I know a couple – early 40’s, successful, wine connoisseurs – who is so smitten with rosé wine they actually dedicate a whole day to it. They toil all week, drinking chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, and then when Sunday rolls around they spend it paying homage to the pink stuff.
Not just any pink stuff, though. No, these two oenophiles pop open a bottle (or two) of the good stuff. So good, in fact, it’s not available in stores and they either pick it up directly at the winery or they have it shipped to them – or both. The wine is Arrowood La Rosé, and probably retails (if you could get it) for about $20.
I’ve been on a rosé kick for the past three years, ever since I tasted Chateau d’Aqueria Tavel in Avignon, France. It was a complete revelation – a blush wine that was bone dry! My only other experience with pink wine was with sickly sweet white zinfandel that my friend Besty used to drink. And now I, too, am smitten. Every since that fateful sip, I’ve been on a continuous quest for THE perfect rosé.
Apparently, lots of wine drinkers are discovering the joy of rosé because it seems everywhere I turn I’m reading something about a top ten list of rosés. Of course, it’s summer and technically rosé is a summer wine, but wine wonks drink it all year long, like me, because it is such a food friendly wine.
The Provence region of France is the birthplace of rosé, but every wine producing region is now making some sort of rosé. The French style is dry, crisp, with fruit in the background, and generally made with a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah.
California is producing a variety of rosés, some French-like, but also a great deal like other California wines – fruit bombs. I tend like those fruit forward rosés, like Arrowood. I just can’t seem to get my hands on that particular one. The fruit flavors in rosés tend to taste like strawberries, cherries, or watermelon, especially if Grenache is in the mix.
I would suggest that you go to your best wine store (one with a good selection of rosés and a knowledgeable staff) and buy three or four different rosé styles. Do a taste test and see what style you like. Some like the pinot noir rosés (not me). Some prefer Grenache heavy ones (me – I love the strawberry and watermelon flavors).
Here are the five rosés I’m drinking now. All of them are fruit forward. None are sweet like white zinfandel, but only the Bonny Doon is what I think of as bone dry. The sweetest, even though it isn’t really sweet, is the Chateau Ste. Michelle. All of these wines are under $20, and some under $10.
1. Chateau Ste. Michelle Nellie’s Garden Dry Rosé
2. La Vieille Ferme Rosé
3. Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec
5. Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare