If you have gone shopping for rosé wines and are overwhelmed by the choices, here are five recommendations that offer quality, value and variety.
The wines are from five different countries in five different continents. They represent diverse grape varietals and unique winemaking styles. Most importantly, all can be found for under $20 and will pair well with a broad range of dishes.
The tour begins:
1) CRIOS DE SUSANA BALBO ROSÉ OF MALBEC (Argentina)—“Crios” translates into “offspring” and Susana Balbo is a winemaker who understands the role of a winemaker as a link between the past (the vineyards), the present (making the wine), and the future (the finished wine). Balbo was the first prominent female winemaker in Argentina, and one of the first to work as a consultant to make wine outside of her country, including time spent in France and the United States. This rosé is made from 100% Malbec, and has a deep, vibrant color which indicates more body than in other rosés. Fresh strawberries and ripe cherries are present on both the nose and the palate.
2) MULDERBOSCH CABERNET SAUVIGNON ROSÉ (South Africa)—This prominent South African wine has been around since 1999 and many of its wines are easily recognized by a vertical label on the bottle. The rosé is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and shows how one of the mightiest of grapes can be tamed to produce a smooth, refreshing rosé. The grapes come from a vineyard that is specifically devoted to fruit for rosé wines. It is fresh and aromatic and makes for a great introduction to South African wines if you never tried any before.
3) TURKEY FLAT BAROSSA ROSÉ (Australia)—A satisfying rosé from an Australian winery established in 1847. Their 2015 rosé represents the 22nd vintage of their rosé wines. The wine is more than 90% Grenache with a small percentage of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon rounding out the blend. The percentages of those two grapes may be small but they add hints of spice and a subtle suggestions of tannins. The result is a rosé with shoulders that pairs well with more substantial dishes that normally would not welcome a rosé. This could be your barbeque rosé.
4) BONNY DOON VIN DE GRIS DE CIGARE (Central Coast of California, USA)—Unusual name. Unusual wine. Unusual winemaker. A California rosé, made in a Provence-style, by an iconic and intriguing winemaker, Randall Grahm. This wine has a pale salmon color and is a blend of eight different grapes with Grenache as the lead grape, but not all of the remaining grapes in the blend are red. A light, gentle, rosé and interprets the flowery and fruity essence of a classic French rosé with cool California karma. Since Grahm is as well known for his whimsy as his wine, do a little internet research to learn about the story behind the flying cigar on the label. It will make for fun conversation when you enjoy the wine with friends.
5) COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC SAINT DREZERY PRESTIGE ROSÉ (France)—
Picking a representative French rosé is a difficult (or very easy) task, but the Puech-Haut, produced by a renowned winemaker in the Langedoc-Rousiilon region of southern France is a can’t miss. A blend of &0% Grenache and 30% Cinsault, it pours light pink, has aromas of rose petals, white peach and pear. It’s like having the Mediterranean in your glass. If you can’t find it in your wine store, look for rosés from Provence, Tavel, Bandol, Vaucluse, or neighboring regions. All will please.
This is a very brief list that only begins to address the pleasures of discovering and drinking rosés Pour forth, rosé drinkers! It’s not too early to start planning your Roses & Rosés Valentine’s Day Party in February 2016! (Well, maybe it is, but it’s a good excuse to drink wine.)