It’s a cliché, I know, but summertime calls for rosé. To that extent, it is probably not very novel or inventive of me to come up with a post dedicated solely to rosé wine. On the other hand, I have usually just stuck with a few favourites throughout the summer, but the advent of this blog gave me the impetus to embark on a much wider survey. Obviously, like most people, I have just been looking for confirmation of some long-held preconceptions regarding rosé wines, and I am happy (and probably self-conceitedly so) to report that my general views have not been shaken by the past weeks of trawling through a selection of rosé. Very briefly: The Italians – without doubt in my opinion – generally make the best rosé wines in the world, and there are few other examples that can put up any sort of fight in the contest. One exception really stands out: Domaine Dujac in Burgundy have historically made what I consider to be the loveliest rosés in the world; apparently, they now consider that their vineyard practices are so good that they no longer need to make the saignée that was the basis of their rosés, so this now seems to be a historical fact, of no current relevance. I must also commend the levels achieved by the Austrian and German wines; they really have a thing going in both countries these days.
Rosé, of course, has in recent years seen a resurgence that has caught many by surprise. There was a huge rosé boom in the 1970’ies, mainly consisting of sickly-sweet, slightly sparkling wines in the Mateus Rosé style. A subequent boom of “white zinfandel” in the US was of the same ilk. It was probably generally held that these wine styles, which predictably led to consumers abandoning rosés in fairly short order, had damaged the prospects of rosé wines more or less forever. Without doubt, great rosé wine was already being made back then, but this was known to few people, and was certainly hidden behind the boom. The recent resurgence is generally on the back of much-improved winemaking practices, and while there is unfortunately a lot of plonk still being made out there – and lots of strange stuff being mixed up and given odd “-tini” names – this time ’round the rosés are generally quite good. Rosé now stands a decent chance of being viewed as a worthy category in its own right, rather than just the poor cousin of either red or white wine.
My own love affair with rosé started in the early 1990’ies, when I came across the Oeil de Perdrix wines of Domaine Dujac (later renamed Vin Gris de Pinot Noir). While they basically represented the result of attempts to improve Dujac’s famous red Burgundies in less-than-stellar vintages, the wines were absolutely delicious and drop-dead charming, and clearly made in a very serious manner. Suddenly, rosé took on a life of its own. I had already been trying out Apulian and many other rosés (such as the Tavels of southern France), but had generally found them to be dull; you may be surprised by my admission that I found Apulian rosés dull once, but this was based on such wines as the wood-aged Five Roses and Rivera rosés of yore, i.e. basically tired wines. That rosé could be as good as the Oeil de Perdrix’s has since made me take the category seriously, and I have subsequently tasted fairly widely throughout the years.
While the below tasting notes represent a wide section of styles and provenance of rosés I make no claim that I have been thorough or fair in my selection of wines, or that what I have been able to put my grubby little fingers on in any way is representative of what is available on the Danish or any other market. Notably, I did not get hold of any Navarra rosés, nor any Schilcher wines from Austria, and the New World is extremely poorly represented in terms of numbers. My major shortcoming here is that there are no Cerasuolo wines from Abruzzo. On the other hand, there are also some wines in this post that few people are ever likely to come across, so it would be hard to accuse me of not trying to present a broad span. Whether this is useful consumer advice is another matter entirely. But then, consumer advice is probably not why I write this blog (passion for great and strange wine is), and as far as I am concerned is mostly just a subterfuge in the wine-writing world anyway.
Nonetheless, there are some very important Apulian wines that do not feature in this post (for reasons of having been tasted recently), but which should feature frequently in every rosé lover’s drinking. I feel the need to list some here:
- Azienda Monaci Girofle Rosé
- Rivera Pungirosa
- Rosa del Golfo (producer) Rosa del Golfo (wine)
- Rosa del Golfo Vigna Mazzì
- Michele Calò e Figli Mjère Rosato
- Palamà Metiusco Rosato
As far as I am concerned, great rosé is made using great grape varieties, with few exceptions. My favourite rosés are generally made with such great varieties as nebbiolo, pinot noir, negroamaro and aglianico; the exception would be the bordelais varieties, which generally make strange rosés (I am sure there must be exceptions to that, but I have not come across them). The secret would be the the potential for great fruitiness in those varieties combined with good levels of acidity, which can give the juiciness and berry fruitiness I am looking for.
So, without further ado, on to the tasting notes, organized by country and region, and as usual with little regard for colour:
The Piedmontese don’t traditionally make a lot of rosé. Piedmont is red wine territory, and for those who wish a light style of wine that is not white, there are lots of light red wines to be had, such as grignolino, ruché and light styles of freisa. However, when they do make rosé, they make it extremely well, particularly when using the noble nebbiolo variety. Nebbiolo made as rosé wine is basically my gold standard for rosés. This is not to say that other rosés can’t be equally goood or better on teir own terms, but that the style of, say, Cantalupo’s Il Mimo just is so appealing to me that it constitutes my archetypal rosé style.
Commendatore G.B. Burlotto Vino Rosato Elatis 2011
Nebbiolo, pelaverga and barbera. Juicy, minerally nose with redcurrants, wild raspberries and dog rose; a charming, classy nose. In the mouth juicy, dry, but of good breadth and depth, with good acidity. Long, with redcurrants, wild raspberries, juicy berries in general, dog rose, very minerally, quite firm and with good acidity. Lovely wine of considerable class.
Ioppa Colline Novaresi Nebbiolo Rusin 2010
100% nebbiolo. Broad, big and quite intense nose with blackcurrants, strawberries, rose and mineral. Dry and powerful in the mouth, goood acidity and almost salty minerality. Good length, dry/pithy fruit, very minerally and tight, slightly floral. A dry food wine with considerable oomph.
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Colline Novaresi Nebbiolo Il Mimo 2010
100% nebbiolo; not the most recent vintage, but from my experience this has staying power. As stated above, this is my archetypal rosé, and has been my overall favourite for years. Delicious, juicy, charming nose with soft light red berries and redcurrants, floral, minerally and with a tiny, fresh hint of sweet oriental spices. Deliciously juicy and fresh in the mouth, with an intense, concentrated fruitiness that almost feels as residual sugar (but isn’t), medium full. Long, lithe and intense berry fruitiness, lovely play between fruit sweetness and acidity, charming, elegant, balanced and juicy. As usual, lovely wine.
Averoldi Garda Bresciano Spumante Rosé Brut Graziolo (Magnum, non-vintage)
Quite fruity and slightly autolytic nose with light redcurrants and apple. Fresh, light and juicy in the moouth, mild acidity, soft mousse. OK length with soft redcurrants, ripe apple, slight bitterness, a bit of autolysis.
Castelveder Franciacorta Brut Rosé (non-vintage, but code looks like tirage in 2009)
Somewhat closed broad nose with peach, autolysis, minerals. Stylish and elegant in the mouth, fine mousse, good acidity, very good dosage (=low). Good length with autolysis, good acidity, juicy peaches, flowers and minerals.
La Basia Garda Classico Chiaretto 2010
Soft, broad nose with peaches, soft raspberries and a bit of flowers. Fine freshness, soft, well balanced acidity and a slight, apppetising bitterness. OK length with the aromas from the nose plus savoury-aromatic bittterness. Quite pleasant and charming.
Cantina Valdadige Valdadige Schiava Rosato 2011
Relatively closed but nicely fresh nose with strawberries, blackcurrants, a bit if raspberry, flowers and a dry component. Dry, fresh, juicy and quite light in the mouth. Not long but clean, fresh berries, minerals, rose. Lacks concentration.
Zenato Bardolino Chiaretto 2011
Faintly sweet, floral nose with wild strawberries, slightly vinous. Fresh and round in the mouth, measured acidity. OK length with the same somewhat simplistic aromas as the nose. Simple but nice.
Cleto Chiarli e Figli Lambrusco di Sorbara Vecchia Modena Premium 2011
This is not really meant as a rosé wine, but rather a hardcore Sorbara lambrusco, however, the colour and entire appearance of the wine is highly pink rather than red. Powerful, intense and very minerally nose of sweet redcurrants, raspberries and strawberries, unusually charming and juicy. Full in the mouth, yet slim, taut, intense, exceptionally fine balance between fullness and (high) acidity, exuberant mousse. Long, juicily acidic, berryish, very minerally, clean, intense and lovely, roses and violets. Exceptional wine, certainly not run-of-the-mill and certainly not for everyone, but this is just great for me.
La Battagliola Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Pas Rosé 2011
Battagliola is presently my favourite Lambrusco producer. Their straight Grasparossa is fantastic, and this is the rosé version. Sublime, intense, sweet, fresh, delicious and balsamic nose with cherries, sweet flowers, raspberries and mineral. Beautifully balanced in the mouth, freshly acidic, dry but sweet with fruit, a light touch of tannin, good mousse. Very long, intense, with sweet and acidic berry notes, minerals, flowers, pure, slim, but scented and mouthfilling. Glorious wine, the world does not know what it is missing.
Cleto Chiarli e Figli Brut de Noir Rosé (non-vintage)
This is part lambrusco, part pinot noir. Fresh, appetising nose with acidic redcurrants, raspberries and rose. Slim and fresh in the mouth, juicy, quite strong mousse. OK length with sweet and sour redcurrants, wild raspberries, minerals and rose.
Tuscany has never been a motherlode of great rosé for me. By all means, a few acceptable commercial styles, but never anything that really rang my bells. I am sorry to report that this still holds true.
Villa Trasqua Toscana Rosato 2011
Very discreet, thin nose of light raspberries, slight hint of meat. Light in the mouth, lacking concentration and fruit, strange acidity, strange residual sweetness. Short, thin, sour, strangely sweet, very light raspberry.
Fabrizio Dionisio Toscana Rosa del Castagno 2011
100% Syrah. Reticent nose of light redcurrant, light raspberry, a touch of mineral and flowers. Light in the mouth, fine acidity, quite mild. Somewhat short, fresh berries, light mineral, clean and quite elegant. Lacks a bit of punch.
This is a land of great whites and reds, but the noble aglianico variety also yields great rosés, much in the same way as nebbiolo does in Piedmont. Pity, then, that I could only muster the one example for this line-up, but as long as the quality is this good, I can live with it.
Feudi di San Gregorio Beneventano Rosato Ros’aura 2011
Delicious, fresh, juicy and crisp nose with sweet raspberries and rose. Lovely, juicy and fresh in the mouth, good acidity and fine fruit. Good length, juicy and fresh, raspberries, minerals, flowers, slight touch of alcohol at the end.
This region is for me the greatest source of rosés overall. There are so many good producers of the typical, savoury, juicy rosés here that it is a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. The contrast to another region that produces much rosé, Provence, is marked. Where Provence rosés are generally of very slight colour, soft and mild, Apulian rosés are of a vivid coral colour and have marked berry aromas and acidity. There is no doubt for me what I prefer, but there are people that I hold in high esteem who actually would prefer Provence rosés any day… As suc, the below wines do not necessarily reflect the very best from Apulia, but I refer to the initial statements in this post, which contain a list of great Apulian rosés.
Masseria Altemura (Zonin) Rosamara Brut (non-vintage)
As I recall it, this is negroamaro and chardonnay. Fresh, slim nose with sweet raspberries and rose, not complex, but quite charming. Slim and fresh in the mouth, with a slight residual sweetness, coarse mousse. OK length with sweet raspberries, rose, minerals, slight garrigue, slight sweetness. Very commercial style, fresh and charming, but I would ideally like a somewhat more authentic Salentine expression.
Leone de Castris Salento Rosé Five Roses 68 Anniversario 2011
This is the original producer of Italy’s very first bottled rosé wine. Five Roses used to be wood-aged for quite a considerable period of time, and had the reputation of being one of the only (if not THE only) ageworthy rosés in the world. Back in the mid-1980’ies I tasted a couple of vintages of that wood-aged version, but that didn’t really float my boat, it being rather tired and dry. Since then, Leone de Castris have embraced modern technology with a vengeance, and the modern Five Roses is now a “classic” Salento Rosé made in stainless steel. It is ironical that there has been a recent trend in Apulia towards re-introducing wood-aged rosés, although this time ’round winemaking practices are better at preserving the fruit, and the wood is used to increase complexity without compromising freshness. Who knows, Leone de Castris might even re-introduce a wood-aged rosé. The Five Roses 2011 has a typical Salentine rosé nose of sappy, juicy raspberries, quite full and intense, yet fresh, and with a hint of garrigue. The mouth is juicy and fresh, with a lovely tart fruit sweetness, and with a dry hint of fruit peel. It has good length with scented sappy raspberries, slight rush of tannins and flowers. A very handsome rosé indeed.
Masseria Altemura (Zonin) Rosato Salento 2011
Fresh, juicy nose of raspberries, round and somewhat reticent, slight hint of herbs. Light, fresh and a bit thin in the mouth, good acidity. Short, but nicely fresh and juicy, raspberries, slight mineral. Commercial style.
Leone de Castris Rosé Brut Donna Lisetta (non-vintage)
Fresh, slight nose with sappy raspberries, redcurrants, slight autolysis and slight wax. Round and juicy in the mouth, quite mild, fine mousse, slightly over-dosage’d. Quite short, with berries, slight sweetness. A bit disappointed here.
In terms of rosé, gaglioppo reigns supreme in Calabria, and indeed has produced some of the most successful and distinctive rosés in Italy over the years. Calabria in many ways is still an emerging region in vinous terms, but the wealth of terroirs and indigenous grape varieties is such that I would not be surprised if Calabria in 50 or 100 years would be counted as among the leading 2 or 3 regions in Italy. Get in early for an interesting ride.
Librandi Cirò Rosato 2011
Cherries, light plums, garrigue, sweet meat and orange zest in a broad and interesting nose. Soft fruit in a broad and full mouth with very slight residual sweetness. OK length with sweet cherries, plum skins, slight tannins, good freshness, garrigue and slight caramel towards the end.
Fattoria San Francesco Cirò Rosato Ronco dei Quatttroventi 2009
San Francesco, with Librandi were the two greats of Cirò for many years. In particular, San Francesco’s red Cirò single-vineyard Ronco dei Quattroventi was constantly the very best from that denomination. While both Librandi and San Francesco still produce excellent wines, a new breed is on the verge of eclipsing them in Cirò. San Francesco has enjoyed great success in an Italian context with their Cirò rosés. To up the game they then decided to make a single-vineyard rosé from the same vineyard as their top red Cirò. The result is what we see here. While 2009 would be quite old for most rosés, the Ronco dei Quattroventi is a big, sturdy wine that stands the test of time extremely well. Broad and powerful nose with plums, meat, exotic spices and strawberry marmalade. Again broad and powerful in the mouth, round, with balanced acidity and a slight hint of tannin. Long, still very fresh, straberry marmalade, plums and exotic spices. A large rosé, and while probably ideal as a food wine, this also has the fruit and charm to be drunk on its own.
Tenuta dell’Abate Rosé Terre del Palco
Can’t recall this had a vintage. Hails from Mount Etna, and certainly has a style of its own. Handsome nose with dark, soft berries, very minerally, a hint of sweet meat and forest floor. Round, soft and juicy in the mouth, slight hint of tannin. Long, juicy and thirst-quenching, very minerally, with plum, dark soft berries, flowers, sweet meat and forest floor. The volcanic origins coming through very clearly here. It would seem that the tricky nerello mascalese really has the potential to make rosés with a strong terroir imprint.
I know, much of what many people take as rosé from Alsace is actually an attempt at red wine. But this one even says rosé on the label.
Cave de Ribeauvillé Alsace Pinot Noir Rosé Réserve 2010
Minerally nose with rhubarb, blackcurrant, raspberry and cloves; quite particular but pleasant and interesting nose. Medium-full in the mouth, a bit low on acidity, a bit short on concentration. Fairly short, aromas from the nose repeated, but then a slightly tired, caramelly/oxidative note at the end.
Domaine Dujac Morey Saint-Denis Vin Gris de Pinot Noir 2000
My favourite rosé producer of all time, but as explained, does not seem to make it anymore. What a pity, for while these wines are still very good at 12 (and even 18) years of age (I still have a single bottle of the 2000 and a single bottle of the 1994 left, and they age beautifully), their greatest period is when they are very young and combine charm and profundity in a way that I have never seen in any other wines. Utter and pure sensuality and seduction in a bottle, even if this should all be in the past tense. Sic transit gloria mundi. Tasting note: Beautiful and incredibly complex nose with sweet raspberries, strawberries, sweet farmyard scents, ginger, sweet oriental spices, minerals, forest floor, flowers and peaches. Full, juicy, dry but round, with delicious fruit sweetness, balanced acidity, very slight hint of tannin. Long, full, complex and intense aftertaste, sweet berries, lovely sweet forest floor, spices, ginger, a fantastic imprint of the terroir. Super-serious rosé, yet carries with it a simple goodness and charm that will also win over any wine non-intellectuals immediately.
Bordeaux ought to be producing perhaps the best rosés in the world, considering its history. After all, this is where the very light red wine by the generic name of clairet was made, that was so to conquer the English palate that they elevated it to such great fame that it has never looked back. The English even still call it claret. Today’s monster-size big red Bordeaux, of course, has little to do with the wines produced back when the reputation first began to spread; the light red wines of perhaps 9 to 11% alcohol were by all accounts very long-lived, but must have had a very different and much more elegant taste than the quasi-Californian blockbusters we see now. Indeed, one would assume that the fruitiness would have resembled a rosé wine much more than the strong and dark flavour prevalent today. That Bordeaux – in my humble experience – has never even come close to producing rosé of any distinction is a mystery. While the top-5% in Bordeaux is doing extremely well, thank-you-very-much, in these times of crisis for the beleaguered 95%, perhaps there could be an as yet undiscovered gold mine to be found out there in rosé land? In the meanwhile, those with the patience will have to make do with the likes of the following:
Château de Marsan Bordeaux Rosé 2011
This is 40% cabernet franc, 40% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot. Slender, light, somewhat sulphurous nose with very light redcurrants/raspberries and a sour component. Mild and light in the mouth, fairly low acidity, with a slightly acrid-sulphurous component. Not long, thin, weak aromas, sulphur, redcurrants. Not good, but unfortunately not much worse than my average experience with Bordeaux rosés.
Apologies in advance: I know I should have the intellectual rigour to further subdivide the districts in the south of France. But this is still summertime, so I couldn’t be bothered. You will note, however, that I have spent considerable effort to taste a range of wines from this part of France, which is frequently recognized as producing the best rosés in the world. I have really tried to investigate why so many people hold this opinion, and have indeed found one or two really good rosés, but generally the somewhat pale, flabby and alcoholic style simply does not appeal very much to me, even when thoroughly chilled. Don’t misunderstand me, the wines are often extremely well made, and without doubt very good within their category, it is just that the category is dull for me.
Caves d’Esclans Côtes de Provence Rosé Whispering Angel 2011
The Chateau d’Esclans, from which this rosé hails, is apparently a new force to be reckoned with in Provence. They have set out to produce the best rosés in the world, no less, and their top rosé wine will easily set you back the equivalent of USD 200. I have not tasted the top wine, but the version featured here has received enthusiastic reviews and appparently sells extremely well, even though not cheap by any standards. Discreet, fresh, elegant nose with light berries, soft and not very juicy. Soft, round and fresh in the mouth, a medium-full, relaxed style. Acceptable length with light, soft berries, slightly floral, with a bit of alcohol making an unwelcome appearance. This is miles away from my preferred style of rosé, which is much more juicy, assertively fruity and taut.
Domaines Ott Château Romassan Bandol Rosé Coeur de Grain 2011
Closed nose with a bit of flint, chalk, herbs and spices, slight alcohol. Medium-full in the mouth, quite dry, quite concentrated, slight caramelly feel. Good length with caramel, very light berry fruit, dry with a bit of tannin, minerally, some alcoholic heat. This may be a dry, serious terroir wine, but completely lacks charm.
Vignerons de l’Enclave Ventoux Rosé La Garenne 2011
Broad, fruity nose with strawberries and a hint of flowers. Broad, round and mild in the mouth, not very concentrated, slight residual sweetness. Quite short, but fruity and likeable, a bit of strawberry and flowers.
Ambroise Lapierre Tavel Rosé Le Mistral 2010
Alcohol/acetone, peach, orange peel, quite broad nose. Dry and quite broad in the mouth, slight tannin. Not long, somewat thin, with light berries and alcohol/acetone, very dry.
Château Guiot Costières de Nîmes Rosé 2011
Lovely tight nose with raspberries, blackcurrants, some garrigue, a bit of bubblegum. Dry, tight, handsome and juicy in the mouth, with a dark character (for a rosé), a hint of tannin. Nicely full and long, juicy, tight, dry, slightly spicy, dark berries. A lovely, tight, dry but juicy and fruity terroir wine.
Château de la Coulerette Côtes de Provence La Londe Rosé Elixir de la Coulerette 2011
Quite discreet nose with granny smith apples, light redcurrants, lavender and alcohol. Quite fat, broad, round, dry, low acidity. Good length, apples, redcurrants, slightly spicy, much alcohol. Entirely lacks nerve. Ghastly bottle resembling a large perfume flask.
Guigal Tavel Rosé 2011
Quite discreet, broad nose with strawberries, cherries, a somewhat astringent/dry component (not quite orange peel), slightly spicy, some alcohol. Broad, dry and somewhat astringent in the mouth, some alcohol heat. Medium length, broad, alcoholic, bitter, dry, a bit of berry fruit, light touch of orange peel.
Domaine Sorin Bandol Rosé 2011
Handsome nose with peach, redcurrant, grapefruit, slight wax, slightly minerally. Broad, fat and deliciously round in the mouth, balanced acidity and good weight, slight alcohol. Good length with peach and grapefruit, slightly spicy, slightly minerally and a hint of alcohol.
Château Pesquié Ventoux Rosé Terrasses 2011
Fresh, lightly minerally nose with strawberries, redcurrants and rose. Slender, light, quite fresh, slight residual sugar; lacks a bit of punch. Fairly short and light, but fresh and with a charming berry fruitiness, slightly minerally and floral. A bit too anxious to please, this one.
Château Clarettes Côtes de Provence Rosé Cuvée Classique 2009
Minerally, slightly alcoholic nose with peach and caramel; discreet, but actually elegant. Slender and dry in the mouth, somewhat flat, slightly bitter. OK length with peach, slight varnish, alcohol, bitter herbs. Probably a bit over the hill.
Château de Trinquevedel Tavel 2011
Blackcurrants and peaches in a broad but fresh nose, sweetly floral, a bit of sweet oriental spices. Broad in the mouth, dry, a bit flat, slight tannin, a bit of alcohol. OK length with peaches, alcohol and a slightly herbal bitterness, slightly floral.
Château de Trinquevedel Tavel Les Vignes d’Eugéne 2010
This has spent some time in wood. Dry, powerful nose with garrigue, plums, a bit of smoke and minerals. Soft, medium-full to full in the mouth, not much acidity, a bit of alcohol, hint of tannin. Quite long, mild, sweet plum fruit, alcohol and slight garrigue. A big food rosé.
Spain traditionally produces quite a lot of rosé wine, and some of it, notably from Navarra, can be quite good. Unfortunately, I did not manage to come by a bottle of Navarra rosé for this post.
Torres Mas Rabell Rosé 2011
Garnacha and cariñena. Quite reticent, neutral, soft, vinous but fresh nose with red berries and bit of soft spice. Quite light and slightly fizzy in the mouth, fairly low acidity. Relatively short, with candy-like raspberry and slight spiciness, but quite fresh. Very commercial little wine.
Esteban Martín Cariñena Rosado 2011
This is from the district called Cariñena, not the eponymous grape variety. This is actually made from garnacha and syrah. Broad, slightly gamey nose with plum, cherry, some mineral and a bit of alcohol. Broad in the mouth, dry, fairly low on acidity, slight residual sweetness. Good length, candy snaps, berries, acidity is out of whack; this wine seems rather contrived, synthetic, perhaps victim of being made for a market, not for the winemaker’s palate.
Bodegas Muga Rioja Rosé 2011
Very weak nose with strawberries, redcurrants and a dry, tired note of old, musty wood. Dry, acidic and light in the mouth. Medium length, dry wood character, sour redcurrants, quite a lot of alcohol. This definitely is not corked, nor bretty, but might just suffer from some other malady; definitely not good as is.
The positive surprise. Unfortunately I had not gotten hold of any Schilcher wine, so did not necessarily expect Austria to really shine. Luckily, I was completely wrong on that. Some of the best rosés tasted for this post.
Pittnauer Burgenland Rosé 2011
Lovely, delectable, fresh and juicy nose with raspberries, peaches, minerals and flowers. Fresh and juicy in the mouth, firm acidity and round berry fruit. Good length with salty minerality, lovely acidity, peaches, raspberries and flowers. Delicious, great personality, really hits the spot.
Fred Loimer Niederösterreich Rosé 2011
Slightly reticent but fresh and juicy nose with raspberries, roses and a dry, vinous component. Fresh, light, acidic and slender in the mouth, quite dry. OK length with minerality, acidity, juicy raspberries and redcurrants; quite a light wine, somewhat uncompromising, but lovely and consistent nonetheless.
You didn’t see that coming, did you? Denmark actually has a small but growing wine scene, and a few decent wines are actually being made these days. The case for rosé is obvious given Denmark’s very cool climate, but not much is being made, and few have yet cracked the code of actually making the rosé wines fruity and charming. No doubt, though, we will see some rather good rosé coming out in future. Unfortunately, so much Danish wine suffers from a rather fatal lack of concentration; the hope must be that this will improve dramatically once the young vineyards reach a respectable age.
Skærsøgaard Don’s Rosé 2010
Sparkling wine made from 100% rondo. Fresh nose with redcurrants, slight toast/autolysis, slight raspberry. Very light in the mouth, good acidity, good (=low) dosage, but lacking in concentration. Short, but fresh, with redcurrant and slight autolysis. Acceptable.
Degnemosegaard Rosé 2008
This is also made from rondo, perhaps the most widely planted variety in Denmark right now. The freshness of this wine is testament to the staying power of rondo wines. Slightly reductive but fresh nose with strawberries, raspberries and dark spices. Light, fresh and somewhat watery in the mouth, quite high acidity, quite dry. Not long, again a bit of reductive aroma, but also minerals and light red berries.
Some people say that life starts where your comfort zone ends, and if that is true Denmark must have gotten you really alert. We now turn well back inside most people’s comfort zone with a real modern classic. Santa Rita was the first Chilean winery to really make a splash in Denmark, first with their Medalla Real cabernet sauvignon, and then with what for many people was a totally new concept: a rosé made from the same grape variety. I tried to like it back then, and also tried to like it this time. Not much luck, I am afraid…
Santa Rita Valle Central Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2010
Light Ribena, strawberry, a bit of flowers and an acidic vinous component on the nose. Round, soft and medium full in the mouth, low on acidity and with some residual sugar. OK length with berries, a dry herbal hint and some alcohol. Not bad, just far from good.
I am quite sure Australia must make good rosés (my own very sporadic experience has not yet come up with any), and I am well aware that the lone champion of Oz that I managed to taste for this post is from a mass-market brand that does not exactly have a reputation for making great wines for the discerning drinker. So apologies, Australia, I have probably done you a disservice by bringing this tasting note. We’ll have to make up for it later.
Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Rosé 2011
Quite broad and fruity nose with meat, plum, slight strawberry, light spiciness and minerals. Quite fat and fruity in the mouth, then acidity that is quite at odds with the rest of the wine, and then some residual sugar. Short, clean, slight strawberry, plum and meat, a bit of bubblegum. Strange, unnaturally-tasting wine. Heavy hand with the acidification here?
Predictably, a stellar performance by the sole German representative.
Dr. Bürklin-Wolf Pfalz Villa Bürklin Cuvée Rosé 2011
Fresh, complex and rather Burgundian nose with cherries, raspberries, a bit of forest floor, minerals and peaches. Dry, fresh, taut, very good acidity, slight tannin. Long and complex, again quite Burgundian, with cherries, raspberries, minerals, humus and excellent acidity. Great wine, combines immediacy, charm and terroir profundity.
The sole representative here is from the cheekily named Goats do Roam company, which does not just leave it at word puns on the Côtes du Rhone, but actually makes an interesting range of Rhône style wines. I am sure there must be other worthy contenders out there, but again, this is what I got hold of this time.
Goats do Roam Coastal Region Rosé 2011
Juicily vinous nose with redcurrants, orange peel, slight spice and a bit of alcohol. Quite broad, dry and round in the mouth, a bit low on acidity. OK length with orange peel, redcurrants, caramel, spice and alcohol. Not my style, but very successfully emulates the prototype from southern France, so this might just be the thing for lovers of e.g. Provence rosés.
I have extremely limited experience with rosés from malbec, but what little experience I do have suggests that malbec should be rigorously and religiously made into red wine.
Alamos (Catena) Malbec Rosé 2011
Peach/apricot verging towards blackcurrants on the broad, rather clumsy nose, hints of flowers and alcohol. Broad and somewhat flat in the mouth, lacks acidity, quite some alcohol. Short, high alcohol, weak fruit, a bit of minerals.
This concludes this summer’s rosé odyssey. I still love the stuff with a vengeance, and am definitely very encouraged by the good number of wines out there that show distinctive character – and sometimes even deep terroir – while preserving the charm and immediacy that is the unique preserve of well-made rosé. Having taken suchh a wide survey, I am not sure, however, that I will subject myself willingly to the punishment of the worse examples here any time soon. Though you never know; one of the beneficial side effects of alcohol consumption is memory loss, so I may just need to refresh my memory next year.
Of one thing I am certain, though: My long-suffering wife willl kill me if I open another bottle of rosé within the near future. So on to the Lambruscos…