The Southwest of France and the Cotes de Gascogne
France’s indigenous grape varieties are to be found in Gascogne more than in any other part of France. Modern winemaking techniques are changing the way wine is made and, hence, some of the rough and rustic character of previous decades is being replaced by technically wonderful wines and a reinvention of what wine can be in this region. Red grapes predominate and you will find both of these wines a true adventure.
Let’s compare a Rosé from the Cotes de Gascogne with a Rosé from Creekside Cellars in Colorado, USA — both less known on the international scene and similarly priced.
Both wines are clean and well made and if I were to hazard a guess, I would say the French wine was made as a food wine and certainly reveals this intent. The grapes are various. Therefore, the comparison is of the wines, not the way they have fashioned the same grapes, albeit from divergent terroir.
Minerality is very obvious in the French wine; less fruit and more of the red wine’s phenolics appear. In the Colorado wine, we have a softer texture with much more fruit, recommending the wine for easy drinking and a summer’s refreshing lift. Another element is obvious this time in the Colorado wine: its fresh acidity and salivating potential. More fruit lasts on the finish, but both have a short finish and fill the expectancy of typical Rosé wines. Although the French wine is of a lower alcohol, note its warming effect due to less fruit and acid.
More acid brings out more fruit, so it is sometimes difficult to tell if the fruitiness of the wine is due to the acid level or the potency of fruit flavors in the grape. é
Note, also, how the balance of the wine is affected on the finish by more or less acid, more or less fruit, and more or less alcohol.