Rosé is the ultimate seasonal wine, with most bottles appearing in stores for just a few months of the year, leading to rampant overuse of the phrase "summer in a glass." I drink it all year round whenever I can find richer, fuller bodied versions like Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé, Southbrook Vineyards Cabernet Rosé 2009, Croteaux Merlot 3 Rosé 2009, or Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva Rosado Rioja 2000. The world of pinks is as diverse as the world of whites or reds, after all.
Still, spring and summer is when everyone loves rosé. Or so I thought until I invited a few coworkers to blind taste rosé with me and was met with little enthusiasm. I could only round up three, one who started us off by saying "I hate rosé," one who expressed ambivalence, and one who was surprised to find that we were actually taking notes. Well, reader, I converted them all, and I'll convert you too if you're similarly skeptical. Here's a roundup of eight 2010 rosés hitting stores now that appealed to all, wine geeks and former rosé haters alike. And no, not one of them is sweet!
- Prieure de Montezargues Tavel 2010 - A blend of 55% Grenache Noir and Blanc, 30% Cinsault, 13% Clairette, plus some Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan, and Bourboulenc makes a rich and concentrated rosé with rose petal, strawberry, raspberry, and sweet spice balanced with acidity. It was univerally liked by the tasters, with one noting that he'd like to try it with "a thick piece of vanilla cake." I would usually go for roast chicken or vegetables with Tavel, but who knows what I've been missing? (13.5% abv, $18.99)
- JM Raffault Chinon Rosé 2010 - This Loire rosé made with 100% Cabernet Franc turned off some tasters who found it a little too peppery, but it was one of my favorites for its well-intregrated mix of rich berry fruit and pepper spice, little snippets of orange zestiness, tart acid, and long finish. It'd rock with food. (12.5% abv, $16)
- Bedell Cellars Taste Rosé 2010 - A blend of 62% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc, 7% Syrah, and 4% Petit Verdot, this wine was packed with pink grapefruit and citrus aromas, rounded out by peach and strawberry on the palate. It was one taster's favorite by a mile. (12% abv, $18)
- Jean-Luc Colombo Cap Bleue Rosé 2010 - Jean-Luc Colombo is the sort of rock star winemaker that inspires controversy among people for whom wine is rock, but our tasters found this blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Mourvedre, and 20% Counoise just perfectly pleasant. It has aromas of rose petals, peaches, and berries that give the impression of sweetness though it's dry and crisp on the palate. It was one taster's overall favorite for its balance and food-friendly qualities. (12% abv, $11.99)
- Remy Pannier Rosé d'Anjou 2010 - This light bodied blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 30% Grolleau, 10% Gamay flung strawberries and cherries and white and green pepper right out at you, and that's probably why one taster named it his favorite. (10.5% abv, $11.49)
- Chateau de Roquefort Corail Cotes de Provence Rosé 2010 - This blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Vermentino, and Clairette smelling of sweet berry fruit and some citrus was highly tart on the palate. In a word, it's refreshing. It's also certified organic. (13% abv, $18)
- Mas de la Dame Rose du Mas Rosé 2010 - "The Women's Farm" makes a certified organic blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Cinsault with pronounced aromas and flavors of roses, peaches, strawberries, and herbs (lavender?). The perfumey quality turned off some tasters, while others (like me) loved the intensity. (12.85% abv, $14.99)
- Le Jaja de Jau Syrah Rosé 2010 - This 100% Syrah rosé was one taster's favorite for its balance of fruit and "bite," full of raspberries and strawberries and not too much else to complicate matters. "Jaja" is slang for everyday wine, after all. The screwcap is a bonus for picnic drinking (13% abv, $8.99)
"On the Bottle" is a column about wine and spirits appearing every Friday on the Martha Stewart Living Radio blog. Email your boozy questions and wine quandries to email@example.com and they'll be answered in a future post.