Well—I’m rather flattered that LA Times food and wine writer, Irene Virbila, one of my favorite gourmet critics around town, utilized the title of one of her latest wine articles “a Bouquet of Rosés”, the same title I used a couple of years ago for one of my Rosé articles. She probably had the column tucked away and now felt time was ripe to re-issue.
Rosés clearly fall into a summertime category; but actually, this is one wine that fits in the entire year. These wines, still or sparkling, are wonderful aperitifs, after dinner quaffs, and practically go with everything you’re serving. And times have really changed where wine lovers at every level now appreciate the pink—which is no longer that too fruity, too sweet, or unremarkable wine.
And clearly the stuff is no longer simply pink—like the White Zinfandel of two decades past. The spectrum of colors of the modern rosé are more sunset tinged from onionskin through coral to red blush.
Last year we wrote about the new “American palate” that is now appreciating the Provençal-style dry or non-sweet blush wine; this type of rosé is quite often the answer to wine-pairing woes: if you can’t decide between a white or a red for dinner, or, for that up-coming dinner party, well then the new drier-style rosé is the choice whether you’re serving soup, salad, fish, poultry or meat.
Although “New World” rosés are jumping in on producing a “less sweet” rosy wine, the world famous rosés from Provence in the south of France have set the bar. The area gets us thinking of Van Gogh’s city of lively light—Arles, or, Marseille and their superlative fish bouillabaisse soup, or Renoir’s St. Tropez. The blush wines yielded there are generally—and wonderfully—dry, no matter how colorfully they are dressed in the bottle.
The American “re-birth” of rosé with vino lovers is on. Dry rosé as a category has been prominent to the fine-wine conversation with remarkable rapidity. Provence, the Rosé capital of the world, exported 3.6 million liters of the juice to the U.S. last year. That's 2,400 percent more than in 2003.
And truth be told, not everyone will enjoy a Provence Rosé . The fruit flavors are muted and huddled around an herby background. Those who regularly enjoy fruit-forward or touch-sweeter wines tend to find this blush as “odd” or even “off tasting”. However, those who find complexities in wine interesting, often catch these rosés as very appealing—especially with appetizers or a meal on the table.
Now it’s time to get physical & practical and seek out a few good bottles of this wondrous blush and rosy—but dry wine. And of course, we’re always looking for the good deal to enjoy the sultry days of summer—which means, of course, chill those blushing babies down!
For those who wish to first experiment with a $6 Provence Rosé, checkout Trader Joe’s Côtes De Provence J.L. Quinson. Definitely an entry-level rosé, it is a good example of how dry rosés can taste.
It’s refreshing with soft strawberry and melon savors through an herby background. It’s flavorsome up front, but does turns a bit metallic and dull in the finish if you’re not having a meal. This can be remedied by serving Greek-style cured olives.
As the new Wine Steward at Pavilions of Rancho Mirage, I can tell you that for only a few dollars more you can jump into some really good rosés that are excellently crafted and a great example of the Provençal style. One of the many on sale at Pavilions is the “celebrity blush” from the new vintners in the world, Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie, with their 2013 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence.
This is the 2nd year of rosé from their summer residence and wine estate in southeast France, made with the Perrin family of the renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate, Château de Beaucastel, and the California Central Coast property Tablas Creek Vineyard. The 2013 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence is stellar! It’s elegant, contemplative, and fresh with a scent of wild strawberries, red berry, a touch of tangerine with a gripping finish of minerality. A great example of how fabulous a Provence Rosé can be at $22.
Always one of my favorite from the vineyards around St. Tropez, the 2013 Saint Roch les Vignes Côtes de Provence Rosé is France's quintessential quaffer which embodies that fresh herby soft spice taste. Bright red berries, slightly dry and crisp. Just the right amount of acidity to pair perfectly with summer foods and seafood dishes—delicious tang and finish. This wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for five months before bottling. This bumps up the quality of the wine. Probably one of best buys while on sale at Pavilions Rancho Mirage for $11.
The 2012 Chateau de Campuget is a rosé made of Syrah and Grenache grapes. Both of these varietals can produce some full-bodied red wine, as you know. Here, these bold red grapes are soaked and steeped together for only four to ten hours—grabbing some quick color and essences, then immediately bottled. This swift-style production should be experienced as it is a fun taste of raspberries and black currants—very aromatic. Keep it chilled! A great buy at Pavilions for only $10—come by and say hi!
And for you California vino hearts who drink nothing but, the Central Coast that includes Paso Robles is on the radar with their own version of dry rosy wine. Look for the 2013 Dragonett Cellars and Justin Vineyards Rosés. Stay tuned & stay cool, Cheers!
Rick Riozza is the Wine Steward at Pavilions of Rancho Mirage and wittily titles himself the "sommelier-about-town" in the desert publication CV Weekly wine and food column: the Vino Voice, where his beat is to eat, drink, and cover the environs of Palm Springs. A freelance writer, a contributor to Tasting Panel Magazine, palmspringslife.com and the Brand Ambassador for the historic Galleano Winery, you can find him conducting wine tastings, food & wine pairing events and fun wine seminars. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org