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 Weeks in the Series?
Welcome back to Rosé All May!
My assumption in Rosés used to be that they would be too sweet, as many Whites are for my taste. But they – like White Wine – can also be dry (= not sweet), light, bold, sparkling … Old World (think centuries old European vineyards where the ways of wine-making were developed) Rosés tend to be more dry, with New World styles (typically non-European vineyards that have taken the old styles of wine making and adapted them to suit new technology and the evolution of taste preference) can be sweeter. Of course, there are exceptions, and then there are the Ancient World wines – the true OG’s.
BARB’S FUN FACTS
Bordeaux varieties as Rosé? Absolutely. What can you expect from blends of these grapes and this style? When you think of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, you think of classic oak aged red wines that are worthy of cellaring produced in perhaps the most iconic vineyards in the world. And yet, we are talking about Rosé. If you are thinking that Rosé from these grapes offers a bit more flavour and power, you are correct. This style can offer red fruit aromas and flavours (more cherry and plum) with a bit more body, alcohol and power but rarely oak. If you are looking for Winter Rosé this could be your new go to blend.
Should you cellar Rosé? Why would you? Rosé was made for spring and summer sippin on the patio. It adds a little je ne c’est quoi to life in the fast lane. By design these wines are “drink now”. Sipping an older vintage of rose seems very un-French to me. Of course there are exceptions – today you can buy $100 bottles of rose so maybe you would tuck that away for a special occasion. Just don’t leave it for 10 years as you would a good Bordeaux blend or a Barolo from Piedmont. Wait what am I saying? Now you can buy $300 bottles of Rosé as I mentioned in our previous post. If you missed it here is the link to where Clos du Temple is presented..
GRAPES & VINES
Bordeaux varieties are changing as new varieties are introduced as a result of climate change and the forward planning that is required when it comes to vineyards. Vines like other crops have a lift cycle except that the life span in years can on occasion exceed 100. This is a generalization and for the purposes of brevity but essentially young vines planted take about 3 years to start producing wine quality fruit and about 10 years to reach a good level of reliability. At about 25 years the production levels peak and decline until the vines are either removed or perish. Hence looking forward is very important in winemaking regions around the world.
Epic expressions of Cab Sauv come from left bank Bordeaux, Tuscany in Italy and Napa in California. It is a late ripening variety that requires lots of hang time, heat and warmth to ripen. The berries are small, deeply colored with large pips (which bring tannins) and classic expressions of Cab can be show in aromas and flavours as fresh to dried black currant, cigar box, cedar (or green pepper on the unripe side) pencil shavings and wet rocks. It usually has good acidity and tannin structure which support long bottle age. This is the world’s leading grape variety and it’s best expressions are as a lead character in a blend especially with Merlot.
Epic expressions of Merlot come from the right bank of Bordeaux, Tuscany, and the USA think Napa (Duckhorn) and Washington State. It is an earlier ripening grape. The berries are dark medium sized with a bit more pulp which brings freshness and flavors of black and red plum, with some green or dried herbs and oak spice. It offers richness which helps to create a smooth mouthfeel and fills the gaps with Cab when blended.
Cabernet Franc is one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. Does that surprise you? It did me. This is the unsung hero of red grape varieties and certainly expressive with black and red berry and currant notes along. It is famously produced in the Loire Valley, finding a home in BC’s Okanagan Valley and grown in Bordeaux where it plays a secondary role to Merlot and third wheel to Cab. The thing about Cab Franc to remember is it adds perfume (aromas and flavours) that enhance the tasting experience.
Who loves Malbec? Alison does! When you think of Malbec you think of Argentina. Malbec has found its home high into the Andes where the ultraviolet light, heat, breezes and elevation are conducive to producing the most elegant and rich expressions. Did you know that the birthplace of Malbec is Bordeaux? You will also find regions in Southwest France producing Malbec where it goes by the name “Cot”. When it comes to blends, Malbec’s role is a backup role like Merlot bringing softness and richness along with aromas of black and red plums and herbs.
Petit Verdot is a late ripening grape which needs hang time. This doesn’t always happen in Bordeaux. It brings deep color and brings color, structure (tannin) and signature violet notes to blends. The expression “a little goes a long way” is true here. Petit Verdot grows successfully in Chile, Australia and California as well.
WHAT WE’RE TASTING
This week’s Rosé choices were based on the Bordeaux Varieties! However we are not in France any longer. We are in BC and tasting Clos du Soleil from the Similkameen Valley, Culmina’s R&D from the Golden Mile in the Okanagan Valley and finishing up with LaStella’s Lastellina Rosato located near Osoyoos.
Clos du Soleil 2020 “Rosé”
A> Very fruity AND fresh AND light AND tart, all of equal measure in the same first sniff! I had bought a bottle recently and remembered enjoying it, so included a second bottle in our tasting. And, YEP – it was still fantastic. Nice length, great balance. I feel like it would be great both as a ‘sipper’ and paired with food. It seemed to go with everything on the table – pickled foods, rich rillettes, spicy bisque – you name it.
B> This is a wonderful style made from 100% Malbec grapes. The aromas jump out of the glass to meet you showing good concentration and intensity. I found rose blossoms, red fruit (green strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, currants, pomegranate juice) with some gooseberries, elderflower, and citrus (pink grapefruit). It was mouth filling, mid weight, lots of acidity that freshens with some mineral notes to the lingering finish. This wine is very good. At $22.90 a bottle I’d buy a case for the summer ahead.
Culmina 2019 “R&D Rosé”
A> Smelled softly of berries, but quite tart on the back of the throat, which I like. An almost musty feel, but then lightly fruity in the sip. It was great with food, and held its own with my Azteca Bisque!
B> Here is a beautiful pale pink onion skin hue colored Rosé. The aromas are very delicate with red berry, yellow citrus and green herbs (sage) that match the flavours on the palate. This is a dry Rosé, mid-weight, fresh acidity, good balance with a nice chalky texture. The finish lingers. This is a very nice style for the patio and at $19.89 great value.
La Stella 2020 “Lastellina Rosato”
A> So very soft and tart and sweet and fruity all at once! I’m noticing a lot of complexity in this weeks tasting choices. I would love to see how this balances out the fruits of a Sangria!
B> This is a very bold and fresh style of Rosé. It’s bright medium pink with onion skin hue in the glass. It is a dry, medium body, high acidity, medium alcohol, with a fine texture. The aromas of red fruits (berries, cherries), citrus and herbs (garrigue) lead to a tart cherry medium finish. This wine is good, well made, a little tart which lends itself to creamy cheeses and dips with crackers. Lastella Rosato usually sells out. At $24.99 a bottle it is good value so order yours today.
Masseria Li Veli 2019 Primerose Negroamaro Rosato
A> Dry and bright, with slight flavors that linger nicely – definitely a sipping contender! I found it got a little lost with food, but sitting on a nice, warm patio I would reach for it perhaps with a good, soft cheese.
B>This is a beautiful mineral driven Rosé from Italy. It comes from the southern region of Puglia which is the heel of the stiletto. In the glass it is a medium weight with a delicate pink hue with aromas of red fruit like plum and berries with floral notes and a light mineral undertone. There is fresh acidity, lower alcohol (12% abv) and pleasant texture. This wine is a little pricier at $26.99 but worth it.
Don’t miss a week!
YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT TO CHECK OUT THESE OTHER SUGGESTIONS!
Do YOU have a favorite Rosé?
Let us know in the comments!
Want to know more about wine tasting and finding ‘Good Wine’? Check out these Instagram TV LIVE’s I did with Good Wine Gal Barb Wild!
AND don’t miss out on Good Wine Gal’s Online Wine Sessions. Reserve your spot and join the Good Wine Gal community. I know I’ve been learning a LOT about wine, and I’m sure you’ll love them.