TASTE News Service, March 24, 2017 - Rosé Today has announced the winners of its 2017 Competition held at Soda Rock Winery on March 22.
2016 Sangiovese Rosé
Suggested Retail: $12
2015 Rosé of Sangiovese
Barnard Griffin Winery
Columbia Valley (Washington)
Suggested Retail: $14
2014 Claim Jumper Rosé
Santa Maria Valley
Suggested Retail: $42
“This sparkling wine is made in the méthode Champenoise from 100% Pinot Noir grapes that were estate grown in the Santa Maria Valley of Santa Barbara County. The location on California’s Central Coast receives considerable marine influence and is cooler than many realize. As such, it is prime growing country for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
California Brut Rose N/V
Korbel Champagne Cellars
Suggested Retail: $13.99
“For a long time rosé wines got no respect. But things have changed. Pink wines are hot—if not that exact shade of pink.
”Korbel Champagne Cellars, which has been producing sparkling wine in Sonoma County since 1882, recently came out with new packaging for their California Brut Rosé. It embraces pinkness. New packaging technology has allowed them to envelop the entire bottle in pink. The winery defines the new bottle wrap as ‘limited edition,’ so we presume that the duration of this presentation may depend on its popularity.
Marca Oro Rosé Brut
Suggested Retail: $13
“Who among us doesn’t appreciate a bargain? But if something doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t matter how little you paid for it. Fortunately, in the case of this week’s selection, the Valdo Rosé Brut, we were delighted by both the taste and the price.
“From the attractive packaging of the Valdo Rosé Brut, you might think ‘Champagne,’ though it is not. Champagne is a geographic area in France that is home to an undeniably wonderful product, but using ‘champagne’ as a catch-all term for any sparkling wine has fallen out of favor for most of the world’s wine businesses. (French Champagne houses feel that the term of identity should be exclusive to them and that appropriations of that name by other areas would be something like a winery in Argentina bottling a Cabernet Sauvignon, then putting the word ‘Napa’ on the label. The liquid inside might make a fine red wine, but it wouldn’t be from Napa.) There are some very worthy sparkling wines that come from places beyond Champagne, to include Cremant from other parts of France, Sekt from Germany, Cava from Spain and Prosecco from Italy, as well as many good sparklers from California.
“Valdo is a firm in the northeast of Italy that traces its sparkling wine production back to 1926. Their Rosé Brut is a blend of two varieties; Nerello Mascalese, a red wine grape grown in the Agrigento province of Sicily and Glera, a white wine grape traditionally called Prosecco that comes from the Veneto region in Italy’s north.
“This rose’s label references both ‘Brut’ and ‘Spumante.’ Spumante doesn’t necessarily mean a sweeter wine, but in this case is used like the Italian term Frizzante, meaning sparkling or fizzy. When seen on a Champagne bottle, the term Brut indicates a certain level of dryness of the wine. Regardless of whether the presentation on the label seems a bit contradictory, the liquid inside it appeals to us and we think it will please a lot of other palates, too. The wine pours with a fine mousse that settles to a deep rose color. The aroma seems primarily of strawberries or, perhaps, some fresh raspberries. There is more of these fruits in the flavor, along with a hint of that ‘biscuity’ quality we appreciate in Champagne. This Italian sparkler produced via the Charmat method retails in the $10 to $15 dollar range and delivers way more than we would have expected."
Food Affinity: “Sparkling wine is usually associated with celebration and the Valdo Rosé Brut puts us in an upbeat, festive mood. We suggest you declare an impromptu party and serve with crackers and deviled crab spread, salted almonds, melon wrapped in prosciutto . . . maybe even with hot wings.”
2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir
Suggested Retail: $27
“At one time wine drinkers in this country dismissed rosé as soda pop for adults. Given the style American wineries were producing, this was probably fair comment. Most of them were sweet, soft and inexpensive—pretty much White Zinfandels of a slightly darker hue.
"This was not the case in France, where rosé made in a dry style was quite popular in the south of the country, especially in Provence. Today rosés are bigger than ever there. Gerard Bertrand, a Pays d’Oc producer is quoted today in The Drinks Business as saying that rosé’s share of the domestic French wine market has risen from 15% to 30% in the last five years. Much of the growth is taking place in the premium-priced segment. In fact, Garrus, a rosé from Chateau d’Esclans in Provence, is reputed to cost more than ₤50 (about $70), according to the article at the British website.
“Many wineries in the United States are now producing dry rosés of better and better quality. Last month Vino La Monarcha, a rosé of Pinot Noir from Washington state’s Columbia Valley, was named Best of Show in the 2015 Great Northwest Wine Competition. Taste California Travel’s Wine Pick for this week is also a rosé made from Pinot Noir grapes. The aroma of the 2013 Mira is clearly that of Pinot Noir, though subtler than a fully red version of a quality Napa Valley Pinot. Scents of strawberries and rose petals lead to a feeling of richness in the mouth. There is almost a texture to the wine, which may be due—at least in part—to the alcohol level of 14.2%. This is a serious wine that showcases its provenance. At $27 it’s fairly pricey for a rosé, but quality grapes (100% Napa Pinot Noir) and winemaking (it’s fermented and aged in French oak), don’t come cheaply.”
Food Affinity: “Rich egg dishes at brunch. Mushrooms Vol au Vent. Grilled chicken with a sweet and spicy sauce.”
2013 Rosé of Sangiovese
Columbia Valley (Washington)
Suggested Retail: $14
“Pink in color—watermelon to coral in hue. Aromas of strawberries, raspberries and maybe a bit of honeysuckle. More strawberry and raspberry in the flavor with a nice roundness in the mouth. Sangiovese is popular grape variety for Northwest rosé winemakers. There’s lot of lively fruit and the good natural acidity of Sangiovese to balance the slight sweetness (measured at .8 residual sugar). An altogether pleasant rosé wine.”
Food Affinity: “Reviewer enjoyed the Maryhill Rosé of Sangiovese with grilled pork chops and sweet onions. This wine is delicate enough to accompany egg dishes for Easter brunch, but has enough substance to justify pairing with ham.”
2013 Heure d'Été
Le Domaine des Diables
Côtes de Provence
Suggested Retail: $23
“From the very light color of this rosé, one might dismiss it as insufficient. That would be unfortunate. Even though quite a light shade of pink, there's plenty of personality in the Provençal rose. A blend of Cinsault (50%), Syrah (30%) and Grenache (20%), the Heure d'Été has a lovely bouquet that reminds you that it's not just something designed to be only light and refreshing. It's real wine. Forward floral aromas of strawberry and a bit of raspberry. Those fruit qualities are repeated in the taste. There's a hint of sweetness, but it serves more to create a fullness in the mouth, rather than a lingering sweetness on the finish. Tasted good with the first sip and sustained that standard through two glasses. A worthy rosé to pair with lighter foods through early autumn.”
Food Affinity: “Pissaladière. Grilled eggplant. Prawns and simply-prepared shellfish. A platter of jambon, some cheeses, cornichons and green olives.”
2012 Rosato di Sangiovese
Valley of the Moon Winery
Suggested Retail: $18
“The linguistically-challenged can translate Rosato di Sangiovese as a rosé wine made from Sangiovese, the grape variety responsible for wonderful Chianti in Italy, but one that hasn't reached those heights as grown and vinified in California.
“Color is fairly deep—we'd describe it as between salmon and hot pink. Aromas of Maraschino cherries and an orange slice as found in a Shirley Temple, followed by flavors of Bing cherries and strawberries. There seems a little residual sugar, but it gives a richness and full-feeling in the mouth, without any cloying in the finish. (At 13.9 alcohol, this wine isn't big by California standards, though quality rosés from Europe would be a point or point-and-a-half lower in alcohol.) This rosato could be appropriate as an aperitivo or poured with a main course.
“We wish we could encounter more wines like this one. Shop around—we found it at $7.99 at one big retailer.”
Food Affinity: “Reviewer enjoyed this wine with grilled pork chop, but kept thinking it would be great with Lobster Newburg, that classic dish from another era.”