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?