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 rose 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.
Usually in October, I’ll drink pink all month and promote the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This year, I was both on the road for the almost the entire month and I was sick with a horrible case of bronchitis. Needless to say, I didn’t drink pink. The nice folks at Arizona Stronghold Winery, however, sent me this bottle as a sample, just in case I could. In October, some of the proceeds from sales of this bottle were donated to the BCRF. I’m a little late. Late is alright though, as rosé is a great wine to drink with turkey.
The 2009 Arizona Stronghold Dayden Cochise County Rosé is a blend of Zinfandel, Grenache, Sangiovese, Malbec, and Sauvignon Blanc from three different vineyard locations in Chochise County, Arizona. They chose to make this rosé in the saignée style. Saignée is a method of rosé production that involves bleeding off the juice after limited contact with the skins. The juice only takes on a little of the color of the grape skins, due to the short time in which they had contact, leading to the pink color. The color is a nice medium-dark pink, nothing so peppy that you’ll be embarrassed to hold your glass in public. You can tell immediately that the wine has some heft.
The first thing we noticed was the rose petal nose. I hate saying that a rosé smells like roses, as it seems rather cliche, but there’s no denying that Kevin & I both got a floral aroma. The flavors are full of fruits and flowers, with some light strawberries wrapped in with some sour cherries and crushed flower petals. I know, that sounds ridiculous, but trust me. At only 11.9% AbV, this wine goes down fast and we powered through our bottle. It’s very balanced – you’re not overwhelmed by any one specific flavor or characteristic, and instead enjoy the entire delicate blend of flavors.
The Dayden has structure and heft – it’s not just a back-porch summertime rosé. The winery recommends pairing it with grilled vegetables, cold meats, and salads. I think we may have overchilled it, so that’s something you really need to watch with this one. While we enjoyed it right out of the fridge, it had a much sweeter finish when it was cold. As it warmed up a bit, it had a fuller, less sweet finish and we liked it even better. Definitely chill this wine, but you might want to pull it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you drink it, just to get it up to optimum temperature.
I was hoping this wine might go well with Thanksgiving dinner, and while it might pair nicely with the cranberry portion, I don’t know about the rest. However, it is probably the perfect wine to pull out when you’re having a cold turkey sandwich on Black Friday, after a long day of shopping in the crazy local mall.
You’re probably thinking I just reviewed a wine you need to fly to Arizona to get your hands on. Not true. Recently the good folks at Dep’s Fine Wines have started carrying Arizona Stronghold, so head over there and pick up a bottle for around $12.99.
As part of my own little Drink Pink
initiative, I’ve opened several rosés and wines that donate to Breast Cancer research in the last month. Truthfully, a lot of them have been disappointing. So instead of posting each not-so-great wine on its own, I’ll do a wrap-up next week.
For today, I’m sharing my all-time favorite pink with you. I originally
reviewed this wine back around Valentine’s Day, but it’s worth sharing.
This one is over and above my favorite rosé. It’s also really affordable, coming in 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.
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.
Parts of this post originally posted on Feb 13, 2009
2009 Mulderbosch Rosé, Stellenbosch, South Africa
$10.99, Dep’s Fine Wines (formerly Liquor Direct)
The Mulderbosch Rosé is made from Cabernet Sauvignon. Because it’s made from a hefty grape, so to speak, it’s a fairly hefty rosé, and would handle food nicely. In fact, the back of the bottle recommends crab cakes, chicken satay, spring rolls with ginger, herb rubbed turkey, ratatouille, and fruit-glazed pork chops.
The nose was lovely, filled with roses, strawberries, and cherries.
I found it started out a little like drinking a Sweet Tart candy. Now, I love Sweet Tarts, but I’m surprised when I find them in my wine. There was also a lot of tart cherry and pomegranate. As the wine warmed up a little, I noticed a slightly herbal finish, gradually supplanting all that tartness.
It’s a good wine, especially for the price.
“I’ll just finish the wine. It’s not a problem.”
That was me, last night. But we’ll get back to that in a minute.
The theme for this month’s WBW outing, hosted by Dale Cruse, is a grape by any other name. You see, grapes are the same the world over, but they have a lot of different names – often for the same grape. For instance, Primitivo and Zinfandel, Syrah and Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Fume Blanc, and so forth.
I happened to have a Spanish grenache sitting here for Drink Pink, and it happens to be labeled as a garnacha, so we’re in business.
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.
Artazuri Rosado of Garnacha 2008, Bodegas Y Artazu, Navarra region
$10.99, Water Tower Fine Wines
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 it 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 last night (thus the quote at the top). 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.
Thanks to Dale for hosting this month’s adventure!
As part of my own little Drink Pink initiative, I dived into my first rosé of the month. I'll tell you right now, it will be hard for any other rosé to live up to this one. I apparently started at the top.
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.)
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.
Perhaps the biggest recommendation for this wine is that Kevin had several glasses and he likes to say he hasn't "found his inner pink." He's usually not a fan of rosés, but I think this one won him over. I also think it's worth the $18.99.
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