As Mother Nature finally ushers in the spring season, my palate starts salivating at the release of 2012 rosés. Rosé offers more versatility than any other wine category. It can be produced from any black grape — pinot noir to tempranillo. Some offer rich color and full flavors. Others can be pale and supremely refreshing. The wines I like in my glass offer fragrant aromas, a dry palate and a zippy finish. They are rather appealing.
Yet, from now until October’s end, I’ll face the same question dozens of times, “You’re drinking rosé? How can I take you as a serious wine connoisseur?” I tend to aggressively and cursorily fire back with the notion that those who enjoy rosé have a finer appreciation of wine’s subtle nuances and thus have a more refined palate. It’s a defense mechanism against perceived attacks on my wine prowess and, perhaps, my manhood.
Many wine drinkers have memories of sweet white zinfandel that were the cause of so many college-sized hangovers. These memories have created a barrier of entry for detractors of rosé. The wines reviewed here offer little resemblance to the sins of past college experiences. Rather, they offer a portal to living your spring and summer from behind a rosé tinted glass. Be forwarned, a few of these wines have turned “serious” wine connoisseurs into rosé fans. Furthermore, rosé has been linked to numerous spontaneous backyard gatherings. If you stay late, there’s no telling what might happen.
But we’re still getting acquainted.
2012 Chateau Roubine Cru Classé Côtes de Provence
This classic style is produced from seven different grape varieties (mouvèdre, syrah, grenache, cabernet sauvignon, rolle, tibouren, and cinsault) all grown on estate in Provence region of France. Savory aromas of dried herbs with a distinct note of ash and fresh strawberries. The palate bursts with ripe strawberry and watermelon flavors. Shows medium weight and a lovely crisp finish with a touch of white pepper. (Eder Brothers)
2012 Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux de Provence
Luc and Lucienne Cartier have been organically farming this storied estate in Provence for decades. Their 2012 rosé is crafted from grenache, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and caringnan. It’s a juicy style with ripe cherry and raspberry fruit that pops on the palate with a lively acidity. There’s a soft touch of minerality and subtle notes of dried sage on a crisp but fine finish. (Michael Skurnik Wines)
2012 Chateau l’Argentier Rosé d’Armon
Elisabeth and Francois Jourdan craft this wine using aramon grapes grown on vines planted in 1957. Their estate is located in the Languedoc region of southern France. The Jourdan family has been running this estate since 1937. The aromas of dried prune, dark berry and almond are immediately intoxicating. The wine slips on the palate with dry strawberry fruit and luscious spice. Perhaps the most unique rosé I have had in some time. (Fine Terroir)
2012 Gobelsburg “Gobelsburger” Cistercien Rosé
Ask winemaker Michael Moosbrugger the blend for this wine and he’s likely to tell you, “85% zweigelt, 15% etcetera.” His estate is located in the Kamptal region of Austria. The freshest and most subtle of these selections, the wine exhibits faint notes of cherry and raspberry fruit with subtle mineral and slate character. Remarkably zippy finish, this wine is dangerously appealing. (Michael Skurnik Wines)
2011 Castellroig Rosat
The Castellroig brand is produced by family owned Finca Sabaté I Coca which was founded in 1985 by the Sabaté and Coca families. The grape for this rosé is tempranillo which in Penedès, Spain is known as ull de llebre. It’s the darkest and heaviest of these selections showcasing blackberry and stewed strawberry notes. Looke for baked fruit on the palate with hints of warm soft chocolate and a touch of smoke. There’s a sneaky silky texture on the finish that allows this to be ultra smooth. (Gathering Harvest)
2012 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Vin Gris of Pinot Noir
The Robert Sinskey Vin Gris has become one of my perennial favorites. Stunning salmon and bled rose petal color. Aromas of wild strawberry and pressed pear with a hint of white pepper. Medium bodied on the palate, it is breathtakingly refreshing with bright acidity and balanced fruit. This is crafted with 100% pinot noir from Los Carneros in California. There is not much of this wine to go around so if you can find this one, grab it. (T. Edward Wines)
Prices range from $12 to $35 per bottle. Connecticut distributor listed in parenthesis.
Peter Troilo is the managing director of Nicholas Roberts Fine Wines and has been in the wine business for 14 years. For more information, visit nicholasrobertsltd.com, petertroilo.blogspot.com or email [email protected]