Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pretty in Pink (wine that is...)

While I never cared for the movie, pink wines are very high on my happy list. I love the spring and early summer releases of these "baby" reds. Yes, do not scoff! Rosé wines are the result of limited exposure to the skins of their grape. They can be Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc or any other red grape varietal or blends thereof. White wines, by definition, cannot produce a pink wine.

The fruit of a red wine grape is always white. It is only the contact with the skins that cause their colors to develop. So when you try a rosé (pink wine) remember you may be drinking some lovely Pinot Noir or Bordeaux blend...just in a little lighter format. :)

The Wines
In the recent past as well in the far past, I've enjoyed a number of pink wines. This post will discuss my absolute favorites and then those that, while they don't make the absolute list, I don't bypass them when they are available.

The Big Guy
Without question I think that Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé is the king of this type of wine. Now one can argue that certain years are better than others, but it generally is lovely year after year. The problem? Well, with the release of the 2007 at a price (on average) of $40 - 50 per 750ml, buying it in lieu of other wine becomes problematic. Especially, when more and more wineries are beginning to release rosés and good ones at that.

I was fortunate to acquire a couple of magnums of the 2005 within the last year. We opened one of them at a recent wine event. It went fast. Light salmon colored with a touch of copper thrown in, nose - strawberry and herbs with some rose for interest, palette - much the same as the nose with some melon to balance it out.

We've tried the 2006, but found it much harsher than the '05. Similar nose and color, but much more aggressive in the mouth almost to the point of being harsh.

Now I know you're going to ask about the 2007 since it was just released. You are wondering if I was willing to fork over the money for it this year. Well, the answer is, of course, yes. I bought two of them (but I did get a deal :) ). I haven't tried it yet because I believe that this particular rosé can use some time in the bottle. Remember the 2005 was drinking well and I suspect the '06 with another year will smooth out. So, while I probably won't be able to wait too long to try it and will post when it happens (with a friend here from France it may be really soon!).

2007 J. Christopher Cristo Irresisto

What can I say about Jay Somers continued success with rosé? His previous iterations have been made with Pinot Noir. I still have some of the 2006 in the cellar. It is the palest rosé I have seen. It is elegant - dry, mineral with the softest hint of strawberry.

However, this year, due to the rising cost of pinot noir grapes, he decided to see what alternatives were available. What he found were grapes from the Columbia Valley (Washington State) Syrah and Grenache to be precise. The resulting wine is lovely. Again, light in color, nose - spicy, rich and full of strawberry. The palette didn't disappoint either. While you could find the ever-present rosé strawberry, it seemed a bit more brusque - more raspberry tartness and some cherry to soften things up. Mineral, dry and very pleasant, this is one to find. Price point is very good too - between $10 and 15 per 750.

2007 Miguel Torres Sangre De Toro Rosé

Spanish rosés tend toward a firmer structure. I've enjoyed these wines for years. The are very easily priced from $8 - 12 per 750. I like a rosé that can stand up to some serious food (meats, grilled veggies, etc.) and this little wine not only stands up, but throws back!

The Tempranillo grape has a huge impact on the resulting rosés - there be tannins in this lovely so be prepared. Nose - lovely Mediterranean scents - spices, herbs with dark fruit, but on the palette those tannins pop as does the dark fruit - think blackcurrants.

If you believe that rosés are "sweet and wimpy", then head to the store and find this one or one of it brethren and then stand back.

There are more - many more rosés that need discussion. The 2007 Trust Cabernet Franc, any rosé from Tavel (France), and one not to miss this year - the NV Louis Perdrier Rosé. This bubbly is creamy and elegant and for around $10 to $15, is well worth locating.

As always...te souhaitant le meilleur de la vigne (wishing you the best of the vine).


Joel said...

Great start with the blog Deb. Do let us know how the Tempier Rose turns out. I have a hard time buying it for the $$. I did remember a nice Rose of Malbec I have stored that perhaps I can be bribed to open sometime. ;)

What do you think of the idea that the Tempier can hold out for 5-15 years or more? Those I have run into have advised I hold my '05 Magnum till around 2012. :)

Deb said...

Hi Joel - of all the roses, the Bandol can be cellared. I've heard of folks drinking ones that are over twenty years old.

That's my dilemma too. Not sure if I can stand to hold onto that '05 for that long...such a good wine. And if you keep winning those dragon boat and outrigger competitions I'm thinking we could pop the cork on one of the '07's in celebration (or just because we're curious :) Congrats again, by the way!)