Why aren't rosés taken more seriously?

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Why aren't rosés taken more seriously?

Postby SteveG » Sun Aug 10, 2008 4:28 pm

I don't mean by wine-appreciators, this is obvious -- there are too few around which deserve to be taken seriously.

I mean by winemakers. Considering that some white wines have a noticeable amount of tannins, and some reds are so pale that they barely qualify...and continuums such as astringent dry to candy sweet, airy light to bowl-me-over full (for example) are well attended with respected wines...why not the middle ground between red and white?
I am inspired to ask by sipping a glass of Lopez de Heredia Tondonia Rose, a pretty serious and accomplished wine (and at the moment my favorite rose, by a long way), but even LdH obviously doesn't take it too seriously when comparing bottlings to their red and white selections. Given roses' considerable ability to pair tastefully with chicken, veal, salmon and difficult cuisines such as Thai and Indian, and the possible range of dryness and sweetness, I wonder why more of an effort is not made?
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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Ian Sutton » Sun Aug 10, 2008 4:39 pm

IMO the reason may be due top there being a ready volume market for fruity, semi-sweet versions, but not enough for a really serious Rose - plus (and I'm no winemaker) perhaps it's harder to build complexity from the first lot of free-run juice (that is one way of making Rose).

How to make a serious Rose? Possibly by blending a suitably matched pair of red / white grapes (the other method I'm aware of)... and I suppose we already have it in Champagne.

Open question - which red/white grapes might forumites think would match & provide potential for a serious Rose wine? Is it the subtle reds like Pinot / Nebbiolo? ... and with what whites?

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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Steve Slatcher » Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:11 pm

Ian, there are several ways of making rosé.
1) Break, or lightly crush black grapes, allow to macerate and collect free-run juice
2) Lightly press black grapes
3) Ferment black grapes on the skins, but pull out the skins befoer long
4) Mix red and white wines
5) Post-process red wine to remove tannins and colour.

4 is banned in Europe for quality wines (apart from Champagne) so I would presume that it is regarded as a bad way of making rosés - no idea why.

I don't see any fundamental reason why rosés should not be made as serious wines. Accidents of history and fashion were to blame I'd think. The same reason why German wines once as highly regarded as Claret, but are now taking a back-seat.

This is pure speculation, but I am guessing that rosés got off to a bad start because cheap peasant wine would be pink or grey. They would often be made from the grapes to hand, which would be a mixture of white and black. And even if they were all black, considerable effort would be required to make sure the grapes were properly ripe and all the colour was extracted. Thus deep colours (or crystal clear) would become associated with quality wine and seen as desirable. IOW deep red wine fetched more money because it was more difficult to make, and perhaps because it didn't spoil as easily - not necessarily becasue it tasted better. It was common practice for merchants to add colour to add value to their wines.

Actually the bit about grey peasant wines is not speculation - given time I could probably find a reference for that - the speculation bit is how that came to tarnish the reputation of rosés.
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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Bill Hooper » Sun Aug 10, 2008 7:06 pm

Ah, but check out THIS nonsense:

http://www.chateaudesclans.com/index.html

72 Euros for a bottle of Provencal Rose? Right!

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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby James Roscoe » Sun Aug 10, 2008 10:17 pm

Some serious rosés were drunk here.
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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Victorwine » Sun Aug 10, 2008 11:18 pm

I would echo the thoughts of others, there are quite a few winemakers who take rosés very serious, especially those who harvest their reds for the specific purpose of producing rosé wines.

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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:14 am

We recently had a very successful Open Mike Rose here and one of my faves was the Chinon from B Baudry. Who would have thought a 100 % Cab Franc would have produced such a memorable wine?
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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:27 am

Wonder if that Edmunds guy would have an opinion on this?

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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Rahsaan » Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:42 am

Bill Hooper wrote:Ah, but check out THIS nonsense:

http://www.chateaudesclans.com/index.html

72 Euros for a bottle of Provencal Rose? Right!

-Bill


Yes, and apparently they're not yet making money on it and everyone looks forward to the day when prices increase due to demand from the Rich In the Know.
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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby David Creighton » Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:44 am

well, how about a slightly contrarian position? my idea is that 'serious rose' is almost a contradiction. rose should be delicious and fun. AND i don't mind spending good money - up to about $20 for delicious and fun. additionally i think there are actually too many roses out there that do take themselves too seriously - are too dark and too heavy. i found a good fresh bordeaux clairet when i was in paris. i liked it; but it just isn't a good chinon or sancerre rose. there is one pretty serious rose no one has mentioned - rose des ricys. i've only had a couple and found them interesting; but can't tell if i would want to drink them regularly - probably not in preference to loire or provence.

another aside. there seem to be two schools of thought about tavel rose: either it is the best in the world, or the most overrated(my view) - way too alcoholic to be fun.

IMO one big problem is that rose is produced not as an original intent but as a by-product of something else; and that it is this that lowers the quality. i know people who produce rose from the grapes they cut off in mid-late season to improve the quality of the remaining red grapes. and many people release a rose from juice they pull off of tanks of fully ripe red wine grapes. this latter method can work well enough in loire and other cool climate areas if the juice is pulled off early enough; but rarely in warmer regions.

so, as i say, a slightly contrarian view.
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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Thomas » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:33 pm

David Creighton wrote:well, how about a slightly contrarian position? my idea is that 'serious rose' is almost a contradiction. rose should be delicious and fun. AND i don't mind spending good money - up to about $20 for delicious and fun. additionally i think there are actually too many roses out there that do take themselves too seriously - are too dark and too heavy. i found a good fresh bordeaux clairet when i was in paris. i liked it; but it just isn't a good chinon or sancerre rose. there is one pretty serious rose no one has mentioned - rose des ricys. i've only had a couple and found them interesting; but can't tell if i would want to drink them regularly - probably not in preference to loire or provence.

another aside. there seem to be two schools of thought about tavel rose: either it is the best in the world, or the most overrated(my view) - way too alcoholic to be fun.

IMO one big problem is that rose is produced not as an original intent but as a by-product of something else; and that it is this that lowers the quality. i know people who produce rose from the grapes they cut off in mid-late season to improve the quality of the remaining red grapes. and many people release a rose from juice they pull off of tanks of fully ripe red wine grapes. this latter method can work well enough in loire and other cool climate areas if the juice is pulled off early enough; but rarely in warmer regions.

so, as i say, a slightly contrarian view.


An interesting viewpoint, especially that part about what rose should be: interesting and fun. To me, that's what wine should be.

Uninteresting and boring just never got 100 points from me ;)
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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby David Creighton » Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:03 pm

actually 'delicious and fun'. there really are 'serious' wines - both white and red - wines that are comtemplative, complex and more - not a huge number of course - more that try and fail. that was the original point. if both ends of the spectrum can be serious, why can't the middle, viz rose? my answer is: i don't know but i'm fine with it that way.
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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Ryan M » Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:04 pm

Perhaps it is because, or it can at least be argued, that everything that would make a rose truly serious is already done better by reds? This isn't a statement against rose - I love good rose in fact, but as some other folks have noted, rose has a different purpose. If nothing else, a rose should be at least somewhat lighter than a red, and more refreshing. In my mind, rose that isn't refreshing, or that sits too heavily on the palate, fails, because they don't usually have enough stuffing to back them up. And that is a restraint imposed by definition - if they don't have as much skin contact, they simply do not have the same level of extract. I'll go so far as to say that, if you tried to desribed what you would do to a rose to make it a more serious wine, you'd probably say more tannic stucture and more fruit extract, in which case you'd be describing a light-bodied red. Perhaps because of the very constraint of how they are made, they simply do not have the potential for greatness, and so winemakers don't feel like the extra attention is necesary?

Also, could it be (this is just blind speculation) that its not so much that the market prefers semi-sweet blush, but rather that some winemakers are trying to distance themselves from the vulgarity unfairly attached to rose because of blush?
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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Thomas » Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:57 pm

Ryan Maderak wrote:Perhaps it is because, or it can at least be argued, that everything that would make a rose truly serious is already done better by reds? This isn't a statement against rose - I love good rose in fact, but as some other folks have noted, rose has a different purpose. If nothing else, a rose should be at least somewhat lighter than a red, and more refreshing. In my mind, rose that isn't refreshing, or that sits too heavily on the palate, fails, because they don't usually have enough stuffing to back them up. And that is a restraint imposed by definition - if they don't have as much skin contact, they simply do not have the same level of extract. I'll go so far as to say that, if you tried to desribed what you would do to a rose to make it a more serious wine, you'd probably say more tannic stucture and more fruit extract, in which case you'd be describing a light-bodied red. Perhaps because of the very constraint of how they are made, they simply do not have the potential for greatness, and so winemakers don't feel like the extra attention is necesary?

Also, could it be (this is just blind speculation) that its not so much that the market prefers semi-sweet blush, but rather that some winemakers are trying to distance themselves from the vulgarity unfairly attached to rose because of blush?


Ryan,

A reasonable response--until you forgot to define, "greatness." That's a word applied to wine that I'm willing to bet has more definitions than there are methods to produce rose.
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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Bill Spohn » Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:06 pm

Aren't all red Burgundies really rosés....? :twisted:

We try a bunch of rosés, often domestic, every summer to find what will serve as house wine (there is a lot of variability, at least in Canadian rosés with one vintage excellent and the next flaccid or made with too much RS).
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Re: Why aren't rosés taken more seriously?

Postby Daniel Rogov » Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:32 pm

I would suggest that with the exception of rosés from Champagne, these are not wines that are meant to be taken seriously. 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 of course 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 (again 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. Measured not in terms of scores but in terms of pleasure - not to be denied, but to be taken "seriously"? Me doubts that.

As to defining a great wine, I agree with Thomas....many, many definitions. My own completely subjective offer: A truly great wine is one that twenty-five years after drinkng it, you will remember the aromas and flavors of the wine, the sensations it imparted as you tasted it, where you drank it, the person with whom you shared it, the dishes you ate with it, and, if it was at a restaurant, probably the name and face of the waiter who served it. That, my friends, is "great".

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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Ryan M » Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:51 pm

Thomas wrote:
Ryan,

A reasonable response--until you forgot to define, "greatness." That's a word applied to wine that I'm willing to bet has more definitions than there are methods to produce rose.


Defining 'greatness' is a whole other discussion, and I think the best you could do is to make a list of qualities that might qualify a wine for greatness, or at least might be indications that a wine is 'truly great.' With the caveats that just having those would not necesarily be sufficient, and that not having them would not necesarily be exclusive (which is to say, such a list would be mostly pointless). But I would say that one indespensible requirement for greatness is ageworthiness - to be great a wine must be able to prove itself over time. And it is there that rose (other than Champagne) simply doesn't make the cut.

And although scores are a vulgar thing, any wine that is going to qualify for greatness is going to be a wine that people will acclaim as worthy of at least 95 points. And no [non-Champagne] rose will ever do that.
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Re: Why aren't rosés taken more seriously?

Postby Cliff Rosenberg » Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:34 pm

Leaving aside Champagne and light reds like Trousseau and Poulsard, I think there are at least a handful of very serious rosés. The Lopez de Heredia that Steve started us off with is a terrific example. Chateau Simone and the Domaine de la Bellivière also come to mind. I wonder to what degree experimenting with grape varieties poses a problem. Do the dominant red varieties produce the best rosé? I'm not wild about red Pineau d'Aunis, but Bellivière's Les Giroflées is a thing of beauty.
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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Steve Edmunds » Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:21 pm

Mike Filigenzi wrote:Wonder if that Edmunds guy would have an opinion on this?


I have some thoughts, and the first one is that, like so many things related to wine (or so many other things), it's not a simple matter. For example, there is an AOC that is dedicated to rose: Tavel, in which only a rose can use the name, and the permitted varieties include both reds and whites. And the best of them can age stunningly well, and become breathtakingly lovely wines. Yet, as has been pointed out, rose is so often about being delicious and fun. Also cold and plentiful, in a Southern venue.
I'd venture to say that the roses that give the most pleasure ("serious" or otherwise) are made with the same care that goes into the most "serious" red and white wines; if you're gonna do it and make it work, doing it right is the best approach.
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Re: Why aren't rosés taken more seriously?

Postby Thomas » Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:56 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:A truly great wine is one that twenty-five years after drinkng it, you will remember the aromas and flavors of the wine, the sensations it imparted as you tasted it, where you drank it, the person with whom you shared it, the dishes you ate with it, and, if it was at a restaurant, probably the name and face of the waiter who served it. That, my friends, is "great".

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Rogov


Daniel,

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Re: Why aren't roses taken more seriously?

Postby Thomas » Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:25 pm

Steve Edmunds wrote:
Mike Filigenzi wrote:Wonder if that Edmunds guy would have an opinion on this?


I have some thoughts, and the first one is that, like so many things related to wine (or so many other things), it's not a simple matter. For example, there is an AOC that is dedicated to rose: Tavel, in which only a rose can use the name, and the permitted varieties include both reds and whites. And the best of them can age stunningly well, and become breathtakingly lovely wines. Yet, as has been pointed out, rose is so often about being delicious and fun. Also cold and plentiful, in a Southern venue.
I'd venture to say that the roses that give the most pleasure ("serious" or otherwise) are made with the same care that goes into the most "serious" red and white wines; if you're gonna do it and make it work, doing it right is the best approach.


For the record, I don't care whether or not rose wines are "great" or 95 pointers (I don't care whether or not any wine is a 95 pointer, but that's another story).

My idea of greatness in wine is immediate: if the wine I am consuming makes me want to keep consuming it, it's a great wine to me right at that moment. Who knows, I could get hit by a large cask the next day and never get to taste all those other "great" wines ;)

Seriously, I do think that we take this analysis thing to extremes.
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Re: Why aren't rosés taken more seriously?

Postby Bill Spohn » Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:05 pm

Some people seem to be proceeding on the theory that all wines can be rated up to 100 points.

I'm not a pointy head, but I'd disagree with that. I think that there has to be an absolute scale if one must use points.

For instance, there is no such thing as a 100 point Muscadet. Similarly (I would argue) there is no such thing as a 100 point Beaujolais, or Rosé, or Chianti, or Ruby Cabernet, or Carmenere, or (name your nominee).

Some varietals can simply attain heights that are not possible for others - such is life. It may not be FAIR that you can't flap your arms and fly or that there will never be a 100 point wine of a specific varietal, but so what - there is no law thst says there should be.
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Re: Why aren't rosés taken more seriously?

Postby Lou Kessler » Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:25 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:Some people seem to be proceeding on the theory that all wines can be rated up to 100 points.



Some varietals can simply attain heights that are not possible for others - such is life. It may not be FAIR that you can't flap your arms and fly or that there will never be a 100 point wine of a specific varietal, but so what - there is no law thst says there should be.


How about every varietal could attain 99 points? 98 points? Once you get into the idea that wines=points, why not 99 1/2 points? :roll: :roll:
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Re: Why aren't rosés taken more seriously?

Postby Thomas » Tue Aug 12, 2008 9:22 am

Bill Spohn wrote:Some people seem to be proceeding on the theory that all wines can be rated up to 100 points.

I'm not a pointy head, but I'd disagree with that. I think that there has to be an absolute scale if one must use points.

For instance, there is no such thing as a 100 point Muscadet. Similarly (I would argue) there is no such thing as a 100 point Beaujolais, or Rosé, or Chianti, or Ruby Cabernet, or Carmenere, or (name your nominee).

Some varietals can simply attain heights that are not possible for others - such is life. It may not be FAIR that you can't flap your arms and fly or that there will never be a 100 point wine of a specific varietal, but so what - there is no law thst says there should be.


Bill,

If a wine of a lesser value can never reach 100 points, how is that wine scored within its class? A flight of Muscadet is rated on what scale: 75 points, 85?

Of course, when you see which wines are rated by the 100-point king, it's perfectly clear that it is a 100-point CERTAIN wine scale, the wines deemed suitable for greatness as well as for gouging, and don't forget for gaming the consumer...
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