Monday, I published my thoughts on rosé wine production. Basically, there are two ways to make a rosé: the Saignée Method where a bit of juice is bled off a red wine and then vinified, and what I call a dedicated rosé (since there is far from a consensus on the term) where every decision made in the process from pruning to picking to pressing is made with the express desire to make a rosé. (There is a third way to make a rosé, when red wine is blended with white, but this is exclusively used in sparkling wine production.)
Here are a few more rosés that I have sampled this Spring. All of these are north of $20, but given the quality, they are a steal….
2015 Propiedad de Arinzano Hacienda de Arinzano Rosé Tempranillo: Retail $20. Well, I searched and searched and while I am fairly confident that this is a “dedicated” rosé, I could not find definitive proof. You know what? Who cares? Even though I babbled on about dedicated rosés, the proof is ultimately in the wine. This 100% Tempranillo Rosado displays so many of the characteristics that are vital in a good rosé (fruit, acidity, balance), in the end it doesn’t matter (although I will keep looking). Delightful pale strawberry color and a shy nose hides its true intentions. The mistake is to have this wine too cold, since, as it warmed in the glass, it took on considerably more heft, verve, and sassiness. Strawberry and Bing cherry coat the mouth while a tart minerality tingles the tongue. While the price is modest, the depth is not. Take some time to contemplate this wine and you will be gleefully rewarded. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2015 Ehlers Estate Sylviane Rosé: Retail $28. 100% Cabernet Franc. I originally tried this at the winery as the first wine in a long line of wines that I tasted over the course of several hours. I did not (nor was I able to) perseverate much over this wine at the time, but I knew then that this was an incredible rosé, nay, an incredible wine. One of the darker rosés on the market I would imagine, with deep, vibrant pink color. On color alone, I would give this a Whoa, and I don’t think that has ever been the case. All of the Cabernet Franc Rosés I have had (as far as I know) have been from Chinon, which I consider to be the heart and soul of Cabernet Franc. Until now. This rosé is nothing short of fantastic, unless you dislike strawberry rhubarb pie (I love it): tart, fruity, with a bit of cotton candy on the nose. On the palate? More of the same with laser like acidity and a sterling finish. One of the best rosés I have had in a very long while. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2015 Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel Côtes de Provence: Retail $22 (17€ at the winery). Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino), Cinsault. Sacha Lechine (son of the legendary Alexis Lechine), purchased Château d’Esclans in 2006 with the expressed desire to make the best rosés in the world. After tasting through the gamme a couple of times now, it is hard to argue that he isn’t. The flagship wine, Whispering Angel, represents by far the bulk of the winery’s production (an estimated 4.6 million bottles will be produced in 2016). Even with that gigantic output, this wine may have established itself as the standard-bearer not just for Provençal rosé, but for rosé wines worldwide. Quite pale in color, but active aromas of white peach and hint of rhubarb. Bright and focused, this wine delivers far above its genre and class. If you are a nay-sayer to the rosé movement, this is a wine that should change your mind. Sure, there is a ton of it out there. Yes, you will likely see it displayed prominently at your local wine shop and even at grocery stores. Your neighbor, the wine ignoramus, might show up with it at the neighborhood picnic. Normally, all of those signs would be cause for concern, but not here. I suggest you go out right now and treat yourself to a case. Drink one a week throughout summer, but don’t worry if you don’t finish it. The remaining bottles will be fine for some time. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2014 Prieuré de Montézargues Tavel Rosé: Retail $24. 55% Grenaches (red & white), 30% Cinsault, 13% Clairette, 2% Others (Syrah, Mourvédre, Carignan, Bourboulenc). Oh Tavel. It is one of the wine towns in France that I have never visited, but I need to go. This past Spring, I was within a couple of miles of the town, but for whatever reason, I was not able to stop in. That will not happen again. Along with Bouzy (Champagne) and perhaps Moulin-à-Vent (Beaujolais), if I see “Tavel” on the label, I have no qualms about buying it–I am sure it is going to be tasty. This is a case in point: gorgeous vibrant color (the Tavel AOC actually regulates the color of the rosés and this is the lightest allowed in the appellation) accentuated with strawberry and watermelon aromas followed by papaya and a hint of banana. This is a tasty fruit salad of a wine, backed up by a tingling tartness that holds it all together. Bravo. By the way, this is last year’s release and like most dedicated rosés, this wine has the stuffing to hold up for several years. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.