Spring has sprung and as we approach the end of April in coastal South Carolina summer is just around the corner. That means you should have settled in your pink wine (rosé) for the season. We have tasted five pink wines so far this year and with these last four there should be something for everyone. It has been a vintage year of hits and a few misses. Check out what we have tasted in the last week.
Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel 2016
There is generally lots of buzz around the release of the Whispering Angel and the 2016 vintage is no exception. It has been reported that this wine is the reason behind the pink wine boom in the USA. I have no way of knowing if that is true, I woudl not doubt it given the PR behind this wine. All I know, is I have been asked about this wine by more than one person and given its place in the wine-osphere I was definitely curious about it and felt it was important for me to try. Is it true that it has become one of the world’s greatest rosé”.
This wine is the lightest of coral pink in color. The nose is pleasant although hard to discern what I am smelling . The first words out of Gary’s mouth were in a stream of consciousness “wet slate, powdery mineral”, but I was stumped. Upon tasting I would describe it as light flavors of apricot and citrus. Gary threw in “with the tartness of a pixie stick”. It is refreshing with not a lot of fruit and a tart finish. I do like this wine and would be happy with it whenever it is served. However, I do like a bigger rosé with more fruit and less tart. For those liking a lighter taste profile this may be the pink wine for you.
Côtes de Provence, France * Vins de Pays d’oc * Rose Blend primarily Grenache, Vermentino and Cinsault from La Motte en Provence. Sells for $20.59 ( Purchased at The Wine Shop 2 Lockwood Ave.)
Domaine Paul Thomas * Sancerre – Chavignol Rosé 2016
When selecting the additional wines for this tasting, our sales person suggested that if we were looking at $20+ bottles, we should seriously consider Domaine Paul Thomas Sancerre Chavignol Rosé 2016. Always up for something new and with his strong recommendation I added it to the cart. When I brought it home, Gary’s response was, “Paul Thomas makes great wine, this should be good”.
Now I have to admit when I think of Sancerre I think white wine. I had no idea that 25% of the grapes now grown in the region are Pinot Noir nor did I know that Sancerre in the 19th century and earlier was primarily a red wine region. While white wines have been the focus of many Sancerre winemakers there has been a refocusing of attention on Pinot Noir production and making some incredible red and rosé wines.
And this Paul Thomas is an incredible wine for sure. There were three of us tasting this wine and when we each took our first sip, we all said a variation of “Wow!, that really good.” And it is. Beautifully balanced, smooth and clean with round edges. It does not sit on your tongue. There are definitive stone fruit flavors that dance on your palate and then quickly disappear causing you to take another sip wanting more. This wine sells for $23.75 and is worth every penny.
Upper Loire Valley * Sancerre AOC, Pinot Noir . This wine sells for approx. $23.75 and is worth every penny. It is so good that on my next trip downtown I picked up another four bottes. (Purchased at The Wine Shop 2 Lockwood Ave.)
Casado Morales Rioja Rose 2016
I first had the 2015 vintage of this wine at a dinner party with friends. It was the perfect cocktail wine. I made a note of it and asked my friend Michael where he bought it so I could pick some up. I did get a couple bottles of that vintage but it was about time for the 2016 to arrive so I also wanted to give that a try. This wine is sold at Total Wine as a direct from winery so unless they have other distribution it may be harder to find in other states that do not have Total Wine in your area.
This wine is a dark rose pink color. It is medium-bodied, full of red fruit and a citrus finish. I really like it. It is a perfect cocktail wine for me and at $10.00 a bottle it will not break the bank. Gary on the other hand finds it to be “too much”. He says it tastes sweet to him and while I do not get that, what I know is we all have different tastes and our palates are not the same. So I may keep this around just because.
Northern Spain, Rioja Region, Tempranillo. And at $10 bucks it can be a Tuesday wine aka a wine for no special occasion.
Romancing the Pink
This wine holds a very special place in my heart. On my last trip to France we spent considerable time in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. It was an incredible trip where we stayed in a centuries old home that became our base camp for day excursions to various wineries and quaint villages throughout Provence and Languedoc regions. I have never wanted to repeat a vacation and I want to repeat this one.
Puech-Haut Prestige Rosé
One evening Gary and I decided to have dinner at a new pizza restaurant. We had been eating french like we should have for several days and our host said it was worth the trip. The pizza was amazing but it was the wine that made a lasting impression. We ordered a bottle of the Prestige Rosé 2014 and I fell in love. So much so that the very next night we ordered carry out from the same place for us and our friends along with several bottles of this wine to eat and drink under the stars in the walled courtyard of our temporary home.
This is the second year we have special ordered a case of this wine. The 2014 vintage was floral and full of peach and other stone fruits, the 2015 was very similar to the 2014 and I could not be happier. Gary however lost the romance with this wine and decided it was “too much fruit and not dry enough for him.
The 2016 Vintage
Without discussing it with him I ordered a case of the Puech-Haut Prestige Rosé 2016. I could not wait for it to arrive. I have to admit Gary was feeling a little left out saying the our rosé wine fridge was mostly my favorites. (let me take a step back… yes we have three wine coolers. Each holds about 36-40 bottles and we have one for red wines, white wines and pink wines. It did not start out that way but we kept running out of room.)
This years vintage is quite different. Gary is a no go on this vintage but I can not let this one go. It needs to be consumed at a warmer than usual in order to bring out the flavors in this wine. Consistently a dark coral color. Strong citrus flavors dominate this vintage. It is refreshing but should be allowed to warm up once pulled from the fridge before drinking.
I have a romance with this wine that I can not let go. Maybe I should have it with wood-fired pizza while sitting outside at a cafe table. The noise of the cars on the cobblestone street dance and echo as they drive down the street. If I close my eyes, I am back in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.
Southern France * Languedoc-Roussillon* Rosé *Grenache, Cinsault. This wine in Charleston is special order. Contact your local store to order. It is imported and distributed by European Cellars, LLC. You can contact to find distribution in your state.