quality of life than taking amateurish shots of Bacardi until they develop a lifelong aversion to rum. For glorifying underage drinking that is tasteful, delicious, and sophisticated, let’s yet again praise Madonna.