5-Week Series on Rose All May | Week Five
Join Alison Kent of the Home Kitchen and me, Barb Wild of Good Wine Gal, as we explore the world of Rosé Wines throughout the Month of May.
Week Five ... The Finale!!!
Welcome back to Rosé All May! Hi, it's Barb. This is our final week and wow, we are having so much fun I'm not sure we can stop this train. How about you? Have you been following along? In case you missed our previous Rosé posts here are the links: Week 1 - Cinsault, Week 2 - Grenache; Week 3 - Bordeaux Varieties; Week 4 - Red & White grape blends.
What remains unanswered in this series? Perhaps it’s the question - what food pairings are recommended? The awesomeness and perhaps reason for Rosé-love is that Rosé pairs well with so much - yes, even BBQ.. (which makes it perfect for stocking up on!) So here is Alison - chef by night - sharing her thoughts on perfect pairings.
WELL, such high regard for my attempts at cooking, Barb! While I agree that Rosés can pair with almost anything - given the wide variety of them, too - I did find that some of the ones we tried tend to be lost with food. So I would separate preferences more towards which Rosés are ‘patio sippers’ and which are ‘food lovers’.
I’ve learned that the world of Rosé is VAST. There are heavy-bodied versions that would pair well even with Game and butter-basted Steaks and others that would do well with a fine, local Goat Cheese and a gently smoked Salmon. The Singletree below would be a decent contender for that. I lean towards a Rosé that pairs with a beautiful Burrata and Tomato Salad, some spicy in-season Spot Prawns, a delicious Ceviche, or a BBQ’d Spatchcock Chicken (Clos du Soleil from previous weeks). In our MANY tastings - haha - where we also had food, so many of the various Rosés we were sipping, paired with just about all of the dishes we had, so you really can’t go wrong.
Is Rosé really *just for May*?! NOPE! Rosés can be enjoyed ‘Beyond May’ with "in season" dishes all year long, even Christmas Turkey with Cranberry sauce, or even the first course at a festive NYE dinner. I’ll be keeping my FAVES from each week stocked and ready to continue pairing with a variety of dishes throughout the year ahead, while constantly seeking out new Rosés to add to my wine fridge.
Pinot Noir - Pinot Noir is a famous and finicky international red grape variety grown around the world. This thin skinned grape is considered the heartbreak grape because it is temperamental and requires care and attention - like me. The aromas and flavours are red fruit (strawberry to cherry) earthy, and supported by fresh acidity and hints of spice (cinnamon, vanilla) with lowish tannins. The most famous bottles come from Burgundy and Oregon with up and coming regions including Santa Barbara, Monterey, Central Otago (NZ), Chile, and right here in BC. Pinot Noir brings acidity, silky texture and pretty red fruit aromas to the Rosé blend.
Merlot - Epic expressions of Merlot come from the right bank of Bordeaux, Tuscany, and the USA think Napa (Duckhorn) and Washington State. This is an earlier ripening grape (earlier than Cab Sauv). The berries are dark, medium sized with a bit more pulp (than Cab Sauv) which brings freshness and flavors of black and red plum, with some green or dried herbs and spice. It offers richness which helps to create a smooth mouthfeel and fills the gaps that can appear with Cab when blended.
Cabernet Franc - Cabernet Franc is one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. Does that surprise you? It did me. This is the unsung hero of red grape varieties and certainly expressive with black and red berry and currant notes along. It is famously produced in the Loire Valley, finding a home in BC’s Okanagan Valley and grown in Bordeaux where it plays a secondary role to Merlot and third wheel to Cab. The thing about Cab Franc to remember is it adds perfume (aromas and flavours) that enhance the tasting experience.
BARB’S FUN FACTS
Can I get some closure? Ya, that’s not what we are talking about here but I like your style. It’s wine bottle closures. You know - Caps, Corks and Glass stoppers. Have you noticed that most of the Rosé we have tried have screw caps? It is convenient to have screw tops because there is no extra step - finding a corkscrew and hoping for success in getting the cork out on the first attempt. Instead, it’s a twist of a bottle secured by your firm grip and snap - the bottle is open. Easy peasy!
Wine bottle closures fall into one of these categories:
cork (or modified cork); stelvin (screw cap); or vinolock (glass stopper)
The Stelvin screw top first showed up in BC at Tinhorn Creek. Sandra Oldfield, winemaker, believed that this was the future for BC wine and she was right. The screw top was commercialized in Australia in 1973 and took a couple of decades to reach acceptance in this part of the world. Some question the likelihood that it will replace the cork and the simple answer is no. The reason that the screw top works is that it suits young wines like Rosé, aromatic whites and youthful reds that are made to be consumed now or in the next few years.
Cork is a significant crop in Portugal and one of the key partners to the wine industry around the globe. Corks serve a purpose. In a wine bottle a cork provides a seal that is almost perfect. In fact, the nature of the cork allows a very small exchange of air over time that allows the wine to ever so slowly age in bottle. Is this good? Oh yes. If you are a collector and you hold bottles (can be anything from five to 20 years) then cork is ideal. The only issue with cork is “cork taint”. It is estimated that 1 in 10 bottles with cork closures suffer this musty, damp basement, cardboard fault. This is a key reason as to why screw tops have become a popular option.
Another more recent development is the Vinolok. It’s a glass stopper that is secured into the neck of the bottle as a cork would be but it sits like a stopper of a whisky bottle. In order to open a bottle that has a vinolok closure, you need a blade say from a corkscrew, rather than the screw, and you pry the vinolok loose. It’s pretty, it’s fancy and it’s expensive and new.
WHAT WE’RE TASTING
This week's Rosé wine choices were based on the Pinot Noir, the heartbreak grape. We start with Baillie Grohman from Creston (the Kootenays), move on to Ryder Estate from California, and then land in the Fraser Valley with Singletree. The wild card this week is Saintly which ironically is called “the good Rosé ”. Ah, marketing.
Baillie-Grohman Florence 2020 (Organic)
A > Not being a perfume type person, I found the heady wafts coming out of this Rosé to be quite strong. Thankfully it tasted much milder on the palette, with soft, lingering fruits.
B > Here we have something very special from Creston BC, named for the wife of William Baillie-Grohman and made by winemaker Wes Johnson. This style is 100% Pinot Noir. It is pale pink with an onion skin hue. The aromas of red berries (raspberry, strawberry, currant), fresh herbs, maybe a little spice are jumping out of the glass. This is dry with high acidity, medium body, medium alcohol with a nice silky texture. The wine has a lovely tension and the finish shows nice balance with red berries on the end. Wow! For $20 this is great value.
Ryder Estate 2020 Pinot Noir Rosé
A > While the nose on this Rosé was quite perfumed, it wasn’t as strongly so as the Baillie-Grohman. There was a sweet freshness to it, even if but for a rather quick moment.
B > This is from the central coast of California. I like Pinot Noir Rosés from Oregon, but they can be pricey if you can find them. I recall Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir Rosé at $35 (good one). When I saw Ryder I was excited. The price was reasonable at $20. The label looks great. So I took a chance. Too good to be true? It wasn’t what I was hoping for. The color was light pink, the aromas were subtle, the flavours were also subtle, and the silky texture that I love so much was missing. It has less acidity than I like and overall it was simple. It should have occurred to me that a US brand at $20 in Canada (with exchange and taxes) would mean we are probably starting with a $5 bottle. Sad but true. BC Liquor stores is where I picked this one up.
Singletree Rosé 2020
A > This beautiful, bright pink Rosé was my pick of the week! Pleasant strawberry aromas are followed by a strong acidity on the tongue that held up well to food. I enjoyed the lingering, balanced flavors. A bit sweet for what I’m typically drawn to, but the overall complexity had me returning to the glass again and again.
B > From the heart of the Fraser Valley you’ll discover this Rosé is a blend of Merlot Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir to be bright, flavourful and fresh. The color is bright deep pink with aromas that jump out of the glass of stems, yellow flowers, lemon grass. This Rosé is dry, full bodied with high acidity balanced with fruit sweetness and nicely supported by textured low tannins, The fruit flavors include strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, citrus sweet orange, some pithe on the lingering finish. There is a nice richness and tension creating good balance . You can pair dishes with stronger flavours to go with this Rosé . At $21.66 at the winery, this is great value.
Saintly - The Good Rosé 2019
A> I found this Rosé to be heavily perfumed with wild floral scents that leapt right out of the glass. Contrary to this first impression, the flavors in sipping were closer to a soft strawberry - very gentle.
B>This Rosé is a bit of a mystery to me. It is declared a VQA wine but when I reached out to specific questions about where the grapes were sourced I was unable to get an answer. In fact I was sent the information that appears on the back label. Let me guess. The Saintly is a brand from Arterra available nationally with the Ontario version made with Ontario grapes and the BC version made with BC grapes. This Rosé is pale watery pink with aromas of lemon balm, watermelon rind, with faint red fruit that is not precise and fairly neutral. It is full body with mouth filling richness, medium alcohol and on the palate flavours of red fruit (strawberries (almost ripe?)), pomelo and honeydew. The flavours linger but this Rosé is a bit heavy and has some sweetness on the finish. The fruit flies below the surface. I suspect sugar-fication here. This bottle retails for $18.59.
Check out there Rosé Recommendations!
Louisa Cohen from the Permanent (heritage venue on W Pender in Vancouver) recommends Clos Lentiscus Rose Brut Nature (sparkling) from Penedes, Catalunya Spain (one of my favorite places). Louisa says it tastes like roasted strawberries in an old house, all biodynamic farming - a father daughter duo. She has other good recommendations so her Instagram handle @ahappywinenight
PiDGiN Restaurant recommends the 2019 Kutatás Wines Rosé from Vancouver Island - it’s on their brand spanking new menu coming out next week!
Caryn Sturhahn (Food Expert)
Loves Okanagan Crush Pad Rosé which is a co-ferment, meaning white and red grapes were fermented together rather than combining grapes after fermentation. The 2019 Syrah Viognier Rose 2019 has a deep color, tangy orange peel notes, a heavier texture with the aromatics from the Viognier and the weight being carried by the Syrah.
Janet Muniz, Wine Enthusiast (part 2!)
All the wineries in Washington State make fabulous Rosé. Here are just three:
Long Shadows Vintners
Julia’s Dazzle Rosé
Just a hint of effervescence makes this wine a celebration. Long Shadows is also a unique collaboration between winemakers from all over the world. The tasting room is magnificent, in the heart of Walla Walla wine country with Chihuly glass surrounding you while you sip (inside).
Rosé of Sangiovese
Anelare is my "other living room" for relaxing with a great glass, a nosh and good company. I love every varietal they make! And with fruit from Ciel du Cheval vineyard in Red Mountain - arguably the hottest AVA in WA, you can sip the Rosé on Anelare's tasting room patio while looking across the vista to where the grapes are grown.
Canoe Ridge Vineyard
Limited Edition Cinsaut Rosé
I was introduced to Cinsaut (also spelled Cinsault) by Maryhill Winery . The goofy New Zealander who makes wine there, Richard Batchelor, has three times earned the Winemaker of the Year awards. He also led a winemaking class that my husband and I took where we tended the vines and followed the wine from start to finish - so much fun! Canoe Ridge's Rosé is THE most beautiful color: pale pink, off-dry, strawberry and watermelon.
Do YOU have a favorite Rosé?
Let us know in the comments below!
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