This morning at 10 a.m. I attended a mini-tasting at the "headquarters" of Tel Aviv boutique importer
Giaconda, the tasting of seven newly imported rosé wines from the Loire, the Southern Rhone and Bordeaux. For a rare change, knowing that this was to be a small tasting, I did not spit but actually drank the wines I sampled and I did that for the pure pleasure of it and with the foreknowledge that immediately after the tasting I was on my way to a hearty brunch. A fine way to combine work and pleasure. My thanks to Anat and Rafaella of Giaconda for their courtesies.
As to rosé wines in general, we are in the midst of an long and sometimes meandering but interesting discussion on the WLDG side of the forum (that can be found at viewtopic.php?f=3&t=17650 ). In short, my take:
Rosé wines are never meant to be taken with too great a sense of seriousness. The entire goal of a good rosé is to sit comfortably on the palate, to make a refreshing quaffing wine, to provide something lighter and more frivolous than the so called "serious" wines. Rosé wines at their best should be entirely hedonistic - that is to say, they have no reason to give us pause to contemplate on their complexities, their futures or their age-worthiness. They are, in a sense wines to satisfy our sometimes need for short-term gratification and for out-and-out simple pleasures.
None of which is to say that such wines cannot be a delight. Nor does this say that such wines are not meant to be judged. It is, however, to say that (with the possible exception of a few rosé Champagnes) that no rosé wine has ever attained nor will one ever in the future attain a score of 95 or higher. Nor for that matter, have very many ever attained scores of 90. The simple truth of the matter is that a rosé wine that attains a score of 86-89 points is one that will offer a great deal of pleasure and in this too-too troubled world, pleasures that harm no-one can only be good things.
My tasting notes follow. I consider each of these good value for money. The wines can be ordered directly from the importer by phoning 03 6022746. For those not based in Israel, most of these wines are also available in France, the USA and the UK.
Domaine Mejan-Taulier. Rosé, Canto Perdrix, Tavel, Rhone, 2006: A blend of traditional Southern Rhone grapes (among those Grenache, Picpoul, Clairette, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Bourboulenc), light rose petal pink in color, showing a tempting array of cherry and raspberry fruits, those supported nicely by hints of chalk and stony minerals. Crisp, clean and refreshing. Drink now. NIS 67. Score 87. (Tasted 15 Aug 2008)
Chateau d'Aqueria, Rosé, Tavel, 2007: Rose petal pink with a glimmer of orange, a medium-bodied rose with a tempting floral and fruity nose and opening to show generous cherry, red currant and raspberry fruits. A blend of Grenache, Clairette, Picpoul, Mourvedre and Bourboulenc grapes, showing a nice hint of cigar tobacco on the surprisingly long and generous finish. Drink now. NIS 76. Score 88. (Tasted 15 Aug 2008)
Chateau Belle-Rive, Rosé, Loire, 2006: Made entirely from Cabernet Franc grapes, give this one a few minutes to open in the glass until the nose comes into its own and then shows appealing aromas of wild berries, heather and minerals. Ruby in color, showing generous wild berry and cassis flavours on a lightly spicy background. Crisp, lively and thoroughly refreshing. Drink now. NIS 63. Score 88. (Tasted 15 Aug 2008)
Chateau du Seuil, Rosé, Graves, Bordeaux, 2006: Fresh and lively, a rosé blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc developed (perhaps surprisingly) in barriques for a short while to add depth and a note of complexity. With its tantalizing hint of spicy oak the wine reveals fresh and dried berries and cherries, those along with hints of green apples and stony minerals. A more than usually muscular rosé that will go as nicely with small cuts of beef as with grilled chicken, fish and seafood.Drink now. NIS 63. Score 88. (Tasted 15 Aug 2008)
Domaine du Closel, Chateau des Vaults, Rosé, La Tentation, Cabernet d'Anjou, Loire, 2006: Categorized as off-dry but with only the barest hint of sweetness that makes itself felt, that given liveliness by fine balancing acidity. Made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, showing red berries, cassis and a charming little hint of watermelon, sits comfortably on the palate. Drink now. NIS 90. Score 88. (Tasted 15 Aug 2008)
Domaine le Couroulu, Rosé, Vin de Pays de Vacqueyras, Rhone, 2007: Orange-tinted pink in color, this simple but delightful little rosé blend of Merlot and Syrah shows cherry and raspberry fruits on a crisp background with just the barest hint of white pepper that floats in on the finish. Nothing complex here but oh, what a fun wine for a hot summer morning, afternoon or evening. Drink now. NIS 50. Score 86. (Tasted 15 Aug 2008)
Domaine le Couroulu, Rosé, Vacqueyras, Rhone, 2006: Near-orange in color, a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, distinctly medium-bodied but sits, almost floats on the palate to show off its raspberry, cherry and blackberry fruits, those with an appealing tannic hint backed up by notes of lead pencil and minerals. Fresh, with just enough complexity to grab our attention. Needs food. NIS 79. Score 89. (Tasted 15 Aug 2008)