Join Alison Kent of the Home Kitchen and Barb Wild of Good Wine Gal as they explore the world of Rosé Wines throughout the Month of May over this 5-week Series!
Did you catch the other ‘Rosé All May’ Weeks?
Don’t miss a note! A tasting note, that is. Weeks 1-3 are up and Week 5 is coming soon, so stay tuned!
To chill or not to chill?!
NOT being an absolute wine enthusiast like my good friend Barb, I used to be less fussed about whether wine was served chilled or room temperature, because by mid-glass it was always room temperature anyhow so why bother. HOWEVER, Barb’s wisdom has definitely been rubbing off on me, and I often DID appreciate that first sip of cool liquid on my throat enjoyed right away.
So what DO you do with a Rosé? It’s a red-grape wine, served and enjoyed closer to a white. Apparently being served TOO cold keeps the flavors locked away. I’ve learned the key is to chill for 2 hours, then leave at room temperature for 30mins prior to serving for the best of all worlds – slightly chilled, flavors opened. I also now leave it opened to breathe for that 30mins. Many of the wines we tasted were STRONG and very petrol on the nose right when the bottle was opened. and that first sip was taken too fast off the top wasn’t always pleasant.
As we’ve been sipping and tasting, it’s become VERY apparent also how a bottle of wine constantly changes, whether slightly chilled or opened ahead or sipped with food. Some get lost in the foods and should be sipped alone, some empower and compliment food – I much prefer tasting wines with foods, deciding with each bottle if I crave salts, sweets, tart citruses or fats with each sip, telling me more with each move.
While it’s not yet the last week, I have a LIFETIME of wine yet to taste and learn from – what a great task to have! For now, here is an introduction to this week’s picks!
This week we are exploring Rosés made from blending red and white grapes. While the regulations for producing Rosé in the Old World (Europe) are burdened with regulations, here in the New World (anywhere outside of Europe) there is more freedom, which can be a great opportunity for winemakers to explore their ideas. It’s no coincidence that the wines we are tasting this week are from the new world in our own backyard – BC.
Pinot Gris is one of the famous noble varieties from the vineyards of Alsace. Here it’s known for its elegance with crisp, clean, fuller bodied style and can exhibit a delicate pink hue especially if it’s from a Grand Cru vineyard. No surprise here when you look at the skins of this variety. The juice is clear when pressed but can pick up color from the skins the longer the juice and skins interact. Stylistically this variety is floral (white blossoms, marzipan), citrus (lemon juice), tree fruit (apple to white peach). Pinot Grigio is an Italian twin with a bright, fresh, simpler expression. In a Rosé, Pinot Gris brings aromas, flavours and body.
Chardonnay is one of the most widely planted white grape varieties in the world. It is semi-aromatic which means the aromas are not jumping out of the glass. Chardonnay can be oaked (Burgundy) or unoaked (Chablis) and the finest examples have this perfect balance of oak, weight, flavours, alcohol and acidity. The most famous examples of Chardonnay come from Champagne (Blanc de Blanc), Burgundy, Russian River (CA), Margaret River (AZ). Chardonnay in a Rosé brings structure and color.
Pinot Noir is a famous and finicky international red grape variety grown around the world. This thin skinned grape is considered the heartbreak grape because it is temperamental and requires care and attention – like me. The aromas and flavours are red fruit (strawberry to cherry) earthy, and supported by fresh acidity and hints of spice (cinnamon, vanilla) with lowish tannins. The most famous bottles come from Burgundy and Oregon with up and coming regions including Santa Barbara, Monterey, Central Otago (NZ), Chile, and right here in BC. Pinot noir will bring acidity, silky texture and pretty red fruit aromas to the Rosé blend.
Can you pronounce this one? It’s Germanic and like Gewurztraminer, it can be fun to say once you learn the pronunciation. This is a great grape to know as well, because it makes a wine that goes well with flavourful food. Pronounced ZVYE (like Rye) Gelt in translation means double gold. It comes from a 1920s crossing of Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent, created by Professor Zweigelt and now widely planted in Austria. The style of wine from this grape is fleshy, and juicy, soft yet bright. Here you’ll find flavours like black and red cherry with a blend of herbs in the background. As part of a Rose blend, it brings fruity character.
BARB’S FUN FACTS
What is the most expensive Rosés in the world?
Maybe you have heard of Whispering Angel? It’s the story of Bordeaux brat Sacha Lichine who heads to southern France in protest of the regulatory rigor in Bordeaux and starts his own wine venture buying Cave d’Esclans. In 2006, the first bottles of Whispering Angel land in Massachusetts and that year about 800 cases are sold. At this time Rosé was not on the radar for most wine drinkers. The story follows that in 10 short years sales of Whispering Angel reach 300,000 cases. So what’s the big deal about this? Firstly the bottles are twice the price of California Rosé (think white Zinfandel) and the blend is classic Provence – Cinsault, Grenache and Rolle (Vermentino). It’s not sweet and it’s not bright pink. In sharp contrast to White Zinfandel – this is a very dry, fresh, elegant Rosé with flavours citrus, stone fruit and mineral salts. It retails for $40 a bottle in our market today. If you think that’s pricey, let me introduce you to Rock Angel at $100 a bottle!
If you recall, we mentioned that there is a new contender for the most expensive Rosé in the world and that is Clos du Temple from the biodynamic producer (and my future husband! haha) Gerard Bertrand. This is a very special blend of five grapes including one white – Viognier. The bottle is square and the elegance is beyond pleasure. At $300 a bottle! It’s rare, special and we’ll be opening a bottle on May 29th in celebration of Rosé all May!
Robin Ridge 2019
A> A real sourness to the aroma – closer to a ferment? I do love a good Kombucha, so I was drawn to the sweet-yet-acidic notes that had a slight savory tinge to them.
B> Winemaker Tim Cottrill and wife Colleen purchased Robin Ridge 1997 and expanded the winery in 2012. Tim is the winemaker. RR is best known for Gamay, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot. Rumor has it a new sparkling program is on the way. This is Flicker. It’s appearance is pale onion skin in the glass with neutral-ish aromas with some hints of smokiness in the background. The wine is dry, mid-weight with high acidity and a nice balance. Flavours of citrus (lemon juice, lemon leaves), green herbs, and almonds along with some texture to a finish with light citrus notes. This wine is well made but perhaps we had an off bottle because it lacks fruit. In the affordable rose category at $20.79 at Save-on-Foods.
Harpers Trail 2019
A> My fave of this group! From the inviting soft pinks in the bottle, to the appealing low, heavy smells (I love a musty Whiskey), to the slightly sweet, tart citrus notes on the tongue. I would love it with a light, mushroom pasta dish to start! I look forward to exploring this wine further.
B> Harper’s Trails is named after cattle rancher Thaddeus Harper and has the distinction of being the first winery in the Loops. This Rosé has a delicate pale pink hue, clear and bright. Nose wafts floral (white blossoms) almond, stone fruit (white peach), melon, green herbs and a nice mineral dry finish. This wine has high acidity, full body, mouthfeel and finishes on a red berry, citrus pithe tart finish. I’m liking the bottle, and the style. It’s over the $20 mark but just. Goes great with crackers and rich creamy cheeses, salmon in beurre blanc and dishes that have butter and citrus ingredients.
A> While I had a hard time pinning down a particular note out of the glass, the taste was very welcoming. Quite full in the mouth and seemed to have two finishes – fruity at the beginning (fruit forward, I believe they say?) with lingering soft acidic after tones.
B> Foxtrot Vineyards of Naramata Bench debut vintage sourced from OKV (Okanagan Valley) & Similkameen Valley. Aromas were more savoury – herbal and minerals, notes of cedar and somewhat medicinal. It has a full body, medium acidity, higher alcohol, rich style with smooth flavours of red fruit (cherry, currant, strawberry) , citrus (pink grapefruit, and maybe some tropical fruit. The finish is fruity like wine gums and balanced. It’s $24.99 so a bit pricier than the majority. The abv is 13.4 % which is also a bit higher than the majority. Interesting style.
A > Such a slight aroma, it was almost undetectable – is it early peach? White plum? Barb is far better than I at nailing down hard-to-discern notes! The taste matched the aromas – soft, although slightly sharper. Hard for a beginner like me to pin down – but then that’s why we have Barb here!
B > Orofino Winery calls the Similkameen Valley home. This is a special area producing fine wine. This is 100% Cabernet Franc Rose from Pozza Vineyard. It starts with delicate bright pale pink hue, aromas that are subtle like red fruit (berries of a few kinds), wafts of roasted bell pepper dry (some sweetness) there is a medium acidity, medium body, medium alcohols leading to flavours of fresh stone fruits, dried and fresh herbs, a soft texture, with nice balance all around. This is a great wine on its own and also with mild herbed cheese and crackers. I’m a member of this wine club and I did receive this bottle in my delivery a few weeks ago. You can buy magnums of this (and you should) for about $45 at your favorite VQA wine shop.
Don’t miss a ‘note’!
YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT TO CHECK OUT THESE OTHER SUGGESTIONS!
Do YOU have a favorite Rosé?
Let us know in the comments!
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