14 Jun 2010
Don’t be such a sissy, it’s okay to drink pink wine! In fact if dudes were smart, they would jump on board the pink parade for one reason…the ladies dig pink. We’re not talking about your sweet and fruity Sutter Homes White Zinfandel kind of pink, we’re talking real, masculine, dry, flavorful, intense Rose of Sangiovese, Syrah, Grenache, and more. Gaining an appreciation for pink will open up your palate to a whole new tasting experience.
Rosé is made from red wine grapes. The most common method of production is leaving the skin in contact with the juice for 2-3 days and then discarded as fermentation continues. The skin imparts a pinkish (sometimes salmon or orange) color to the juice. Dry rosé tends to provide a much more sophisticated taste because there is little to no residual sugar. Rosé makes a perfect spring time and summer sipping wine because it is refreshing, crisp, and light. The perfect accompaniment to a day at the beach, lake, or…on a boat!
I recently participated in a rosé tasting with Paul Gregutt and Randall PR. Paul is the Northwest editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine and writes weekly columns for the Seattle Times. While Paul and several wine writers tasted through eight dry rosé from a houseboat in the Puget Sound, the event was broadcast live over the internet including great interaction through tweets and TasteLive.com
I received three of the eight wines being tasted and added one more to make for a beautiful bouquet of blossoming aroma and flavor. Listening to Paul and his guests talk through the wine tasting was quite a treat. It is pretty clear to see why Paul is such a respected member of the wine community.
Things overheard on the Twitter Machine
|SeattleWineGal:||On the boat at #WARose trying not to laugh at the Ride The Ducks noises. Listen hard to hear the occasional quacking!|
|clivity:||Tyler I’m as masculine as they come & I drink #warose like its my job|
|RandallPR:||James Mantone: “this #Rosé is in direct response to our fascination with hedonistic country wines?” http://tiny.cc/vxlvi #WARose|
|nectarwine:||Paul keeps talking about lipstick for #warose. Is there something we should know about @paulgwine?|
|winebeerWA:||Winemakers in the room nodding in agreement that making rose wine is more technically difficult than white and red wines #WARose|
|imonaboat:||TWEET! #imonaboat:-> Oh my #WARose party is getting crazy with I’m on a boat. Yes I am talking crazy and looking at … http://ow.ly/17H087|
- The Stuff: 100% Rose from Sangiovese from Stone Ridge Vineyard
- The Swirl: Strawberry rhubarb color with average clarity
- The Sniff: Light scents of under-ripe strawberry and hints of peach.
- The Sip: Trying not to overuse the stereotype strawberry flavor, this wine comes across as a very bold offering with a fantastically long and crisp finish. Other flavors of peach and white flowers grace the tongue prior to being whisked away by the ample acidity.
- The Score: At $17, the Skylite Rosé is full of flowery fruit and strawberry spice. I can score this wine a 3+ out of 5 and would certainly recommend it.
2009 Barnard Griffin Rosé
- The Stuff: 100% Sangiovese; 12.4% ABV
- The Swirl: Light amethyst in color with shimmering jewelry quality. Also seems to display a slight effervescence of bubbles that dissipate a few minutes after the pour.
- The Sniff: A restrained strawberry with white pepper on the nose. Very reminiscent of a raspberry flavored tootsie pop (similar to that in color too).
- The Sip: At first taste I picked out a tart orange rind flavor that lightly gave way to a wash of cantaloupe and other melons. The effervescence continued in the mouth reminding me of strawberry flavored Nerds candy. A hint of residual sugar gives just a small touch of sweetness.
- The Score: At only $12, this is some serious QPR summer drinking. While the flavor is not as intense in the other Rosé tasted, I score this a solid 3+ out of 5 for value.
While eight wines in total were reviewed and the entire program will hopefully be uploaded to the Randall PR YouTube channel, the last two of my Rose tastings were tasted by Paul Gregutt and Sean Sullivan of WAWineReport.com. I embedded this video below so you could see these two Washington Wine powerhouses at work.
2009 Waters Winery Rosé
- The Stuff: 75% Syrah from estate vineyards and 25% Viognier. The two were co-fermented; 185 cases produced
- The Swirl: Pale orange hue with salmon color infusions. Elegant color with eye catching clarity
- The Sniff: An orchestra of beautiful flavors with solo performances by tropical flowers, light sweet perfume, and peaches.
- The Sip: As I mentioned in the video, this wine could potentially be mistaken for a white wine in a blind tasting challenge. The Syrah makes an appearance by presenting a nice round light sweet strawberry and firm finish that shows a beautiful hint of white chocolate. Other flavors are a subtle tart presentation of rhubarb and flowers.
- The Score: At $18 this was the first bottle to be emptied. I score it a 4 out of 5.
The 09 Waters Winery Rosé is as stunningly beautiful on the palate as it is on the eyes. The mix of light orange and salmon colors will dance in the sunlight of a hot summer day by the water. The crisp and abundant flavors of tart rhubarb relax to a gentle wash of juicy strawberries and tubarose flowers. A sophisticated dry wine to cool down a hot summer day.
2009 Dusted Valley Ramblin’ Rosé
- The Stuff: 52% Mourvedre, 29% Counoise, 16% Syrah, 2% Viognier; 14.2% ABV; 273 cases produced; Screw cap enclosure
- The Swirl: More jewelry in a glass with this Rosé. Subtle orange and salmon hues provide richness to the glass.
- The Sniff: Very dynamic nose with aromas of sweet strawberry, raspberry, and steely minerality.
- The Sip: Very soft and balanced with a flavor that starts with flowers and opens up to raspberry. The finish is dry without being tart, but the wine seems to lack some acidity. A lot of fruit flavor without coming off like candy.
- The Score: At $18, the flavor and aroma of the Ramblin’ Rose are dynamic and forward. I score it 3+ out of 5. The seeming lack of acidity knocked this down from being a 4. Pick this wine up for under $15 and you have yourself a bargain.
Bonus pic with Clive Pursehouse “on a boat”
* Wine was provided as an industry sample with the intention to review
17 May 2010
Texas! The home of black gold, ten gallon hats, Willie Nelson, the 41st and 43rd presidents, and Bugs Bunny. When I think of Texas and alcoholic beverages, I don’t think of wine…I think of longneck bottles of Long Horn beer and shots of Texas whiskey. The last few months on the twittering machine have increased my awareness of the Texas grape. I’ve been curious if the grapes grow bigger there and if the wine is over the top, like most things Texan. When my friend Ben from Vinotology.com asked if I would be interested in participating in a Texas Twitter tasting I immediately said yes. 1) Ben is a kick ass guy! 2) I’ve never tried Texas wine and 3) Ben is a kick ass guy!
Ben arranged for Mandola Estates Winery to send samples to participating bloggers. When I saw the list, I was pumped for the conversation. I’ve been a fan of Jim from VineGeek.com, Joe from SuburbanWino.com, and Joe and Amy from AnotherWineBlog.com for about six months. Recently I became acquainted with DallasWineChick.com and VintageTexas.com through Ben. With all of these fantastic bloggers I was willing to put aside my anti-Texas bias (mostly because of the Dallas Cowboys) and learn something new.
Mandola Estate Winery is about 20 miles southwest of Austin, Texas and was founded in 2005. From the web site – “Mandola Estate recreates a small corner of Italy, where native Italian grape varieties — Pinot Grigio, Vermentino, Moscato, and Sangiovese — flourish together with the great grapes of France and California. The wines of the Mandola Estate Winery represent some of the best wines to be produced in Texas today: hand-crafted wines vinified in a state-of-the-art winery in the Texas Hill Country.” Their web site contains a pretty cool blog and the winery and wine maker are available on Twitter (always cool in my book) @mandolawinery and @davetxwine
With my trusty Washington Redskins mug nearby, I jumped into the big world of Texas wine! To view the entire transcript of the tasting event, click here.
2008 Mandola Estate Dry Rose
- The Stuff: 90% Cabernet and 10% blend of Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Dolcetto; Brief contact with skins, fermented and aged in stainless steel; 13.3%abv; 892 cases made; cork enclosure
- The Swirl: Beautiful red jewelry tones with shimmering translucence. Opulent color.
- The Sniff: Sour strawberry and earth. Smells like it could be sweet but zero residual sugar
- The Sip: Thin strawberry and cherry jolly rancher. A steely minerality with low back end structure and quick finish wrap up this easy drinking Rose.
- The Score: A summer pool-side sipper that lacks tons flavor or pizzazz, but for only $10, this could be one to stock up on. I score it a 3 out of 5
#TasteTexas Quote: Mandola Rose 08: very deep color for rose. pretty sexy. earthy/funky nose. strawberries and tart cherry on palate – From @VineGeek
2008 Mandola Estate Sangiovese
- The Stuff: 100% Sangiovese from Reddy Vineyards; 9 months in neutral oak; 13%abv; 1323 cases; cork enclosure
- The Swirl: Ruby plum color with nice pearl quality toward the edges. About 70% opaque. A slight cloudiness to the color
- The Sniff: Earthy mulberry with hints of sticks and mild undertones of red fruit
- The Sip: Not a lot happening from the fruit on this wine. Predominately cherries (sour Bing). The earthy mineratily continues through the palate. There is some good structure and on the back end with a decent acidity. The finish has some stoniness to it and is fleeting.
- The Score: At $24, this is not a wine I could recommend at the price. I’ll score it a 3 minus out of 5. There is nothing off in it, but I’m just not feeling the Texas heat on this wine and the price is a little high.
#TasteTexas Quote: Mandola Sangiovese: Overall score B, little pricey but so are a lot of similar Italian Sangioveses Will improve w/ age of vines – From @vintagetexas
2008 Mandola Estate Dolcetto
- The Stuff: 100% Dolcetto from Bingham Family Vineyards; neutral oak for 9 months; 12.2%abv; 890 cases; cork enclosure
- The Swirl: Medium purple plum color that moves out to stained leather edges. About 80% opaque
- The Sniff: A nice whiff of pipe tobacco and dried sour cherries.
- The Sip: A shy tasting sweet tart and dried plum. More depth than the previous Texas wines in the tasting.
- The Score: At $26 I can score this wine a 3 out of 5. There is nothing spectacular about the wine but it does provide a solid effort and would pair well with grilling food and Pizza. Price seems a little high for this type of wine. I would recommend serving slightly chilled.
Cellar Tracker Reviews (2 Scores) 84 pts
NV Mandola Estate Canto Felice
- The Stuff: A proprietary blend of various grapes and vintages. Changes from year to year. 12.5%abv; 3.5% residual sugar; 1506 cases; cork enclosure
- The Swirl: Thin light strawberry color, reminiscent of Pinot Noir; about 60% opaque
- The Sniff: Tight nose with sweet sugary strawberry and sour cherry fruit
- The Sip: As described in the video this is sweet Thanksgiving in a glass. A tart cranberry flavor with cinnamon and nutmeg spices. Sweet but not syrupy.
- The Score: Tempered with the comment that I am NOT a fan of sweet wines, I still don’t find the flavors of this wine to be enjoyable. Some people during the tasting commented that it was their favorite. For those that follow my reviews and align with my tastes I can only score this wine a 3 minus out of 5; $18
#TasteTexas Quote: Canto Felice is a mouth full of plums and apricots and some honey. Not for everyone, but I don’t mind it – From @suburbanwino
All in all, my trip to Texas was a fun and enjoyable learning experience. The wine being produced is drinkable and provides a great launching point for the future. Each offering held its own for varietal specificity and contained good terroir, acidity and balance. The fruit flavors were thin. As the vineyards mature and winemaking continues its progress I expect to see a few rising stars from the Lone Star state. I’ll leave you with these two impressions of Texas.