Rosé Tasting Notes

Celebrate summer with these fine Rosé wines


Summer’s finally here.

This week marks the official start of summer and while it may not feel like summer in some parts of the country, I can’t help but think about what to drink while kicking back and relaxing on the patio with some light summery fare.

Cold grilled chicken, pasta salad, grilled veggies and fresh tomatoes all figure prominently in my summer plans. Plus one other thing: rosé wine. Like many people, I tend to forget about rosé for about nine months of the year, which is quite sad. Why I don’t remember to enjoy these delicious wines more frequently I just don’t know, but I plan to make up for it with a vengeance this summer.

There is a style of rosé for just about every palate, and every dish, so check out some of my favorites below. Keep in mind that these wines tend to be more food friendly and flexible than we assume, it is just our minds that look at these pretty, pale colors and fool us into believing that depth of color is directly related to depth of flavor. But we all know better than that, don’t we?

Take the Lucien Crochet Sancerre Rosé or the Apaltagua Rosé of Carmenere for example, two rather light colored wines that pack in tons of flavor and would be fabulous paired with grilled tuna or herb roasted pork loin. On the other hand, the Ehlers, Blackbird and Cline all are large scaled and pretty powerful, perfect for spicy food or grilled steaks. Pairing them with hamburgers might make you a backyard genius this summer!

So take some time this summer to explore rosé wines. They have never been better and we’ve never been blessed with a larger selection!

Photo courtesy of Blazey via Flickr/cc
2011 Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rosé 13%

Fragrant and floral on the nose with a hint of coriander under gentle cherry and strawberry fruit. Big and intense on entry with lovely acidity and a nice dusting of mineral tannin that helps to add great definition to this on the palate. The acidity is vibrant and really supports the red berry fruit, which shows a suggestion of bitter orange extending on the finish with lovely sapidity and a return of the floral elements of the nose. Great persistence to the fruit. 91pts

2011 Blackbird Vineyards Arriviste Napa Valley 13.5%

Smells fruity in a black cherry way, with some charcoal and earth nuances and a top note of mint. A little sweet on entry but also very high in acidity, so the suggestion of sweetness adds nice balance. This is a large scaled rosé, deep with rich black cherry and blackberry fruit that really penetrate the palate. The finish is nicely bright with a sour cherry refrain and a little spice on the finale, almost a touch peppery. Big but very well done. Not what I expect from a rosé, but there’s no arguing the appeal. 91pts

2011 Ehlers Sylviane St. Helena Napa Valley 12.9%

Pretty fruity on the nose with hints of black currant, dried herb, fennel seed and smoke lending this a bit of a sophisticated edge. Much more crisp on the palate than the nose might lead you to believe, with a soft richness grounded by good acidity and some fine tannins. There’s plenty of rose petal-tinged blackberry fruit on the palate and a bright, juicy finish that has a little Jolly Rancher wild grape going on before the citrussy acids cleanse the palate. Nice if in a slightly rich style. 90pts

2011 Apaltagua Rosé of Carmenere Central Valley Chile 13.5%

Herbal and mineral on the nose with lemony base notes and retrained red currant and cranberry fruit. Bright and crisp on entry with spicy herbal and big mineral notes that reverberate on the fairly fruity but tight palate. Nice crushed raspberry fruit with a hint of lingonberry on the back end. This settles into a long, decisive, mineral- and acid-driven finish. Man, this is fresh and vivid, with an almost salty minerality to it. Super fun stuff. 90pts

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Summertime Rose 6/18

Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rosé (2011)
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Blackbird Vineyards Merlot Blend Napa Valley Arriviste (2011)
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Ehlers Sylviane St. Helena Napa Valley (2011)
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Apaltagua Apaltua Rose of Carmenere (2011)
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Cline Mourvedre Rose Cline Mourvedre Rose (2011)
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Abacela Grenache Rose (2011)
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Chateau Routas Coteaux Varois En Provence Rosé (2011)
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Acrobat Rose United States Oregon (2011)
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Ghost Hill Cellars "Spirit of Pinot Noir" Dry Rose (2011)
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