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New 2011 Rosé

   I told myself that I could write a blog post about several recent rosé arrivals, all without relying on the clichéd crutch of mentioning spring or warmer weather.

   Oops. Blew it already. 

   Here are some notes on some pink wines you might enjoy. They go well with spring and warmer weather.

 

2011 Villa des Anges Old Vines Rose
  This one isn’t about freshness there’s a mineral quality to it along with light fruit notes. Soft overall. The grape here is cinsault, best known for the soft structure and perfume it adds to a Rhone-style blend, and that softness comes across with grace.

 

2011 Domaine de Figueirasse Gris de Gris
   Nice fruit, right up front on the nose. This is a rose from pinot gris grenache gris, blanc, noir and cinsault, and it’s familiar melon and green fruit that defines this rosé, plus that circus peanut smell I notice in so many French rosés. Good breadth on the palate, with preserved fruit notes and light acidity on the finish. 

 

2011 Chateau Revelette Coteaux d’Aix en Provence
   This is probably the classiest wine of these six. The nose has herb-garden notes above the light fruit that makes the Revelette stand out in terms of complexity. Fresh fruit on the palate that lays down on the mellow finish.

 

2011 Les Vignes de Bila Haut by Michel Chapoutier
   Nice! Bigger fruit and light sugar jump right out on the nose including more of that circus peanut note. Fleshy and round on the palate with ripe pear and strawberry and acidity to keep it focused.

 

2011 Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux de Provence
   More subtle than the Chapoutier, this shows notes of cream, pear and floral perfume on the nose. Lighter on the fruit, even-heeled, medium in body with a good finish. A little more polished, the Gourgonnier ends in an ellipses instead of an exclamation point.

 

2011 Alexander Valley Vineyards dry Rose of Sangiovese
   The AVV rosé is my guilty pleasure pick of these six. It has complexity but no subtlety. It pours ruby pink, compared to the salmon pink of the other five. There’s a big nose of candied fruit like watermelon, tropical fruit like kiwi, and an herbal vein like green pepper. Thick on the palate, round in body, just slightly frizzante (or maybe those tiny bubbles are just my imagination) with candied fruit not unlike watermelon gummi. 

It’s Springtime! Rosé Under $10

Is it still too early in the year to talk about rosé? Is it cliché? It is springtime. Easter is this weekend. It’s nice enough outside that I actually went for a walk yesterday. Okay, let’s talk rosé.

 

Something I’ve had on my mind lately, especially while tasting rosé, is the power of visual suggestion. Before I so much as sniff a rosé wine, my mind is flooded with possible descriptors. Fruits like strawberries, light cherries, watermelon basically the list of fruits they make into red hard candy. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t like hard candy. I’m actually enjoying a Dum-Dum. Right now. It is coconut flavored. It is delicious.

 

A postcard from the Mulderbosch winery in South Africa landed on my desk recently, featuring an image of their rosé bottle splashing through a wave of pink liquid amongst a variety of red fruits, including what appears to be an apple stuffed full of pomegranate arils. I don’t know if such a fruit could exist, but if geneticists figure out how to make it, I’d like to juice it. It looked very refreshing.

 

If Wine Spectator’s James Laube can admit that it’s difficult to determine if a wine is red or white when tasted from a black glass, then I think it’s very, very possible that the color of a rosé has a huge impact on how we perceive the wine. Lately, as I taste rosé, I keep closing my eyes and asking myself how I would identify what I’m sensing if I were sipping blindly from a black glass. With that in mind:

 

 

2008 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé

If you only try one of these four wines, try this one. I’m not generally a fan of South African wine; that’s why this gem caught me off guard. A lighter pink than I expected, the Mulderbosch shows a quiet nose with maybe some fruits fruit cocktail more than any one specific fruit. But then upon sipping, a mouthful of wonderful acidity. I’m used to rosé being lazy or flabby, but this wine really shows wonderful lift. The fruit is more on the peach end of the spectrum, but through that power of suggestion it’s easy to imagine watermelon or strawberry as well. A touch of sugar adds sweetness and body, but the acidity really shines through and makes this wine dazzle. And under ten bucks! Try it!

 

2008Marquis Philips Roogle Grenache Rosé

I mentioned the Roogle in a previous post, but I wanted to expand on the rosé for this entry, so I bought a bottle last night. Had it with leftover ravioli. One feature shines through the alcohol is a whopping 15.5%. Seriously; that’s a lot of alcohol for most any wine, especially a rosé. It pours a lighter pink with a slight brown or orange tint at the rim (the bottle itself is deceptively frosted a pink color). The nose is fruit cocktail, and the alcohol pokes through on the nose and palate. If I were sipping this wine from a black glass, I’d guess it as a high-alcohol chenin blanc from California, if such a thing existed. And even at 15.5% alcohol, there is still a noticeable level of sugar.

 

2008 Marco Real Rosado

Another Grenache-based rosé, the Marco Real is thedarkest rosé listed today, a deeper ruby. Strawberry soda dominatesthe nose. This time I’m sure it’s not a suggestion from the color, itreally reminds me of Shasta. Some acidity and warm, ripe fruit on thepalate make this one solid. Another good bargain for $9.99.

 

2008Domaine de Figueirasses Gris de Gris Rosé

The nose of this wine is its most interestingfeature. All I get is circus peanuts. You know those orangemarshmallows shaped like peanuts? That’s the nose of this wine. Atleast to me. Maybe I got fixated on that scent and couldn’t focus onanything else. I’d guess it’s from the small amount of sugar, butthere’s a mellow quality in there too. The wine on the palate isdecent, basic rosé. My notes say light and fresh. It’s a blendof Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Noir and Cinsault.

 

Anybody else have any good rosé lately? Are yourexpectations and perceptions shaped by color of the wine?

Pink is the Summer Red

Warm weather is here and it’s time to start drinking Rosé. Our shelves are starting to see many new ones arrive. Most Rosés are dry, refreshing and great with food. The colors of Rosé vary between pale salmon to translucent purple. The color of the wine is determined by how long the skins sit with the juice. The Saignée method (bleeding) is done when a winemaker chooses to reduce his or her red wine. The pink wine is removed from the soon-to-be red wine and fermented separately.

Ice cold beer is tough to beat on a warm day, but Rosé is a nice change of pace. I think it would be funny, but appropriate to drink Rosé on a golf course. After a bad shot, cursing and trying to chop down a tree with my 9-iron would seize. I would just have a sip of Rosé and go hit my next shot (from the sand.) Anyway, below are some new arrivals we’ve tried and also some old favorites.

 
This comes from Mendocino County. It is very ripe, well balanced and refreshing. You get a lot of Pinot Noir flavors, but the fruit is more tart and lively. It is a well made wine and the price is down considerably from a few vintages ago.
 
This has been my favorite Rosé under $10 for the last couple vintages. It is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Noir and Grenache Gris. The nose is very ripe, with watermelon, sweet raspberry and also a wet clay tinge. It is light bodied, medium-high in acidity and fruit forward. It is a great bottle.
 
This is another favorite Rosé under $10. It is made from mostly Garnacha, (Grenache). It has a deep pink color. The nose is ripe, with tart raspberry, strawberry, and it is very peppery. It has medium acidity, a light body and would pair nicely with anything from salads to pizza, or anything off of the grill.
 
 
As far as sparkling wines under $20 you will not find many that are better than this. Besides it’s refreshing acidity and tart, ripe berry fruit, it has a nice, chalky, mineral driven finish. It is very well made and is a great, great value.
 
Pretty soon, we will be screaming for winter.  Help stave off the heat by drinking rosé.

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