Can Rosés Become Boring?
A few weeks ago I did a short video on my Rosé wine haul. You may have seen the video, and if you did, you may also notice that I have not done a review on said wines. There is a reason for that. I have found that some Rosés are starting to reflect a sameness in their flavors that is blurring the lines of distinction.
It is summer, and as always, I am immersed in Rosé wines. I started replacing typical summer white wines with Rosés over a decade ago, way before the current Rosé wine craze. The reason I did it was because I preferred the fruitiness of Rosé wines, I liked the fact that Rosé wines have more complexity than many similarly-priced white wines, and the white wines I really, really liked were usually outside of my budget. Way. Think Puligny. In other words, I liked to drink Rosé wines because they were delicious, offered a refreshing change from white wines, and they were budget friendly.
During the last couple of years, however, I have found that some Rosé wines are starting to taste the same. It seems that while they have Rosé character and are quite tasty, there’s no real distinction between labels. I have begun tasting – as opposed to just drinking – different Rosé wines and really trying to assess differences between them. All in all, not a bad self-imposed task.
I decided to review a couple of wines that I already liked or was interested in. The reason I like them is because they offer distinct traits that are a little different from the boilerplate Rosé. They have their own complex traits that separate them from the “sameness” crowd. I hope you like my assessment of these wines enough that you consider seeking them out for your next Rosé wine experience.
By the way, I had created a tasting video, but it was so long and rambling that I decided to write about them instead. The time it would have taken to edit just wasn’t worth it!
11 Minutes 2017 Pasqua
This is an Italian Rosé wearing Côte de Provence clothing. The color is very Côte-de-Provence-esque – it’s pale and light in body. On the nose, raspberries and watermelon predominate, but there’s an unexpected “pastoral” quality along with a touch of a meat-like quality, not unlike the type you’d find in a Côte du Rhone or a rustic Syrah. The meat fades away after it’s been opened a while and swirled, but it’s undeniable in the freshly-opened bottle.
On the palate, the fruit and some earth come through, but the meaty quality does not. It’s fresh, food-friendly, and the watermelon and raspberry, along with roses and a distinct minerality, predominate. It’s a good wine, and at less than $14, I’m definitely planning to purchase again.
Villicana 2016 Liquid Hope
This has always been my go-to Muse wine, which I’ve drunk for many years. The interesting thing about this wine is that the proceeds are donated to charity!
This particular vintage is not the light/medium-rose, touch-of-coral color that it usually is, but a much darker pink with fuschia undertones. On the nose, there’s a definite funky quality (not in a bad way), along with blueberry, peppercorns, blackberry, and plum; in other words, red wine characteristics. This vintage is un-Rosé-like. On the palate, the red wine character continues with lots of blueberry and blackberry, along with surprising spice and touch of pepper. I still like it, but its vibrancy, flavor, and red wine character – which make for an excellent food wine – isn’t the soft and relaxing Muse wine I’m used to. Think BBQ’d chicken.
Epoch Rosé 2017
Epoch Winery in Paso Robles has quickly become a favorite among my wine friends who have visited it. It has extraordinarily high-quality wines (the lowest rated wine is 92), with depth, flavor, and character. Jordan Fiorentini is not afraid to use unusual processes (fermenting in concrete, aging in puncheons, etc.) in order to produce memorable, delicious wines. The 2017 Rosé is no exception. International Wine Reviews gave this a 92 pt review, and I can’t disagree.
The look of the wine is very much like a Côtes de Provence, with maybe just a little more rose color. In the glass, it almost lumbers, which is unlike the Côtes. On the nose, there’s a distinct berry component, watermelon, a touch – maybe – of white pepper, and red roses. On the palate, there’s a distinctive weightiness, which is a result, I’m sure, of being stirred on its lees during the aging process. The minerality is apparent in the front and mid-palate, and it finishes with a burst of fruit. This is a delicious wine, and needless to say has quickly become one of my favorites.
Château de Trinquevedel 2016 Tavel
While there are Rosés throughout France, the two flagship regions are Côtes de Provence and Tavel. The difference is that in the Tavel AOC, ONLY Rosé wines are allowed, whereas in Côtes de Provence, some meaty reds and a few whites – notably Ugni Blanc – are permitted.
This Tavel was imported by the legendary Kermit Lynch, and is primarily Grenache, along with Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Clairette, and Syrah. Because the price was so reasonable, I purchased a couple of bottles – one for sharing, and one for binge-watching something romantic on Netflix. Can’t pair this with a slasher movie.
The wine is very dark pink, nearly the same color as the Villicana. It has barely perceptible tinges of peach or coral. It has a light body that belies its dark color. On the nose, there are fresh spring roses, raspberries, wet river rock, and dry forest floor. The palate reflects the nose, with a fresh springtime character, bright acidity, and a surprising bitterness to the medium-long finish.
My Muse Wine
My newest Muse wine, I’ve decided, will be Vines on the Marycrest Summertime Rosé. I was working on the blog the other night and jonesing for a light Rosé that would serve the purpose of keeping me calm and focused while I was writing, editing, and swearing at Photoshop. I found this in my cooler and decided to open it.
And that sealed it. Unfortunately, it’s at the height of the Las Vegas summer – it’s supposed to cool down to 108°F today – so I’ll have to wait till fall for shipment and hope that there’s still some left!
Have you found Rosés that you like that step outside of the watermelon/rose/raspberry box? Please share!
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