On its way to becoming an exciting new youth drink is cola-flavoured wine, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. Your palate will perk up from a refreshing first sip. To top it all, it’s called, Rouge Sucette, or ‘red lollipop’. Mon Dieu, what will we get next! Produced by a Bordeaux-based winemaker, the concoction is made from 75% grapes, and the remainder consists of a mix of water, sugar and cola flavouring.
The cola flavouring is made of citrus oils, cinnamon, and vanilla.The alcohol content is lower than usual, at 9%. For best results, you are advised to serve it chilled and add a twist of lemon or orange to “dress it up”. Haussmann Famille, the producer, has already had success with grapefruit- and passionfruit-flavoured rosés and whites. The question is, why the break with French tradition?
Wine consumption in France is down. And so vintners need to reach out to a new segment of consumers by attracting younger drinkers and women, says Pauline Lacombe, company spokeswoman for Haussmann Famille.
According to the BBC, in 1980 more than half the adults in France consumed wine almost daily. Today, it’s just 17%. The decline has its roots in many things such as the financial crisis, which eliminated the long lunch hour; and reduced legal limits for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Fred Sirieix, French hospitality expert, believes the stereotypical view of French tradition is not correct. “We’re changing with the times. We have a strong foundation of food and wine, and it gives the perception that we don’t mix Coca-Cola and red wine, but we do!
He gives the example of wine spritzers, Kir Royale, Bellinis, the Italian spritzers with Aperol and prosecco and all sorts of champagne cocktails, and says that there’s no difference these and red wine with coke.
“It’s about marketing and perception. It’s about what we perceive to be acceptable and the sort of snootiness we have about Coca-Cola.”
Rouge Sucette isn’t wine drowned with cola. It’s more refined than that because the wine contains only the essence of cola, which gives it a cola flavour. Lacombe says market research indicates fast-growing demand for such “wine-based aromatized drinks.”
Of the different aromas that Haussmann Famille tested, “cola was the best mix,” she says. “That intrigued many people, and they were curious to taste it.”
At present the new drink is only available in France.