Winter Rosés

This is another set of tasting notes that addresses one of my New Year’s Resolutions: Catching up on my samples. As the New Year dawned, I took a look at the growing pile of samples on the floor and realized I needed to get to work. I figured I was roughly six months and 300 or so bottles behind and I needed to change that.

Today’s subject is Rosé, a style of wine that is near and dear to my heart. I know what you are thinking: “Rosé? It’s February and we just got thirteen feet of snow yesterday. Is this some lame Valentine’s Day themed post?”


There is a bit to unpack there. First, even before we moved to Houston four and a half years ago, we were firm believers in drinking rosé year-round (and sorry about all the snow, it was 70 degrees here yesterday). As for Valentine’s Day, I think it’s a pretty dumb “holiday” but I will likely post something about it next week since I’m pretty bored these days.

2017 Mathilde Chapoutier Côtes de Provence Grand Ferrage, France: Retail $18. Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Syrah, Rolle. I received two bottles of this wine a couple of years ago, made by the daughter of the omnipresent and renowned Michel Chapoutier. I had forgotten about this second bottle until now, and I was curious how this True Rosé held up. Quite well, thank you very much. A light, delicate, pinkish-orange in the glass, with muted fruity aromas of strawberry, melon, and citrus. The palate is demure, yes, there is fruit but it is subtle and in concert with the acidity. This is a prototypical Provençal rosé–great on its own, by the pool, or on the table with light fare or even some semi-robust fish (salmon would be ideal). Lovely. Excellent. 90 Points.

2019 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Rosado, Spain: Retail $13. Under screwcap. 100% Tempranillo. Really dark for a rosé–other than Tavel, I am not sure I’ve seen a rosé this dark. Really fruity on the nose with oodles of strawberry and cherry–almost a Kool-Aid vibe going on here (but in a good way). Completely dry and really tart on the palate, this is a zing-fest, but that fruit is also there in spades. This is a very nice wine and when the price is factored in? Yowza. Grab a case and drink one (or three) a month, this will be fine for at least a few years. Excellent. 90 Points.

2019 Notre Vue GSM Rosé, Chalk Hill, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $29. Under cork. B.A.B. 34% Grenache, 33% Syrah, 33% Mourvedre. Another wine that I was so excited to try as this is another True Rosé. Darker, perhaps, than most rosés with a vibrant pink-orange in the glass. Aromas of strawberry Jolly Rancher, rhubarb, and some wet rock The palate is perhaps more inviting with solid tartness, plenty of red berry fruit, and an above-average finish. I am going to need to add this wine to my Annual blind tasting of American True Rosés this Spring. Lovely. Excellent. 91 Points.

2019 Pasqua 11 Minutes Rosé, Verona, IGT, Italy: Retail $20. Corvina 50%, Trebbiano 25%, Syrah 15%, Carménère 10%. Glass stopper. This is the second vintage of this lovely rosé from the Veneto that I have tried, and this 2019 is just as delightful as the 2018. Pale pinkish-orange, much in the Provençal style with strawberry, peach, and white flower on the nose. The palate is equal parts tart and fruity, a lovely balance that leads to a rather lengthy finish. I’ve changed my mind, this is better than last year. Excellent. 90 Points.

2019 Pellegrini Vineyards Rosé, North Coast, CA: Retail $30. Under screwcap. 90% Pinot Noir & 10% Carignane. A blend of True Rosé and saignée. It is relatively rare to see Pinot Noir blended with another variety, and although there is only 10% Carignane, it does seem to add a bit of texture and body. Medium pink in the glass with aromas of fresh strawberry, peach, and a salty minerality. The palate is fruity, tart, lengthy, lovely. There are increasingly more rosés in this price range and while many might not merit the tariff, this one certainly does. Excellent. 92 Points.

NV River Road Family Vineyards and Winery Ron’s Chillable Rosé, California: Retail $13. Under screwcap. I searched but could find no indication of the varietal makeup here–nothing, nada, zilch. I have a bit of a problem tasting and rating a wine that I assume (?) is made from grapes without any other information. Call me old-fashioned. The wine itself surprised me initially with a slight sparkle, and a whole lot of sweetness. While it stops short of dessert wine sweetness, it certainly rises (drops?) to the white Zinfandel level of sweetness, maybe higher. It’s sweet. Really sweet. There is fruit and I assume some might like this over ice or as a part of a cocktail. I guess this is kind of like the Velveeta of wine–it’s a wine-like beverage? Good. 85 Points.

2019 Rodney Strong Pinot Noir Rosé, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $25. 100% Pinot Noir. Under screwcap. This is always one of my favorite rosés every year, but curiously, this is my first sip of the 2019. Light pink, with a salmon hue, this wine shows a bit of strawberry, cherry, and minerality on the nose. That minerality takes the lead on the palate, but the fruit quickly comes rushing in shortly thereafter. And, um yeah, this is good. For around fifteen bucks (typically) in the local grocery store? Oh yeah. Giddy-up! Excellent. 91 Points.

2019 Sangiacomo Wines Vin Gris of Pinot Noir Roberts Road Vineyard, Petaluma Gap, CA: Retail $30. Under screw cap. True Rosé. 100% Pinot Noir. This is made by someone I would consider a friend of mine, James MacPhail, and while the rosé for his own label is a saignée, this appears to be a True Rosé, and it is phenomenal. Medium pink with an orangish hue, there is plenty of strawberry, watermelon, red rose, and a touch of flinty minerality. The palate is all about the tartness, initially, followed by a tangy acidity, and then a wave of minerality. Yowza. Excellent. 92 Points.



About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Carignane, Carménère, Cinsault/Cinsaut, Corvina, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir, Rolle, Rosé, Syrah, Tempranillo, Trebbiano, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

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