A Taste of Pink Wines 07-16-17

‘Tis the season for delicious, thirst quenching PINK wines.

The world of rosé has greatly changed over the past 10 years or so.  Where once rosé was essentially a by product of red wine production, more & more winemakers (& the public) understand that if you want a really good rosé you have to set out to grow & make a good rosé.  From there, rather than having one that only smells of strawberry, cherry, cherry, cherry……..I much prefer one that has minerality to it.  This makes for a more interesting wine to sip, but also creates a very different dynamic when served with foods.

Thankfully, today really good rosés are grown in different soils & climates, produced from all kinds of different grape varieties & are done in many different styles.  Here are 4 worth looking for.

Domaine Arretxea Irouléguy Rosé–comes from “the Basque country lies along the southwestern border of France and Spain, deep in the dramatic Pyrénées mountains. It received its own A.O.C. in 1970 & this domaine farms organically & biodynamically.  A mere glimpse of their steep, terraced land, amid beautifully lush wildflowers, set against the white peaks of the Pyrénées, with sheep grazing on the soft, aerated soils in between vineyard rows, The sandstone soils of Irouléguy are ideal for these grapes because they are streaked with iron oxide, mica, silica, limestone, clay, and dolomite. The mineral diversity lends an intensity to the wines, making them wild, earthy, tannic, and rich in spicy aromas.   80% Tannat, 20% Cabernet Franc, all saignee, sees some less contact but no malolactic.”  This is a very masculine, hearty, savory style of rosé & works very well with hearty, savory foods.

The next wine, the 2016 Chateau Thivin Beaujolais Villages Rosé is a very delicious, pretty, totally uplifting, vivacious pink-ster & has therefore really grown meteorically in the past 7 years in popularity, bordering a mania, among local wine lovers.  Chateau Thivin is a real iconic, long time revered, artisan producer of standout Cru Beaujolais.  Interestingly, though, it was really their 2010 Rosé that caught our attention in this category.  While the previous pink efforts were good, the 2010 was a HUGE qualitative upgrade.  The Gamay Noir vines average 50 years in age & grown in pink granite, sandy soils.  The wine is fermented in stainless steel & sees 100% malolactic.  This wine is really worth seeking out, especially since it greatly over delivers for the dollar spent!

The 2015 Bouvier Marsannay Rosé has been one of the benchmark pink wines of Burgundy for quite some time.  It is not by any means about bravado or showiness.  Quite contraire!  This is a very pretty, highly refined, wonderfully light & ethereal style.  100% Pinot Noir, grown in clay, marl, limestone & gravel, 80% direct press, 20% saignee, fermented in stainless steel & sees 100% malolactic.  Before the recent climate warming, the village of Marsannay, at the northern tip of the Cote de Nuits, below the city of Dijon, was renown for producing wonderful pink wines.  Bouvier’s shows what Marsannay Rosé can be!

The 2016 Hans Wirsching Rosé Trocken is from Franconia, Germany.  It was the most charming & compelling of the group because of its sheer lightness, etherealness & superb deliciousness.  It just says–drink me.  I had had Wirsching rosés in the past, I believe made mainly from Pinot Noir as the base & while they were tasty & lively, this 2016 was light years more captivating.  The 2016 is produced instead from 50% Pinot Meunier, 4%0 Portugieser & 10% Domina grape varieties. The vineyards are very steep, sloping & mostly south facing with gypsum-keuper based soils.  VERY impressive!!!!

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