Tag Archives: rosé

Old World vs New World Rosé Wines

The Southwest of France and the Cotes de Gascogne

Hillside Vineyards 2015 Rosé vs Colorado and Creekside Cellar’s Rosé N/V

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.

Bottled Sunshine: Wine from the Island of Corsica

Rosé wine at beach

Corsica is our next stop, not Provence as originally planned.  The grape for this Rosé is Nielluccio, which is Corsica’s name for the Sangiovese.  It is Sangiovese in the unusual style of a Rosé and with French influence.  The island of Corsica is sunny and drier than the rest of France.  Serious Rosé wine can be found here.  Patrimonio is in the north of Corsica and Nielluccio is the dominant grape from this area.  Another distinctive factor is that this grape is grown here in limestone soil.

A lovely light orange-gold shade — very attractive — is highlighted by the wine’s brilliance.  Low aromas of an earthy floral and light apricot note greet you.  A soft, slightly creamy mouth feel with fresh acid and a short to medium finish is offered in this lovely encounter.  It will stand up well with soft cheeses or any creamy food and cut through the richness.  Enjoy the wine and the experience of Corsica, a region you may not have encountered yet in your wine journeys.

Rating 89

Available:

Wine is “Bottled Sunshine”

ProvenceWhispering Angel Rose

Provence is still ancient Roman in character, but its wine is entering the modern era.  This is a region of great terroir and appeal.  Soils and climate have attracted money that is pouring in, so watch the quality soar.  It already has some great quality wines.  Wine is now truly becoming “bottled sunshine” in Provence.  Because of the higher altitudes further inland, Pinot Noir has shown great promise.  We have already seen the quality of Mourvedre from the Bandol area, a small area of Provence that is inland from the town of Bandol.

Provence lays claim to the oldest vineyard area in France (dating back to the early Greek settlements) and vines transported from Phoenicia.  Herbs and flowers are everywhere, so look for their aromas in the wines.  Wonderful aromas are found in some rosés together with soft finesse.

We are going to try two Rosés with bread dipped in olive oil and with “Mediterranean gold” — garlic!  After you have evaluated these wines alone, taste it with bread dipped in a quality garlic-flavored olive oil and notice how Provence rosés blend well with the flavor of the oil.

In the last French wine comparison, we compared a New World wine with a Bandol wine from the Old World.  This time, we will experience two Provence Rosés (two Old World rosés).  It is hard to find a fair comparison with rosés since they are made from a variety of grapes and in such a variety of ways.

Whispering Angel from Caves D’Esclans, Cotes du Provence, 2015 is an attractive, smooth, rosé that rewards with a character that lingers on the palate.  It is clean, brilliant and light, with little viscosity, proving that it is not a viscous wine but still coats the membranes.  Scents of roses and flavors of strawberry, pineapple and melon are highlighted with the freshness of the acids.  It approaches the palate softly and strengthens in the finish to a strong and characterful conclusion.  It bowed out with the statement of a wine that says, “I will do well with the cuisine of the area” — namely, well with olive oil flavored with garlic.  It is worth the $23 price tag.  This is distinctly a Provence Rosé of quality.  “Fresh, floral, fruity, and appealing” describes Provence Rosés.

Rating: 89+

To prove the point that rosés are made from different grapes and in such a different way, let’s experience a rosé from South Africa: Secateurs 2015.  This bottle was a disappointment in that it had spent time in old oak and the flavors of an old barrel came through.  The fruit flavors were muted; the aroma was faint and not at all fruity or floral as one would expect from a rosé.  The wine was well balanced and had adequate acids and a soft attack.  Texture was good.  Grapes were Cinsault, Shiraz, Grenache, Carignan.  A good wine, but in my opinion it can be faulted for the flavors.  This wine highlights that a wine can be a disappointment in either the New World or the Old World, and comparisons with rosés is like comparing apples with oranges.

Rating: 83

Next, we will taste another rosé from Provence before we move on to the Western Languedoc.

The Move from White to Red Wines

French wines will be continued soon.  Let’s take a quick look at something to tantalize your tastebuds a bit.

Creekside Cellars 2015 RoseCreekside Rose 2015

If you are a white wine drinker, this Rosé is the ideal introduction to also becoming a red wine drinker.  It is delicate and gossamer-like, with just a touch of those red phenolics (the flavors and tannins that red wine drinkers come to love).  Result?  Nothing but elegance and refreshing pleasure in this wine.

Don’t let the light color fool you, though.  There is a lot in this wine that the slight touch of rosé color does not suggest.  Its dominant aroma is of white peaches, with floral and other light fruit notes, perhaps even a reminder of melon in its flavor arsenal.

Spirited acids, fresh and cleansing, flush your palate, but pay attention to some of this wine’s hidden flavors.  For example, raspberry notes on the finish give you the hint of its red fruit origin and this becomes its final song.

A finely-spun wine like this one has more complexity than it at first presents.  Concentrate and it will release its gentle pleasures.  It bridges the gap between white and red and in doing so, widens its appeal to give a liveliness to more robust appetizers — an excellent introduction to a red meat meal.

Yes, it’s clean, but not so clean that the cleanliness strips the flavors.  It surprisingly retains a touch of the grape’s tannins.  Now you have been introduced to what red wines are about and want to give you.  But don’t rush off to the reds.  Enjoy the charming details of this doorway into wine’s red world.

Rating:  89

Emotional Rating?  The more you concentrate, the more it will stimulate your emotions.

Availability:  From the winery.

“#JustDrinkPink,” they say. CHEERS to this Rosé!

Creekside Cellars Rose’ 2014

Creekside Cellars 2014 RoseWhen winemakers decide to make a rosé, is it because they cannot make up their minds whether to make a white or a red wine?  Are they hedging their bets or sitting on the fence unable to decide?  Do some just settle for betwixt or between?

Well, I must confess, some seem to have been “settling for just making a rosé” because their product doesn’t arouse much pleasure in me at all.  The wine these winemakers end up with does not say anything except, “By the way look at my color.  Am I not pretty!”

A rosé should be a wine with a clear goal.  And that goal should declare itself the moment it reaches your palate.  This one from Creekside Cellars in Evergreen, Colorado does!  “I’m fresh like a an unbroken foal, lively and spirited like a energetic child.  I’ll lift your spirit, burst on your palate with invigorating citrus scented acids, and I’ll surprise you!” it declares.

What’s the surprise?

It’s almost half and half Mourvedre and Cinsault, departing from the common blend of Grenache and Cinsault that the Provence region of France has typically used as a rosé blend.  Mourvedre is the surprise; Cinsault is expected.  In this Creekside version, none of the Mourvedre’s gaminess or herby character comes through due to a carefully managed time on the skins.  On the nose, the milder aroma of strawberry (not yet fully ripe), mild citrus notes, and a touch of lavender make for a very attractive introduction to the wine.  But this is a wine that really waits to declare itself on the palate — vibrant and bursting with reminders of roses. Yes, floral notes and a more dominant display of strawberries.  Then it’s on to a very refreshing finish with delicately flavored acids and oh, such a cleanness.  Summer, this is your wine.  Own it!

Rosé wines are not a modern fad.  French rosés have been famous for a long time, from the common Rosé d’Anjou or the more sophisticated Cabernet d’Anjou, made from Cabernet Franc, to the characterful Tavel or the many lighthearted Provence rosés.  This one is more like a rosé from Provence, but with the crispness of Colorado’s high mountain air.  Load up with this wine for a summer dance on your palate that will reward your lighthearted senses.

Rating:  88-89

Emotional rating:  As high as a vibrant rosé can take you.

Available from the winery.

You’ll find many great Colorado wines described in my books, “Experiencing Colorado Wine, Volume 1 – The Dry Red Wines ” and “Experiencing Colorado Wine, Volume 2 – The Whites and Rosés.”  Volume 1 also provides descriptions of the pairing of several Colorado wines with a great recipes by great Colorado chefs.

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