Happy National Rosé Day! Let’s take a look at some of my top recommendations for those looking to actually “rosé all day”…
The Only Way to Saignée
The saignée method refers to those rosés created from red wine “by-product,” or the “free-run” juices made during the red winemaking process. During the fermentation of a red wine about 10% of the grapes’ juice is bled off, leaving a high ratio of skin contact to remaining juices — the saignée. The saignée is then fermented. The resulting rosés are often darker in color and richer in both taste and texture.
There’s a bit of controversy in the wine world about whether saignée created rosés are “real wines,” or just a cheap way for winemakers to use leftovers to make more money. Others argue that creating saignée wines are more environmentally friendly — no part of the grape goes to waste. Personally, I think it’s in the hands of the individual winemaker how they want to approach their saignée (if at all). Here are a few worth crossing the proverbial picket line for.
Grgich Hills 2016 Estate Rosé
The Grgich Hills Estate 2016 Rosé is made from 45% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 8% Zinfandel, 6% Petit Verdot, and 1% Gewürztraminer. Whoa, right? But this is no “kitchen sink” rosé — it actually makes “Bordeaux sense.” Think of this wine as a red blend first. In fact, you should because this particular rosé was made in the saignée method, using the free run juices of the blended grape varieties after hours of skin contact (hence it’s super pink hue). Read the full review.
Crux Winery GSM Rosé
Crux Winery 2015 GSM is made from 50% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 18% Mourvedre all from the Russian River Valley. The Crux rosé made in the saignee method utilizing the free run-off from the winery’s GSM red blend. The Crux expression of this rosé offers a softer, smoother texture. It’s also worth noting that all Crux wines are unfiltered and unfined which, in my opinion, is what also helps give the typically light-style white wine enough body to pair with a hearty meal. Read the full review.
I Didn’t Know You Could Rosé That Way
The most common method of creating a rosé is by the early pressing (often following an early harvest depending on the grape variety) of a red grape variety after a minimal amount of skin contact (usually less than 24 hours). This is commonly referred to as the “maceration method.” During maceration (the time spent with the skin), tannins (along with other phenolics) leach from the skins, seeds, and stems (if left on), contributing to the light pink color and of course the flavors and textures. So, really, any red grape can create rosé. Here are a few “less common” rosé varietals.
Tercero Wines 2016 Mourvèdre Rosé
On the palate this Mourvèdre Rosé hits with an initial tingle on the tongue and, I’m not going to lie, that tingle comes back at the end with a bit of a sour-ish-ness. Fruits found on the nose are found on the palate, but they’re muted, never overpowering the star of this rosé’s show: a light textural component that gives the wine a kind of funky, dusty aromatic. Read the full review.
Illahe Vineyards Rosé of Tempranillo
Despite the visual lightness, this rosé of Tempranillo is full bodied and textured. There’s a background essence of tropical fruits — peach, mango, lime and grapefruit zest. And yet the textural structure calls to mind something earthy — thick, green vegetative leaves like palm fronds. On the whole, this is quite a dry wine with a clean, solid finish. Read the full review.
Day Owl 2016 Rosé of Barbera
Flavors of this rosé are a journey, but a calm and subtle one. There’s a saltwater wateriness to it, and a constant background perfume of rosewater. And as you get to the pointy end, you may just find (if you’re paying close attention), some grit of the earth — like the little pieces of dirt left after a rainfall. The finish is a lingering tingle of refreshing acidity. An interesting mix of fresh and fruity, wet and rainy, and dirty earthy. Read the full review.
Passaggio Wines Tempranillo Rosé
On the palate, with its delicate acidity and watery-melon overtones, there’s an additional funk of dried pineapple rings. Hold the wine in your mouth, let it linger just a little too long. Keep it there, lips pinched, and exhale through the nose. I think there’s a bit of smoke in the back. Try it and tell me if I’m wrong. Read the full review. (And some “alternative tasting notes.)
How To Rosé like Back in the Day
Legend has it that most of the earliest red wines were actually closer to what we today call rosés. Most winemakers from the late BC through to medieval times pressed their grapes (usually by hand, feet, or squishing in a sack cloth) almost immediately after harvest, with very little maceration time. So, if you think about it, rosé is the oldest wine style there is. Kind of.
Winemaking in general really took off around 600 BC when the ancient Greeks brought their vines to France and founded the city of Marseille. Since then, the rosé wine produced in the southeastern Provence region of France has been deemed some of the highest quality. Though none of the wines listed below are Provençal wines, this is my modest nod to the Motherland of wine (France).
Chateau de Campuget 2015 Grenache-Syrah Rose
The most surprising — and for me the most enjoyable — part of this wine is how dry it is on the tongue. Those fruit aromas dangle in the back of the palate, while the tongue is engulfed in a crisp sea-breeze like freshness. The acid is medium — just enough to let you know fruit is present, but perfectly cuts through any natural sugars. The finish is a long, lingering one that makes you stop and think what other flavors you might find in the fun (and kind of funky) aftertaste. Read the full review.
Domaine Sainte Croix Cuvee Montures 2015 Rosé
Initial aromas are tropical, but swirl, and the fruits open up with a bit of creaminess lingering in the background. Take the nose to the top of the glass to find a beautiful floral bouquet with droplets of rain water scattered about the petals and leaves. On the palate this rosé is quite smooth, almost creamy, though still quite light and refreshing. Flavors are reminiscent of raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, all swirled together. The finish hits with a bang, salivating the tongue and cheeks and warming the chest. Full review will be featured 6/14 in conjunction with my Languedoc series.
Gérard Bertrand 2016 Cote des Roses
From the bottle, the Gérard Bertrand 2016 Cote des Roses emits a classic rosé bouquet of tropical fruits and light-pink petaled flowers. The wine settles into the glass with a pale pink hue and just a hint of peach. Initial aromas are filled with strawberries, watermelon, spray roses, fresh rain water and maybe a hint of something sweeter (a bigger whiff indicates a bit of bubblegum essence). Swirl, and release a few savory elements to the nose including lemongrass and grapefruit zest. Full review will be featured 6/14 in conjunction with my Languedoc series.
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