This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20130816.php.
A rose that's not a rose
"A rose is a rose is a rose," as Gertrude Stein once famously said. But is it? The other day, seeking to continue to build my growing relationship with dry rosé wine during an exceptionally beautiful summer, I dropped by my neighborhood wine shop in search of something pink.
Hey now! What's this? A classy-looking bottle with a modern-style label, a simple circle and a rectangle. The square label reads "Rosé" but the circle bears the French words "Gris Blanc." The liquid inside appears to be white, or more precisely a pale, transparent bronzy-copper, maybe showing just the faintest blush.
"Gris Blanc Rosé?" Even with my rusty tourist French, I know that means "Gray White Pink," which is just plain confusing.
I grabbed a bottle of this Gerard Bertrand 2012 "Gris Blanc" Vin de Pays d'Oc Rosé, took it home and showed it to my wife, turning the labels to the back so she couldn't make them out. She squinted at it suspiciously, figuring there was trickery afoot. "It looks like a white," she said. "Is it a rosé?"
It's hard to fool someone with a good eye.
I still say it looks like a white, though, and after a light chill and a quick crack of the sturdy screw cap, it poured out subtle and fresh, blending gentle floral aromas with a crisp, dry citric flavor and hints of "biscuit" and "cocoa" that made me think of a good Pinot-based Champagne.
There is a simple lesson here: A rosé doesn't have to be pink. A light wine made from dark grapes by extracting the color-bearing skins before they have had much time to "bleed" color into the wine, rosés can vary from deep crimson through shocking pink, bright salmon, pale orange or copper right down to the fainter rosy hues and even - as in this instance - a "white" wine barely perceptible as pink at all.
Back in the 1980s, when the idea of turning red Zinfandel, and, eventually, other red grapes, into "white" wine first took the marketplace by storm, the early entries were "white," and they were dry. It was only as the category gained economic steam that market pressure moved virtually all of its entries toward brighter pink colors and sweeter tastes and the "blush" craze was born.
Gerard Bertrand 2012 "Gris Blanc" Vin de Pays d'Oc Rosé takes back the white. It's an excellent wine and a very good value. You'll find my tasting report below.
Wine Focus: The Dog Days of Muscadet
Meanwhile, I'd like to invite you to catch up on Wine Focus, our monthly feature in the WineLovers Discussion Group, in which we're enjoying cool, crisp and refreshing Muscadet as our topic for August: The Dog Days of Muscadet.
You're welcome to join our wine enthusiasts as we discuss these intriguing, often "minerally" whites based on the Melon ("Meh-lawN") grape variety from near the mouth of the Loire Valley. The discussion topic begins here.
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VIP $1 Shipping Sale!
Because our readers are VIPs, you are invited to shop The California Wine Club's $1 Shipping Fall Wine Sale before it opens to the public on Aug. 19, 2013.
No membership is required to take advantage of savings of up to 57 percent off normal retail prices. Plus, you'll save up to $36 in shipping on every case.
The California Wine Club explores the dusty back roads of California's wine country seeking out tiny wineries handcrafting award-winning wines. The best of these limited-production gems are then shared with their members, along with Uncorked®, an insider's guide to the winery.
$1 Shipping Fall Wine Sale ends Sept. 30, 2013. Prices listed online are per bottle. Half, full and mixed cases are okay. Final order must be in increments of 6 or 12 bottles. Sale prices cannot be applied to previously placed orders and cannot be combined with other discounts. Some restrictions apply. Must be 21+ to order.
Today's Tasting Report
Gerard Bertrand 2012 "Gris Blanc" Vin de Pays d'Oc Rosé ($13.99)
Very pale, transparent bronze color, copper with the faintest pinkish hue. The label reads "Rosé" (and "Gris" and "Blanc," too); but I would have guessed it was a rich white. Light wildflower scent, more floral than fruity but very subtle and fresh. Crisp and fresh flavor, citrus and an odd, appealing "biscuity" and "cocoa" character that I associate with fine Pinot-based Champagne but never - until now - from a still Rosé. An appropriate 13 percent alcohol level. Fascinating, a fine food wine or summer sipper, and a very good value. U.S. importer: USA Wine West LLC, Sausalito, Calif. (Aug. 9, 2013)
FOOD MATCH: This will work nicely in just about any white-wine situation from chicken and fish to cheese and veggie dishes. It was excellent with an aromatic, not overly fiery Indian-style eggplant and okra curry,.
WHEN TO DRINK: I don't see it as a long-term ager, but it's drinking beautifully now, and its sturdy modern metal screwcap is likely to keep it in good shape under cool cellar conditions for at least a year or two.
VALUE: I am more than willing to pay this lower-teens price for a white - er, a rosé - of this quality.
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