Sunday, May 31, 2009

By the Glass - Rosé Edition

Is there a simpler pleasure than a glass of good rosé in spring? Rosé is a wine of pure happiness - abundantly fragrant and ripe fruit is what it's all about. And when it's good, there is zippy acidity to balance the fruit, and perhaps even some mineral or other flavors too. If you're willing to spend $25 or more, the rosés of Bandol in Provence are among the world's finest, and I think they're worth every penny. I love drinking Bandol rosé, but I prefer to spend about $15 on everyday wine, and from what I've found so far this spring, there are some excellent rosés available at that price point. Here are the rosés I've had at home so far this spring, some great, some not as great:

2008 Commanderie de Peyrassol Côtes de Provence Rosé, $14, Rosenthal Imports. Fragrant with ripe berries and a hint of orange zest. The palate is crisp and balanced, and there is a lovely mineral component, something like wet steel. Delicious food friendly wine, at a great price. If I had to pick only one rosé for the rest of the summer, so far this would be my pick.

2008 Domaine de la Sauveuse Cuvée Carolle Côtes de Provence Rosé, $14, Imported by Vintage Trading Inc. 40% Syrah, 30% each Grenache and Cinsault. Sauveuse is quietly making excellent and inexpensive wines in the Côtes de Provence, and farming organically too. They are intense wines, packed with fruit, and somewhat oxidative in character. This lovely rosé is the essence of fresh strawberries, and with a bit of air it has enough glycerin to feel a bit viscous in texture. There is a slightly peppery, salt pork nuance that I assume comes from the Syrah. There is good acidity and that metallic tang I mentioned above.

2008 Shinn Estate Vineyards Rosé, $13.50. My favorite North Fork of Long Island producer and this is my favorite Shinn wine. This compares very favorably to the above wines in both quality and price. Made mostly of Merlot, although I do not know the exact blend. This wine shows beautiful clean fruit, great acidity, and an energetic lean texture. David Page and Barbara Shinn practice organic and in some plots biodynamic farming, and treat their vineyards as the living ecosystems that they are. My notes from a few years ago say that this wine is fermented entirely using indigenous yeasts. Really a lovely wine.

2006 Château Font du Broc Côtes de Provence Rosé, about $23, Imported by Meilleurs Vins de Provence. Disclaimer - I received this wine as a sample from the importer. 60% Mourvèdre, 20% Carignan, 15% Syrah, and 5% Grenache. Lovely strawberry fruit and I love the hint of animale on the nose - the influence of the Mourvèdre, no doubt. This is delicious wine, but it doesn't feel as fresh as it should, and that's probably because the acidity is not all that strong.

2008 Domaine des Deux Anes Vin de Table Le Rosé, $14, Jenny & François Selections. Mostly Carignan, although I do not know the blend. This is a strange wine, and in the end, I liked it. But BrooklynLady did not, and I suppose that it might provoke that kind of reaction at many dinner tables. This is not a passive wine that will go unnoticed as people talk and eat. At first it seemed too earthy, a little dirty almost, but it just needed time to flesh out. This is serious rosé, with blood orange and grapefruit, nice acidity and good texture. But the palate is a bit unusual (perhaps explaining the VdT status), with something like a Chinato flavor profile. Not for sipping - have this with lamb kabobs or grilled fish with a mess of herbs.

2007 Domaine du Deffends Côteaux Varois Rosé d'une Nuit, $20, Robert Chadderdon Selections. A blend of Grenache and Cinsault, don't know the exact proportions. Ripe fruit with a definite herbal undertone, a lovely nose. Good fruit on the palate, but without any real definition or snap, and in the end, not all that satisfying. Which is too bad, because this is supposed to be a great wine.

2008 Macari Rosé, $15. Disclaimer - I received this wine as a sample from the producer. Another wine from the north Fork of Long Island, another Merlot blend, but this one is not in the same class as the Shinn wine. This one smells like a chemistry set - the fruit seems artificial, it made us think of pop rocks. Same on the palate - too sweet in an artificial way.


Weston said...

Joie Rose 2008 from the Okanagan If you can even find it, I can't even buy it here and it was just released 2 motnhs ago already sold out.

Its my style of Rose with Grapefruit zest, good acidity, made from Pinot Noir/Gamay/Pinot Gris fantastic and any restaurant in vancouver with connections will have it on the menu

Oh I love my rose I ain't scared of the Pink, good ole strawberry wine hehe

Trecini said...
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Director, Lab Outreach said...

Must be the season. Was up to something similar, but did them all at once and got too drunk to take notes.

Weygandt had some stand-outs from the Rhone. Domaine Les Grands Bois, Cuvee Les Trois Soeurs, in particular.

And this is a must try:

Domaine Gardiés Côtes du Roussillon.


Lyle Fass said...

Pretty sure Macari vineyard manager also manages Shinn. I tasted them both side by side....SB I think and way preferred the Shinn.

Try Baudry Rose 08 if you can find any.

Do Bianchi said...

I finally tasted the Terrebrune in SF and it was killer (on a semi-unrelated note)...

Brooklynguy said...

Hey JD - who brings in that Côtes du Roussillon? I'll keep an eye open.

Hi Lyle - I found it, and bout it, and will drink it soon. With my luck lately, it will be corked, and there will be no more left.

Hey Jeremy - glad you thought so. That wine is fantastic, so intense. ALmost pointless to drink it right now. It seems to me like it will go forever, like the reds.

Candice Wu said...

Oh my gosh! These wines all sounded so great, I went on a splurge over the last few weeks and tried to hunt them all down! I've been storing them in my Eurocave wine cabinet and we're now ready for those warm summer nights leisurely spent with rosés! I've always liked these better than reds.