Pink, Dry, Acidic
Stylish in Bottle or Glass
Great with Food– Rose'.
Just like haiku, Rose' is simple and straightforward. As an oft misunderstood wine, it is avoided by many who expect it to be cloyingly sweet, like a White Zinfandel. But Rose' is a dry or sometimes off-dry wine made from red grapes. Because it doesn't spend much time soaking on the red skins, the wine retains only subtle coloration, ranging from pink to coral. White Zin and other sweet pinks are considered "blush wines". They start the winemaking process in the same way, but get plenty of added sugar in the form of sweetened grape juice at the end of the game, resulting in the product that many of us "experienced" wine drinkers want nothing to do with.
Not white/and not exactly red, 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wine and Food Pairing' calls Rose' a sommelier's dream. Its striking, dry acidity goes well with so many foods. With its lack of heavy tannins, it is a perfect food wine for those who prefer the flavor profiles found in red wine–when the meal calls for a white, and when the meal calls for a red, and you have white wine drinkers around the table, Rose' can do the job. You have to be careful, though, and if you can't do sweet, avoid off-dry examples-often only discovered through trial and error.
This weekend my friend Anne and I sampled Rose' from around the world: France (Ferme Julien, TJ $4.99), Spain (Marques de Cacera Rose, TJ $6.99), California (Sofia Rose, Costco $13) and Germany (Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rose, approx $13). All were 2010 vintage except Villa Wolf which was 2011. On Saturday night, we both agreed that we enjoyed the Ferme and the Sofia almost equally. I did a more in-depth pass at the wines on Sunday and found my strong preference to be the Sofia. Upon a solitary and concentrated observation, I found the Sofia to be much more balanced, while the Ferme was slightly out of whack on acidity and alcohol. Both had great floral aromas, and the Sofia was the only one of the four to have a strong scent of characteristic ripe strawberries; it was very easy to drink. The Marques de Cacera had too much alcoholic heat and a bitter taste at the finish, and the Villa Wolf was just too sweet for my palate. I'd say it had the best acidic profile, it was crisp/classically German, but was slightly overpowered with it's residual sugar component (also, at times, a classically German trait).
Here is a list of some of the aromas and flavors I found, as well as the varietals used in each wine:
Ferme (Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah)-Instensely aromatic, floral perfume, peaches, melon, toasted nuts
Sofia (Syrah, Grenache)-Ripe strawberries, nutty, touch of vanilla
Marques de Cacera (Tempranillo)-Lightly floral, light oak toast,
Villa Wolf (Pinot Noir)-citric odors, stone fruit, fragrantly floral
It was interesting to do some research and find that the Sofia is the only one to have received any critical accolade: 90 points from Wine Enthusiast as an Editor's Choice Wine. Also, based on the components of the different Rose' samples, I seem to prefer blends containing Syrah and Grenache…..keep an eye out for those in your purchasing-they might be consistent winners.
Let us all know if you have any great Rose' recs. xoxoSusan