The last rose I’m sharing with you is probably my favorite rosé of all time, period. It tastes more expensive than it is … it looks more expensive than it is.
2008 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Blanc, Mendocino County, California
$18.99, Water Tower Fine Wines
Have you heard of Caymus? They’re rather well known for their Cabernet. So well known, in fact, that in order to focus on some rather nice Pinot Noir, the winemaker had to open a separate winery. In 2001, that’s how Belle Glos came to be.
Belle Glos is distinctive for its wax-dipped bottles, a la Maker’s Mark. The Pinot Noirs all have a dark red wax, but this rosé sports a brilliant pink. It’s actually a gorgeous bottle. I had to have it as soon as I saw it in the store. (The wax has a pull tab, making it easy to remove from the top. A tip: don’t stick it in the freezer.)
The wine has a wonderful aroma of flowers and wild strawberries. You can see in the photo that the wine itself is almost a jewel-tone. The rosé is made from pinot noir, which is my favorite red grape.
I’ve never said this about a rosé before, but this is a sexy rosé. It makes sense, as pinot noir can be one of the most sensuous wines around, but rosé? My hats off to the winemaker. This has a lot of big dark berries and just a kiss of strawberry.
This isn’t one of those light, prissy rosés; this wine has some heft to it. We drank it solo, but I bet it would also prove to be an excellent food wine, holding up to some heavier pairings.
Artazuri Rosado of Garnacha 2008, Bodegas Y Artazu, Navarra region
$10.99, Water Tower Fine Wines
Grenache, also called Garnacha, is one of the most widely planted red grape varietials, and is the most widely planted grape in Spain. Grenache is often found in Southern Rhône wines, which explains my fondness for it. I do love my Rhône. In fact, Grenache is often at least 80% of the blend of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The Artazuri rosé has this amazing bright color. It’s not really captured in the above photo, but it’s sort of the pink of my pinkest Playgirl Floribunda roses I planted outside our house, or the pinkest hibiscus flower. It’s pretty darn close to red, while still retaining all it’s pinkness.
On the nose there is a lot of flower and mineral, partnered by raspberry. Kevin commented that the nose was reminiscent of homemade raspberry pancake syrup.
It’s not a hefty rosé. Instead, it’s light and airy, calling out to be paired with seafood on a hot and sunny day. It’s filled with raspberries and some cherry and it goes down fast. Really fast. Kevin and I rarely finish an entire bottle of wine on the first night anymore, but I handily polished this one off. As for Kevin? He had a glass or so, and he admitted it was good. But it wasn’t his kind of wine – it didn’t tap into his inner pink as our previous rosé had. He likes his pink wines to be less light and more heavy.
Since I’m trying to talk my friend into his inner pink, I thought I’d share my all-time favorite affordable pink, coming in at around $14.00.
2007 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah
The cherub is actually a cartoon rendering by Ralph Steadman of Alfredo Vidaurre, a founding partner of the Montes winery. If you’re familiar with Hunter S. Thompson and/or Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (the book people, not the movie), then you’ll recognize his art.
Montes is a Chilean winery and this wine comes from their Archangel estate in the Colchagua Valley, close to the Pacific Ocean. This particular rosé is 100% syrah. The color is a ruby red, but still obviously a rosé. The particular color comes from the juice and the skins having a one night
stand. I’m not kidding. It’s called a vin de nuit – the wine spends one night only in contact with the red-grape skins.
On the nose I got, appropriately, roses. I still hate the cliche of roses on a rosé, but sometimes it happens. (A rose is rosé by any other name?) Of course, the scent wasn’t just floral, there was some undefinably red fruits on there too.
The taste and texture are what won me over. It’s a rich, ripe wine, filled with crisp cherries and raspberries. It’s also a wine with heft, dry without
tannins. There’s a lot of structure and balance and it completely fills up your mouth. There’s a long, pleasing aftertaste that still manages
to be gentle. I would go so far as to say this rosé is sophisticated.
At under $15, it’s also a great deal. Montes makes some great wines, including the equally affordable Montes Folly and the not-so-affordable but excellent Purple Angel.
The real endorsement? Even Kevin likes this wine, and as he likes to say, he’s still looking for his inner pink.
I’m spending the week with a very good friend in California who said to me recently, “I don’t like rosés.” So this week I’m on a mission to share my favorite rosés, perhaps convince my friend to find his inner pink, and maybe improve his wine taste in general.
I love rosé. Partially, I love it because it’s pink, but I also love it because so many people undervalue it. I recommended a rosé to a guy the other day and he said, um, I’d rather have a white, not pink. I launched into a quick defense of pink, but he wouldn’t be swayed. Some guys (and gals, for that matter) simply refuse to find their inner pink.
Let me make two things clear about rosé:
In the past few years, I’ve grown to love rosé because it can embrace so many different characteristics. It can be made from a multitude of different grapes and often has the heft of a red with the chill of white.
So stay tuned this week for a recap of some of my favorite pinks.
I’m in town again, for a few weeks, and thought I’d celebrate by drinking pink.
I’ll be hosting a wine tasting at Water Tower Fine Wines over in Mt Washington on Friday night, 5:30 – 8:30 pm. Cost is $15 for 6 wines, although if you get there early, there’s a bonus sparkler. There’s also a premium pour for an additional cost. (The premium pour I picked out retails for around $70/btl.) Dave & Jan at Water Tower usually put out a pretty impressive spread of appetizers, included in the price.
Here are the stunning rosés we’ll be trying:
So bring your sweetheart – or come by to pick out a wine for your sweetheart – and drink pink with us on Friday night (and we can toast to my actually being in town!)
Water Tower Fine Wines is located just up the hill from Riverbend, right across from the Mt Washington Water Tower.
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