Yes, it is Summer. The weather is noticeably hotter & the days longer. The seasonal food specialities seems to be lighter AND the sea is bountiful & thankfully we therefore have all kinds of fresh seafood available. In southern France & along the Mediterranean basin this time of the year, well chilled carafes of regional PINK wines dot the seaside cafe tables. The locals there have had many, many years to understand & appreciate that well made roses are undoubtedly well suited for the Summer months, & its hotter weather & its seasonal foods. Here are a few we currently enjoy.
2012 My Essential Rose
Here is a VERY light colored, pretty, refreshing, wonderfully delicious, thirstquenching & food friendly French rose from superstar Master Sommelier Richard Betts. What a discovery this has been for us! Here is what Richard had to say–
“From the South of France, just over the hill from Aix, a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 18% Syrah, 1% each of Carignane & Mourvedre, direct press (no saignee juice here, hence the light color & lack of bitterness). The idea is rosé as I love it; dry and refreshing, smell red yet taste like a lip-smackingly delicious white. Importantly, this is not saignée, it’s all straight to press goodness. Pass the chalice and get after it“.
2011 Regis Bouvier Rose
Regis Bouvier is a small, truly artisan producer (1981) who makes delicious, ethereal, interesting & really food friendly wines from his stellar vineyard holdings in Marsannay. We just had a bottle last night of his 2011 Rose & let’s just say, it was such a pleasure, it really was the inspiration for this blog. Unlike many of the fruit driven, tooty fruity roses we see coming out more frequently today, this one is barrel aged in oak for 10 months, framing the character, adding depth & rounding out edges, without compromising deliciousness, lightness, etherealness or food friendliness. In the Old Days, pre-global warming, Marsannay was famous for their rose wines. I surmise that back then the area was over all too challenging to produce stellar reds. Times have changed…..& we now see more & more winemakers looking to take advantage of the weather warming & produce red wines, rather than rose. The soils are interesting–a mix of limestone, marl, clay, stoney & gravel & the resulting wines can be interesting & unique . I, for one, am glad & most thankful that Bouvier still makes a little rose. This really is a superb wine, which happens to be pink.
Il Rose di Casanova
Yes….it is VERY hard to find “good” Italian Rose. Most winemakers focus on making top quality RED wine, which may include bleeding off (saignee) some of the juice early on in the fermentation, thereby increasing the remaining juice’s skin contact potential. Then with the leftover, bled off juice they try to make a decent rose or something. While this may make for a blacker, better RED wine, it often results in a very mediocre Pink wine. For me, this is even more apparent with Italian grape varieties. Superstar winemaker Giorgio Rivetti, in this case, set out to make a good rose instead. 50% Sangiovese & 50% Prugnolo Gentile (another clone of Sangiovese, most notably from Montepulciano) from his Tuscan vineyard (sandy & ocean sediments influenced soils) grown at roughly 1000 feet elevation. The skin contact is no more than 1 hour & the wine is fermented in stainless steel, & is then aged on the lees for 3 months. We love the notes of sour cherry, pomegranite & floral qualities, how seamless it is from beginning to end & how it finishes UN-oaky & UN-bitter…..all done in a VERY tasty, lively, refreshing, food friendly style. Bravo!!!!
2012 Corte Gardoni Bardolino “Chiaretto”
Remarkably……yet another delicious, standout Italian PINK wine!!!!! This one comes from Veneto, up in the northeast part of Italy. Records show that the Piccoli family have been growing grapes in the area since the 1600’s.
“Today Gianni Piccoli is a well-known and highly respected figure in the region as well as a fierce leader in the fight against the homogenization of the local wine scene. While local cooperatives push for laws that would force producers to plant only French grapes like Chardonnay and Merlot, the place of honor at Corte Gardoni is reserved for local varietals such as Garganega, Corvina, Rondinella, and others. The Piccolis’ vineyards occupy 25 hectares, while the rest of the property encompasses orchards, forests, olive trees, and arable land“.
Here is their Chiaretto (what the locals call their rose), which is typically produced from 50% Corvina, 30% Rondinella & 20% “other” grapes. It is much darker in hue than those listed above….and seemingly more fruit driven….BUT still lovely, irresistibly delicious, food friendly & very well suited for this time of the year.