Today's Sponsor:
 French Wine Explorers
Join Robin Garr in the Rhone in June!

In This Issue
 When rosé gets serious Pink wine isn't just for summer sipping any more.
 Domaine de Fondrèche 2003 Côtes du Ventoux "Instant" rosé ($9.99) A Provence rosé that behaves a lot like a red.
Administrivia Change E-mail address, frequency, format or unsubscribe.

 Learn about our RSS Feed

When rosé gets serious

When I think about pink wines, if I think about them at all, it's generally with a somewhat dismissive attitude: Casual stuff, lightweight and lacking gravitas, best suited for casual quaffing on summer days when it's too steamy to think about anything red. And that's talking about real dry rosé in the European style, not your sweetish "blush" wines like White Zinfandel.

In contrast with rosé Champagne, which is made by blending red and white wine, most rosés (and blush wines, too) are made by a process called blanc de noirs ("white from blacks"), in which red grapes are pressed for their juice, then the grape skins (which impart the color) are removed before they've had time to "bleed" more than a pale-pink tinge into the wine.

In my cynical opinion, prematurely removing the grape skins doesn't just dilute the wine's color but, all too often, the aroma and flavor as well. Bluntly put, why waste the best part?

But every now and then, a rosé wine comes along that disproves the rule by exception, a pink wine so full and flavorful and downright enjoyable that it stands not just head and shoulders but full-torso above the competition.

So it is with today's wine from the Côtes du Ventoux, a hilly Provence region just east of the Southern Rhône. Lying between the craggy Dentilles de Montmirail range (which marks the upper edge of the Côtes du Rhône) and the southern flanks of Mont Ventoux, its productive vineyards are protected from the icy mistral winds that blast down the Rhone Valley.

Still, Côtes du Ventoux is generally lightly regarded, stereotyped as a region for simple, "honest" table wines that rarely excite collectors or points-chasers. But the Ventoux vine growers Nanou Barthelemy and Sebastien Vincenti have been attracting a lot of attention with their powerful, Syrah-based red wines from Domaine de Fondreche. And now their 2003 rosé, labeled "Instant," grabs my attention in a pink wine so full and powerful that it requires no summer weather for its enjoyment. It lit up a blustery January night with a rosy hint of June sunshine.

If you would like to ask a question or comment on today's topic (or other wine-related issues), you'll find a round-table online discussion in our interactive Wine Lovers' Discussion Group, where you're always welcome to join in the conversations about wine.

If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

Fondreche Domaine de Fondrèche 2003 Côtes du Ventoux "Instant" rosé ($9.99)

This wine's pretty, transparently pale rose-petal-pink color belies its full aromas and flavors. Ripe and fresh strawberry aromas waft from the glass, accented by an elusive, characteristic whiff of herbes de Provence. Crisp and bright on the palate, fresh berry fruit is nicely balanced by zippy acidity; relatively high alcoholic content (13.5 percent) adds full texture and body unexpected in a wine that looks delicately pink but "drinks red." U.S. importer: Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C. (Jan. 24, 2005)

FOOD MATCH: Perfect with the spicy "Creole Nouvelle" jambalaya featured in yesterday's Wine Advisor FoodLetter.

VALUE: A very fine value at this price.

WHEN TO DRINK: Rosé rewards early drinking with freshness and delicacy, although this hearty rendition's strength and balance should hold it for a year or so.

Fondrèche = "Fawn-dresh"
Côtes du Ventoux = "Coat doo Von-too"

Look up Domaine de Fondrèche on

 30 Second Wine Advisor, daily or weekly (free)
 Wine Advisor FoodLetter, Thursdays (free)
 Wine Advisor Premium Edition, alternate Tuesdays ($24/year)

For all past editions, click here


For information, E-mail


To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.

We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to

All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Friday, Jan. 28, 2005
Copyright 2005 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to the 30 Second Wine Advisor

Wine Advisor archives