This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Wednesday, May. 2, 2007 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20070502.php.
In the pink
As I've mentioned before, I'm not the greatest fan of pink wines, generally taking the position that rosé wine is a compromise between red and white and, like all compromises, gives away a little on either side.
But that being said, a good rosé can offer real drinking pleasure, and never more so than when spring and summer weather invite alfresco dining and lighter fare on the table.
I'm not talking about the popular but industrially-made sweetish "blush" wines here, but dry, crisp pink wines made around the world in the Mediterranean tradition of Provence, coastal Italy and Spain. Drunk slightly chilled, young and fresh, they may not be the most serious wines; but they rank high among the most refreshing wines.
Anyway, who wants to be serious all the time? It would be like a constant musical diet of Bach with never a break for Coltrane, John Lee Hooker or the Grateful Dead.
Which brings us around to one of my favorite wine makers, the musician, poet and philosopher Steve Edmunds of California's Edmunds St. John. In any rational world, crowds should be banging down the doors at Steve's Berkeley-based winery to taste his consistently balanced and earth-driven wines.
His lovely new pink wine, bearing his wacky "Bone-Jolly" label, a bad pun on "Beaujolais," offers lip-smacking testimony. Made from true Gamay Noir, the Gamay of Beaujolais, and inspired by an offbeat pink wine made by J.P. Brun, one of my favorite French producers, it ranks among the best rosés I've ever tasted.
Edmunds didn't make very much of it - there are just 340 twelve-bottle cases for us all to share. But his wines are fairly widely distributed, albeit in small allocations, around the U.S. and Canada, and at least to a limited extent in the UK and Japan. See my tasting report below for where-to-buy-it info.
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Edmunds St. John 2006 "Bone-Jolly" El Dorado County Witters Vineyard Gamay Noir Rosé ($18.99)
Clear and very attractive pink-rose color. Fresh strawberry and delicate floral scent; ripe strawberry flavor, dry and crisp, wrapped up with mouth-watering acidity. A wisp of tannic astringency becomes evident in the finish as the wine warms in the glass. Simply put, this is one of the most enjoyable rosés I've ever tasted. (April 25, 2007)
FOOD MATCH: Great with lighter fare from dinner salads to burgers and fries; I couldn't have asked for a better match with the tuna and shrimp over orzo dish featured in last week's Wine Advisor FoodLetter.
VALUE: The local price was two dollars above the $16 winery price, which is a bit spendy for a rosé. But what a rosé this is! I'm not complaining. In fact, I plan to pick up a couple more myself.
WHEN TO DRINK: It won't die in a few months, but part of the joy of this wine is the remarkable freshness that makes it such a delight for summer sipping. Drink it up this year, then hope Edmunds does it again next year.
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