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Tag Archives: rose wine

My lunch with Provence

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Provence roseRegular visitors here know how much the Wine Curmudgeon loves rose, and how much I want to share that enthusiasm with the rest of the wine world. Hence my excitement to to attend a Provence rose lunch this week, given that that Provence (located in southern France on the Mediterranean) is to rose what Napa Valley is to cabernet sauvignon and Burgundy is to chardonnay.

And I was not disappointed. Rose accounts for 80 percent of Provence’s production, and its producers have learned a thing or two in the 1,500 years they’ve been making it. The region’s grapes are cultivated specifically to make rose, and not to make something else where the rose is an afterthought. And there’s even a rose research center — call it the UC-Davis for pink wine.

Best yet, Provencal rose is still cheap, something that the lunch’s host, Wines of Provence, emphasized at every opportunity. Talk about being in pink wine heaven.

The best wines we had, and one of them wasn’t even rose (prices are suggested retail, which will probably be a couple of dollars less in the store):

Domaine Houchart Rose 2013 ($15, sample, 12.5%): One of the best roses I’ve ever had, with depth and a roundness that most pink wines at this price, no matter how well made, rarely have. Not too much fresh red berry fruit, crisp, and bone dry. Chill this, and you’ll never want another wine all summer.

La Vidaubanaise Le Provencal 2013 ($15, sample, 12%): A notch below the Houchart, but that’s hardly a criticism. More fresh red berries, nice acid balance, and even a little melon on the back. Another terrific value.

Chateau de Berne Terres de Berne 2013 ($20, sample, 13%): It speaks to the wine’s quality that I’m including it here, since it’s not $10. A flowery aroma, almost white fruit flavors, some spice (believe it or not), and so fresh it was hard to believe. Availability may be limited.

Rimaresque Cru Classe Rose 2013 ($24, sample, 13%): Rose for people who think they need to spend more than $10 for wine, with a rich mouth feel, minerality on the back, and a little more heft, given that cabernet sauvignon is one of the eight grapes in the blend.

Domaine Houchart Rouge 2011 ($15, sample, 14.5%): How a red wine with this much alcohol can be this light and enjoyable is apparently one of those things you pick up in 15 centuries of winemaking. A blend that shows off its grenache and carignan, with cherry fruit and some spiciness. Highly recommended, and don’t be afraid to chill it a bit.

Memorial Day and rose 2014

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Memorial Day and rose

One can never have too many roses.

The annual Memorial Day and rose post is one of the Wine Curmudgeon’s favorites, a post that has appeared every year since I started writing the blog. And why not? Rose is more popular than ever before (for which I will take some small credit), and it’s the quintessential great cheap wine: tasty and food friendly. It’s almost impossible to find a badly made $10 rose.

The blog’s rose primer discusses styles, why rose is dry, and how it gets its pink color. The blog’s rose category offers more suggestions, and the following will get you started for this year’s Memorial Day and rose extravaganza:

Bodegas Palacio Rioja Milflores 2013 ($11, purchased, 13.5%): Quality Spanish rose that overcomes goofy bottle hype — extolling the “fruit and flower-filled fields of Rioja” — to offer excellent value. Crisp and aromatic, with some cranberry fruit and even a little orange on the finish.

Penya Côtes Catalanes Rose 2012 ($9, purchased, 13.5%): One more in a long succession of solid, winning roses from the south of France, this from the Roussillion and made with mostly grenache. Look for some strawberry fruit, but also a stony finish.

Pedroncelli Dry Rosé of Zinfandel 2013 ($12, sample,13.2%): Another quality effort from Pedroncelli, with lots of juicy red fruit. Not as crisp as other roses or as it has been in the past, and made more in the style of the old Toad Hollow. Which is quite a compliment, actually.

Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2013 ($10, sample, 12.8%): This South African rose is another example of terrific $10 rose. It seems to have lots more strawberry fruit this year, though it’s still dry. But I’m guessing that much of that fruit will become more integrated in the wine as it ages in the bottle.

More about Memorial Day and rose:
Memorial Day and rose 2013
Memorial Day and rose 2012
Wine of the week: Alliance Loire La Clotiere Rose 2012
Wine of the week: Chateau de Campuget Rose 2012

Wine of the week: Georges Vigouroux Pigmentum Rose 2012

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Vigouroux Pigmentum rose 2012What better way to start the new year and the release of the 2014 $10 Hall of Fame than with a cheap and delicious rose? And from southwestern France, too, home of so much great $10 wine.

The Pigmentum ($10, purchased, 13%) is made with malbec, which gives it a style somewhere between a fruity, strawberry-ish New World rose and and the more traditional and tart French style. But it’s still balanced and food friendly, and well worth drinking again. In fact, in most years, it would have made the hall of fame. This year, though, given all the tremendous candidates, it had to wait. This, apparently, is not an uncommon problem with halls of fame.

The Pigmentum is made by a French wine company, Atrium Vigouroux, which specializes in cheap wine. The rose is for sale in Europe through their site (ah, the joys of unrestricted direct shipping) for 5 a bottle, and the company’s white blend (which I also like) is only
€4.90. Both work out to less than $8 a bottle. Is it any wonder that those of us who pay attention to these things still see the French wine model as worthy of admiration?

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