Rosé is definitely the shade of summer and has always been my favourite choice for drinks, whether alcoholic or soft. It was expertly marketed as the spirit of bottled joy in the summer 2009 Italian television commercial for Martini Rosato where the world was viewed through rose-tinted glasses; literally. The advertisement glamorised pink. Pink was no longer the colour of children’s party cakes and bubble gum but a sophisticated colour drunk by beautiful people in city piazzas at sunset. The colour pink morphed into a beautiful shade of rosé and created a magic that was almost tangible in the warm air.
Rosé wine has also advanced so much over the years to suit the sophisticated palette. Once overlooked as an overly sweet drink, a poor cousin to crisp elegant whites and exotically rich reds, rosé has developed into a class and quality of its own. There are some outstanding rosé wines; some so pale they almost shimmer gold, others deep cherry or strawberry coloured, and not to forget sparkling rosé too.
So it is fitting that Rosalia Festival is a great tradition in Budapest where people gather to drink rosé wine and celebrate life and the promise of long summer days at the City Park. A whole weekend is devoted to the festival and entry is free; all you have to pay for is your Stölzle crystal tasting glass with the Rosalia logo, which is just HUF 1000.
Opening on the Friday, the weekend is full of events set in the beautiful and relaxing surroundings of the park. One of the great attractions of Budapest is that a short distance from the frenzied heat of the inner city lie beautiful green spaces; an added plus for getting home after a festival too.
Gastronomy is inevitably a big feature of Rosalia, with traditional Hungarian cuisine and stalls providing tastes to complement every wine available. Matching a wine with the right flavour food is an art in itself and is essential if you want to be professional about wine tasting. Although rosé and sparkling wines are the focus of the festival, there will be a glittering array of reds and whites to choose from.
What they all share is the rich diversity of Hungarian wine, which has a history dating back to Roman times. Long, hot summers are good for the soul but, more importantly, provide the excellent climate for vines that has made Hungary famous amongst viticultural countries.
The festival provides plenty of activities for all ages; afternoon activities for children and a parade from Heroes’ Square on the Sunday. Celebrations will continue long into the evening with live bands. To keep the party spirit going, DJ Laci Juhász will be playing music until midnight on the Friday and Saturday. Just collect your glass and join the celebration of “La vie en rose”.
Rosalia Wine Festival
City Park (Városliget), District XIV