Sales of rosé have exploded over the past several years and while that has brought many more players into the game, the results aren’t always what we’re looking for. I fear rosé is headed down the path of Riesling! Riesling has a bad rap because it comes in all sweetness levels that are often impossible to figure out until you open the bottle.
Rosés have the same issue, but you can also layer on another variable that makes it even more confusing than Riesling! Some roses are light and fresh; others are rich and resemble a light red wine. I wish more producers would opt for some real speak on their labels instead of the ubiquitous “light and fresh, watermelon and cherry”!
If producers want to continue to enjoy explosive growth in their rosé sales, they owe their consumers a clear, honest, easy to understand back label; otherwise they’ll have to continue to depend on pundits, like me!
Photo courtesy Blazey via Flickr/CC
Fruity and minerally on the nose, smelling fairly red wine-like with black cherry fruit. A bit soft and broad on entry with nicely mineral-laden, if slightly baked, fruit. There’s a nice base of earthy currant fruit here and good length that reveals excellent persistence of fruit with a faint sweet edge to it. This is a bit more than your typical rosé with a nice style that combines richness and elegance. 89pts
2010 Artazuri Garnacha Navarra 13% $10
A bit yeasty on the nose at first, then softly fruity with a light baked edge to the raspberry aromas and an underlay of baked white earth. This shows excellent balance with good acidity and a nice roundness on the palate framed with subtle tannins. The fruit is transparent and dry, very wild raspberry-toned, allowing the low mineral and earth tones here to shine right through. The acidity brightens up on the finish, adding freshness to the fruit and some length. It’s not going to win any awards, but it’s a might fine rosé in my book. 89pts
2009 Bugay Vineyard Long Stem Rose Rose of Syrah Santa Rosa Ca. 113.5% $22
Oily and olivey on the nose with black spice notes and a little edge of poblano chile. Rich and round with a seductive mouthfeel, this offers up a core of distinctly meaty fruit, supported by gentle tannins that lend the wine a subtle bittersweet character. The fruit pops on the finish, revealing a lightly candied cherry aspect that adds to the sweet/savory nature here. Fairly complex and quite interesting. 88pts
2009 Yin Yang Pinot Grigio Rose Willamette Valley 13.5% $12
This smells of pears and plums, with a slight honied edge and some floral top notes. A touch sweet but at the same time this shows really interesting bitter/sweet tension in the mouth. The wine exhibits a lovely fresh fruit quality, and the texture is clear and tense with good density and just a hint of creamy thickness. The flavors here are more akin to a typical Pinot Grigio rather than a typical rosé, but with several added dimensions. The finish is lightly dusty and ever so drying with a lovely mineral/spice/tree bark finale. This is delicious. 88pts
2010 Prieure de Montezargues Tavel 13.5% $21
Fruity and deep on the nose with notes of lingonberry and red plum backed up with herbal and floral nuances. This is rather large-scaled in the mouth, but well balanced. I love the fruit here; it’s fresh and obvious without being totally fruit bomb-y and is underpinned by some soft tannins and decent acidity. This is a fruity wine, but fresh with nice peach and apple tones contributing some complexity, but always kept in check by the lightly stemmy tannins. Fire up the grill! 88pts
2010 Jean Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rose 12.5% $11
Vin de Pays: Syrah 40%, Grenache 40%, Counoise 20%
This has a rather ethereal but very pretty nose with a woodsy feel that combines frutti di bosco (mixed berries) with forest floor tones. With air, this turns more mineral on the nose and even a touch floral. An interesting wine in the mouth with plenty of acidity, but it’s very well covered with rather thickish fruit. The flavors are lovely, bright raspberry with mineral cut and floral woodsy top notes. But the texture is a little less delicate than I would like to see. Still, it’s quite lovely. 88pts
2010 Castel des Maures Cotes de Provence Cuvee Jeanne 13% $14
Nicely complex on the nose with balanced notes of herb, white pepper, mineral and soft red fruit. This is rather big boned in the mouth but finely balanced with integrated acids and a touch of dusty tannin, adding detail to the mineral and peach shaded red berry fruit. A bit on the astringent end of the spectrum, the fruit here recalls red currant and lingonberry that leads to a medium-length, refreshing finish. 88pts