Good Rosés

By Ray Isle Posted July 26, 2007

In classic form, I stated that the results of my rosé tasting would be posted yesterday; of course, I am only getting to them today. But the world does seem to be spinning on its axis, so evidently promptness wasn't all that important.

In any case, I tasted through twenty-odd rosés today in the always-pleasant-to-be-in F&W Tasting Room, and came out of it feeling a few things. First, southern France still rules when it comes to pink wine. Not that there aren't good rosés from other places, but the Languedoc, Provence, Saumur, etc. always seem to come out tops whenever I do a survey tasting like this. Two, when rosé is bad, it's really depressing. There's nothing worse than a cheerful, fun wine that's actively unpleasant (for instance, odors of canned corn or flavors recalling watermelon Jolly Ranchers). Three, old rosé—with the exception of Lopez de Heredia's truly unusual bottling, which is released so old that it's sort of fascinating & wonderful—is a mistake. Buy the current vintage, or be prepared for the world of canned-corn-watermelon-candy-yech.

So, with that in mind, here are the winners of the bunch:

2006 Prieuré de Montezargues Tavel ($20) Scents of cherries and strawberries, a slightly prickly, just this side of petillant texture, and lots of flavor. Lovely Tavel. Makes me wish I had a boat to drink it on.

2006 Langlois-Château "La Bretonniére" Cabernet de Saumur ($18) Langlois-Château—which makes very good Loire sparkling wine—is owned by Bollinger, the rather grand Champagne company. I haven't had many Cabernet Franc rosés, but evidently sparkling-winemakers know what to do with it: make a charming rosé with light red currant and cherry notes and a touch of tannin. 

2006 SoloRosa Syrah Rosé ($28) Big, luscious but balanced rosé made with fruit from Saralee's Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Abundant cherry fruit kept alive by the orangey acidity. Sort of a main-course rosé—I'd happily drink this with a pork chop, or somesuch. Pretty dern pricey, though.

2006 Fortitude Rosé ($14) You sort of have to love this if only because it's primarily made from Valdiguié, which, according to the Oxford Companion to Wine, "enjoyed its finest hour in the late 19th century." Poor Valdiguié; nevertheless, this is a nice comeback: a little watermelon in the aroma, a lot of raspberry and some citrus in the flavor.

And all of these would be just fine with a tasty corn salad

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