Drink Pink: Everything’s Coming Up Rosé 04/09/11
Due to the raging success of my Pinot Soiree, which shattered my original estimates with a total of two non-me participants, it wasn’t long before another request to set up a tasting came my way. And with spring more or less having arrived, I felt this would be a great opportunity to broaden my own palate a little and taste some seasonally-appropriate rosé wines.
If you’ve read my last entry, you’d know that I don’t typically drink rosé, despite the growing influence of the #DrinkPink movement on Twitter. But of course, like all reasonable adults, I do whatever Twitter tells me to, so it wasn’t long before the pressure got to me. And, by the way, I know the little accent on the e can be scary and confusing for the uninitiated, so let me help you out: it’s pronounced “row-ZAY,” and not “ROW-zee.”
So what’s the deal with rosé anyway? Also known as pink wine and sometimes blush wine, rosé is a concept best understood if you already know the essential difference between red and white wine – namely, that red wines are fermented while in contact with the grape skins, while white wines aren’t.
How do you make a rosé? You leave the grape skins in contact with the juice for a little while, then discard them and let the juice finish fermenting. Basically, then, rosé can be viewed as a mistake, since it really gives the impression of some careless vintner who meant to make a white, but forgot to separate the skins until it was too late.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink it, though. From time to time, a bottle or three of rosé can really hit the spot. Like at the tasting I’m about to write about! The last time you saw Jason, Cyd and Christine, we had successfully tasted three Pinot Noirs, while watching the movie Twins.
This time, we had another three wines on the agenda: the Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair Pinot Noir Rosé ($17-20), the Quinta de Gomariz Espadeiro Rosé ($10-12), and Pink Truck ($8-10), the last being a special, albeit puzzling request from Cyd. All three wines were from 2009.
Our food for this round was pesto chicken, with some pierogis (which you may remember from our last tasting). Our choice of film was the Hayao Miyazaki classic Spirited Away, which I actually hadn’t seen before, and which served as an excellent foil to the ethereality I commonly associate with rosé wines.
First was the Fougeray de Beauclair, from Marsannay an appellation in Burgundy (that’s in France). This rosé was produced entirely from Pinot Noir – making it, of course, the ideal wine to segue from our last tasting into this one. A dark orange-pink color in the glass, and quite transparent, it had a nose of indeterminate flowers, orange peel, and a smidgen of excess heat.
After breathing, I caught a new aroma, which I mistakenly recorded as “fresh bread,” when I really meant to say “the bread aisle in a grocery store.” You know that smell, right? On the palate this was wonderfully light, with a consistency reminding me of sake more than anything else. Raspberry flavors were prevalent throughout.
I award the Fougeray a very solid thumbs up.
Next up was the Quinta de Gomariz: a Portugese wine from the Vinho Verde region, produced from the Espadeiro grape (a varietal I hadn’t tried before). In the glass this one was a lighter salmon pink, with a distinctive nose of papaya. This carried over to the palate too, which prompted Cyd (not a papaya fan) to declare that the wine tasted “like it raped my tongue.”
I also detected notes of strawberry, but perhaps most notably, this wine had a little bite to it – not quite enough to be considered sparkling (or even, as I learned, semi-sparkling, because it has under a bar of CO2 pressure); but I would at least call it semi-semi-sparkling. A great value wine, if not too complex.
I award my first Espadeiro thumbs up.
Finally we proceeded to the sweetest of the three: Pink Truck, a blend of Zinfandel, Grenache and Mourvedre produced in California. You probably know how I feel about wines with excessive residual sugar, but I promised to keep an open mind for this one, which shone bright pink in the glass and had a simple nose of raspberry syrup and alcohol.
On the palate, notes of cherry, strawberry and cream were evident, and the wine was medium-bodied – heavier than the other two because of the sugar. It was too sweet for my liking, but I can at least acknowledge it as being superior to your run-of-the-mill White Zinfandel blend.
Pink Truck earns thumbs up – and although it was a little underwhelming compared to the others, I think I’ve learned my lesson from the tasting overall: Rosé is okay!