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VARIETAL ROSÉ and VIN GRIS

May 13, 2002 • WestAmerica Bank

A line of nine rosés.Beautiful! Had we chosen any other wines, either reds or whites, we couldn't possibly have assembled a flight with as much pleasure for the dollar. Our panel agreed that, not only did this group of wines look lovely, it was also pure joy to drink them -- one of our most thoroughly enjoyable tastings. Despite a range of colors, styles, flavors and sugar and acid levels, nearly all were quite delicious, including a "home made" ringer. A clear favorite did emerge from "Down Under" the flight. Our local scholarly wine, made by students at CSUF, was a solid second. These top rated wines had something in common: a little dose of white varietal was included in their blends. All wines but one retail for under US$20 and four can be had for less than US$10. Assorted cheeses, crackers and fruit were fine accompaniments, but I look forward to enjoying a couple of these lovelies with roasted chicken and fruit salsa.

 

( some of the bottles mysteriously disappeared before their portraits could be taken, so we have substituted other images )

Brand Varietal / "Type"
Vintage,
Appellation, Vineyard

TASTING NOTES: Color; aroma; flavor; body;
balance; finish. Alcohol. Varietal composition
(if known). Summary. ($ paid)

Wines are considered Equal Quality
Within Categories of Recommendation
(Listed Alphabetically by Brand)

consensus terms appear in bold
(possible flaws? are in brackets)
* indicates a second or third party
WEBSITE

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Charles Melton "Rose of Virginia" label.Charles Melton 2001 "Rose of Virginia" Barossa Valley, Australia

Transparent dark cranberry, raspberry sherbet color - darkest of the flight; fresh, bold, bright red cherry, strawberry, Gamay-like fruit with floral, rose petal, sweet pea and spicy caraway, peppermint aromas; lots of fruit with red raspberry, cherry, citrus flavors; light body; crisp, slightly tart balance; long, mouthwatering finish. 11.5% alcohol. (34% Shiraz, 28% Grenache, 18% Pinot [Noir?], 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Riesling). Lovely to look at, lovely to touch, lovely to taste; Rose of Virginia was clearly the Belle of this Ball. ($14) WEBSITE

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Fresno State
2001 "Rosé" California

Clear, bright, dark pink color; very clean, very fruity, perfumed and floral, berries, citrus, grapefruit aromas; slightly sweet, juicy, fresh, fruity, strawberry flavors; buttery feel, slightly rich body; great balance, sweet and tart; pleasant, crisp, lingering finish. 14.5% alcohol. A blend of 35% Zinfandel, 30% Barbera, 25% Syrah, 5% super-cold-fermented Chardonnay, 2.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Muscat Canelli and .5% Orange Muscat. This is an excellent wine with many elements and universal appeal. "Just delicious! I would drink this with any of my friends , on the porch, in the backyard, anywhere ..." says Bob. ($7) BEST BUY WEBSITE

Williams-Selyem logo.Williams-Selyem
2001
"Vin Gris of Pinot Noir"
Russian River Valley

Clear, very pale, straw, peach, cream color; floral, peach, pear and yeasty, buttery aromas with faint off-ester that airs out after a few seconds (ethyl acetate?, swampy?); soft, off-dry, fresh, but subtle vanilla, peach and fruit flavors; smooth, rich mouthfeel, medium body; excellent balance, crisp (one taster thought "too sweet"); pleasant, lingering finish with a faint bit of heat. 13.2% alcohol. 100% Pinot Noir. One taster thought this had a Marsannne-Viognier-Rhône-like quality. ($17) WEBSITE

RECOMMENDED

Chateau Routas "Rouviere" label.Chateau Routas
2000 "Rouviere"
Appellation Controlée Coteaux Varois

Clear, pale peach, coppery salmon color; light, delicate apricot, peach, pear, lemon, or citrus fruit with minerals, wood shavings, yeast in the aroma; quite dry, very light grapefruit, "flat" Champagne or "tea" flavors; soft, rich body; lightly tart balance; faint bitterness in the long finish. 12.5% alcohol. (40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 30% Cinsault). Very light in the fruit department, yet complex with minerally. invigorating flavors that many tasters found refreshing. ($9) WEBSITE

Fife "Redhead Rose" label.Fife
2001 "Redhead Rosé"
Mendocino

Slightly hazy, pale cranberry, strawberry color; ripe tomato aroma with burnt, charcoal, heavy oak and toast elements and a subtle, but lingering barnyard presence (rubber?, skunky?, H2S?); soft, fruity, complex, pleasant flavors; body; good balance (flabby?); soft, somewhat lingering toasty finish. 14.2% alcohol. A blend of Carignan, Sangiovese and Syrah (percentages undisclosed). Easy and light to drink, although initial aromas are rather aggressive, slightly off-putting. Drink well-chilled. ($13) WEBSITE

Antonio's homemade rose label.(home made)
1998 "Antonio's Rosé"
(Modesto, Cowell Ranch)

Clear, light burnt orange, coppery, almost caramel color; overripe, maderized, caramelized, sherry, nutty, earthy and alcoholic aromas; sweet, buttery, spicy, oxidized flavors have ponderous fruit, but lack freshness; soft, heavy, full body, rich mouthfeel; soft balance (low acid?, flabby?); faint tannin and bitterness, definite heat in the finish. 14.2% alcohol. 100% Sangiovese. This wine is very unusual; Bob (designated poet-wino) says, "tastes like David Lynch made it - shows a dark side, but from a fresh perspective." (not for sale) WEBSITE n/a

Saintsbury "Vincent Vin Gris" label.Saintsbury
2001 "Vincent Vin Gris"
Carneros

Clear, dark bright cherry red color; tight, cranberry, raspberry fruit, Beaujolais-like aroma, hint of oak; fruity, but not fresh, cherry-berry and melon, slightly buttery, earthy flavors; light to medium body; quite tart balance; finishes slightly hot, faintly bitter. 13.5% alcohol. 100% Pinot Noir. Had we not known the parameters of the theme, this could easily have been mistaken for real Beaujolais. Alcohol interfered slightly with the flavors here, so this one is best drunk with food. ($10) WEBSITE n/a

TASTED

NOT RECOMMENDED

Bonny Doon "Vin Gris de Cigare" label.Bonny Doon
2000 "Vin Gris de Cigare"
California

Pale, burnt orange, coral, dark peach color; light, pear, orange peel, melon, candy apple, tomato and fresh floral aromas with a slightly smoky, burnt note (SO2?); dry, slightly oxidized, somewhat "washed-out", lacking in fruit flavor; rich, round, buttery, velvety body; slightly tart balance; finish is a little rough, hot and bitter. 12.8% alcohol. Varietal blend includes grenache, syrah, mourvedre, and cinsault; the 2001 vintage "features a substantial volume of the white grape marsanne." Perfectly drinkable, but not very enticing or exciting; was probably much better six months ago. ($8) WEBSITE

Tablas Creek Rose label.Tablas Creek
2000 Rose
Paso Robles ESTATE

Burnt orange color; burnt strawberry, "old root beer", "old fermentation", pungent, smoky, oaky aromas are not at all inviting; green, sour fruit, oak and cardboard, filter-pad flavors; body; very tart balance; stemmy, bitter tannins; hot, alcoholic finish. 14.1% alcohol. (52% Mourvedre, 26% Grenache, 22% Counoise). This wine is so overblown, it is just plain nasty! The winemaker must have been smoking big cheap-o cigars and eating limburger to let this one get so far over-the-top; and then, they must have been drinking grappa by the bucketful in order to screw up the courage to price it! ($29) WEBSITE


This Panel included Regulars Deanna, Bob, Jim, Betsy and Steve and Guest Antonio
About Rosé

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