Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tasting Notes: Rosé Wines and Staff Picks at Sherlock’s

“If you’re a dude drinking pink wine, you’d better be prepared to take some crap!”

Those words, spoken by one of our fellow wine taster’s school colleagues, gives us an idea of how the infamous pink stuff is still viewed by many people. Lettie Teague, one of my favorite Food & Wine Magazine authors, called it “wine with a guilt trip attached” in her May 2006 article. In that article, she also noted that of three dozen rosé wines she tried for the article (I want her job!), she only liked a few of them. This tends to be my experience as well. For me, the ideal rosé is neither too sweet nor too dry, but also not syrupy. Many wine makers will try to get so far away from the white zinfandel that they end up going too dry.

In spite of the pink wine’s iffy reputation, the tasting was quite crowded, and we ended up sitting outside. Luckily it wasn’t too hot or too humid, so it was comfortable other than the biting flies that seemed to have found the patio. They disappeared after dark. Even the band was good and not too loud for us to be able to talk. Jess and Daphne, who now seems to be the assistant wine pourer for the tastings, were kept quite busy. Jess did a great job of putting together an interesting list with rosé wines from all over the world.

The wines:

2005 Wine by Joe Jose’s Rosé, Oregon:
Blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Syrah
Strawberry nose, a little too dry; Hubby described it as “cough syrup,” which doesn’t really say anything about the wine, it’s just one of his most hated substances (you should hear him complain when he has a cold -- the medicine is worse than the cough!)
Rating: Okay

2005 Chrismont La Zona Rosato Mezzanotte, King Valley, Australia:
50% Sangiovese, 25% Barbera, and 25% Marzemino
This one had a pretty color. The nose was somewhat astringent and off-putting, and the wine started off-dry with mild fruit, but then went more floral as it opened up. The other person doing the tasting and I agreed that we liked it better as we went along.
Rating: Good

2004 Château Bouissel, Fronton, France:
50% Negrette, 20% Cab Franc, 20% Syrah, and 10% Gamay
This one had a citrus-peach nose with a hint of smoke. It was complex and dry with an acidic finish. It also had floral notes after a while.
Rating: Good

2006 Borsao Rosé Wine, Campo de Borja, Spain:
100% Garnacha
Berry nose, sharp at first, but well-balanced
Rating: Very Good

2006 Monte Volpe Sangiovese Rosato, Mendocino, California:
This one had a little more residual sugar and was what I want my rosé to be. The web site says that it should have “soft strawberry and cranberry,” but I also got some stone fruit. I agree with the “dry, acid finish” descriptor. I would be happy sipping this one on my back patio.
Rating: Very Good/Excellent

2006 Del Rio Vineyards Rosé Jolee, Rogue Valley, Oregon:
90% Muscat, 5% Malbec, and 5% Syrah
This one is a little “frizzante” and is definitely a dessert wine. It has flavors of apricot and peach and finishes like a vanilla liquer.
Rating: Very Good

Hubby didn’t even do the tasting other than taking one or two sips of mine, and we couldn’t get our friend the Scot to come out to JavaMonkey at all. Perhaps they were concerned about aspersions being cast on their manhood if they drank pink wine. I think they missed out, at least on the last three.

Yesterday, I poured for the free Saturday tasting at Sherlock’s. The theme was “Staff Picks,” and the staff actually admitted to which ones they picked. This one was fun because of the variety of wines.

Warner picked the 2007 Burgans Albarino Rias Baixas, from Galicia, Spain. It had an orange blossom nose and followed through with the floral character on the palate. We got a few wrinkled noses from tasters who decreed it to be “too dry,” but I thought it was good.

Don chose the 2006 Anton Bauer “Rosenberg” Gruner Veltliner. I like these Austrian whites. This one is balanced with floral, mineral, and apple with a little spice on the end.

Of course Michael came up with something interesting. He put the 2005 Kiralyudvar Tokaji Sec from Hungary on the list. I’d never had Hungarian wine, so this was a treat. Normally Tokaji is a dessert wine, and this one definitely had the “chewy” texture you’d expect for a sweeter wine, and it wasn’t too dry with flavors of earth and honey. According to the description it had, “racy acidity.” I would definitely describe this one as "daring," perhaps to be drunk while watching a James Bond marathon.

Simone went with the 2007 Sofia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Rosé. I found this one to be a nicely balanced rosé with raspberry and vanilla, but also some spice. This one was easy to suggest as a “girls’ night in” wine. It was also one of the favorites of the tasting, both because of the wine and the pretty bottle.

I didn’t like Paul’s pick, the 2004 J. Sanders Bourgogne Rouge when I approached it as a pinot noir, but when I rethought it as a classic burgundy, it got better. It’s definitely old world, and it’s very acidic with cherry and berry. It got mixed reviews from the tasters. It definitely wanted food, perhaps a nice coq au vin.

Finally, Angie’s selection, the Rancho Zabaco Heritage Vine Zin, was one that I wanted to pour as, “one for me, one for you.” It’s a big zinfandel, almost inky in color, and fruity and spicy and a little smoky. I believe it’s on the wine list at Ted’s (couldn’t confirm because their wine/beer list isn’t online), and for good reason. This wine is great on its own and really great with big red meats. A bottle of it came home with us and with many others who tasted it.

The surprise selection came from the Sherlock’s fridge courtesy of Warner. It was the 2006 Jorge Ordonez & Co Malaga dessert wine, which is 100% Moscatel. It’s good for Georgia because it’s all peach. At $21.99, it’s a good price for a dessert wine. I was surprised that Hubby liked it.

I like pouring for the Sherlock’s tastings because of the perks (10% off that day’s purchases and a card for $80 off a class after pouring for six of them, and I get to sip wine all afternoon), but mostly because it’s fun to watch people try wine and to be reminded that everyone’s palate is different. This particular lineup had something for just about everyone.

Coming this week: Random thoughts on summer desserts and review of Food 101


Natalie MacLean said...

Great blog! I’d love to hear your suggestions for wine and food pairings for my online matching tool:


Editor of Nat Decants Free Wine Newsletter

Author of Red, White and Drunk All Over

Cecilia Dominic said...

What a fun website! We frequently ask, "what would you have with this?" when we taste, so I'll let you know.