By Corin Hirsch
From shelves of pink to widespread frosé to rosé in cans, all signals might indicate we have reached peak rosé. Jesse Bongiovi would disagree.
Asked where Bongiovi calls home these days, he joked “LaGuardia Airport.” The son of musician Jon Bon Jovi spends most of his waking hours promoting Hampton Water, the French rosé he launched last year with business partner Ali Thomas. (Fresh from a circuit through Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin and Houston, he was leaving the next day for Phoenix.)
Rosé consumption may be at a fever pitch here, but that’s not so in other parts of the country, said Bongiovi, who works on the rosé front lines.
“It literally is the water of the Hamptons, but in places like Chicago and Dallas and even Miami, even two years ago there would be three or four rosés,” he said.
When Hampton Water debuted last year, the back story was widely reported: How the wine got its name (Bongiovi jokingly called the rosé his father handed him, at their home in the Hamptons, “Hampton water,”) plus who makes it and where (Gérard Bertrand, a prolific winemaker in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region, using mourvedre, grenache, cinsault and syrah grapes).
The salmon-hued Hampton Water possesses many of the hallmarks people associate with French rosé: Slightly racy with ample strawberry notes, plus a low-key lusciousness from aging a portion of the wine in French oak “ mellows out that acidity and gives it a much smoother finish,” said Bongiovi. Last year, Wine Spectator magazine named it its top rosé of the year.
Whether it’s the wine, the rating, the name or a smidgen of each, Hampton Water remains a hot seller. Despite being produced by the hundreds of thousands of bottles, the rosé was sold out at three retailers I called (though a few others had it in stock).
One wine seller asked “Do you mean the Bon Jovi wine?” while another reported it was one of the quickest moving rosés in the store, alongside Whispering Angel and Wölffer Estate’s Summer in a Bottle.
As Bongiovi spends “every minute of my life,” promoting Hampton Water, he has the moral support of one very important person: his dad. “It’s certainly great to have him as someone we can call,” he said.
Hampton Water is priced from $19 to $23 for a 750-ml bottle.