Not sure why people are afraid of rosé wine. I guess pink is scary? This style gets a bad rep from the overly sweetened, mass produced, Koolaid colored wines that flood the market, and probably flooded most of our “sophisticated” parties in our younger years. It doesn’t have to be like that. Rosé wine can be elegant, alluring, feisty and dry. All we are saying is give pink a chance.
To get you started we organized the first, and we hope annual, Rosé Wine Bowl of Rose Street. This gathering of wine tasting professionals and enthusiastic consumers met to bring you blind tasting notes for a few Oregon Rosé Wines. Tasted in two blind settings: 1. Critics circle with written notes 2. Party atmosphere with casual discussion.
Oregon winemakers, take note. At least in our small experiment consumers weren’t turned on by a passing whisp of aroma. Don’t go too far in the opposite direction to avoid rosé’s reputation for being a bit of an overly made-up tart. Nobody likes a tease either. There is a middle ground between prudish and promiscuous. We love the delicate, feminine charms of a rosé, but can we have a little fun too? Note, one of the critics’ “Oregon” faves, TeSóAria Vineyard & Winery, was actually made from Sangiovese grown in California. Give us more of what our Oregon grapes can offer, even when they are pretty in pink. We can handle it and we wouldn’t mind handling more of the following wines. (Note all of the wines below are considered dry.)
2015 Abacela Umpqua Valley Rosé of Grenache $18 Critics Fave
Enjoyed by the whole group and a favorite of the critic’s circle. This looks and smells like a girl’s childhood memory. The color of heart shaped “fashion” pendants and the fresh perfume lavender talc scent you remember from you favorite Avon purchase. The grown up girl in you, boys too, will love the palate of strawberry, honeydew, and the sweet tartness of a green apple. Layered and nuanced.
Enjoyed greatly by both the professional and consumer group this was the crowd pleaser rosé. Fresh, fruity, vibrant with a sweet and tart combo. Not complex, but not trying to be. You can call it one dimensional but it is a dimension you will want to visit. A steady stream of pleasure from beginning to end.
Elegantly colored with a light golden coral. Tangerine, jasmine, peach and honeysuckle on the nose. LOTS of peach on the palate with a bit of herbaceous flavor and pith. Starts with a big whoosh that leads to a quizzical ending. Great acidity makes this a wine that would go well with food.
Lovely rose color with a hint of golden straw. The nose is very pronounced and bold, not fleeting like many rosé. Mineral, herbaceous, rose water and strawberry aromas predict a savory, tart palate. Shy at first sip, but makes a huge entrance mid palate through the finish. Offers complexity and depth of flavor.
Confected notes of strawberry, rhubarb pie. Not freshly made pie – the next day out of the fridge when the flavors have mingled. An unexpected savory, spicy palate with notes of clove and cardamom. Complex, yet lively, this wine dances across the tongue just shy of feeling effervescent. A thinking man’s wine.
There are some additional Oregon Rosé that have recently passed my lips, blind tasted although not Rosé Bowl contenders, but thought I would share.
Savory berry on the nose – tayberry or loganberry- sprinkled with some orange zest. Rich full and luscious on the palate. Like smooshing a berry between your tongue and the roof of your mouth and slowly rolling it around.
Sweet raspberry, strawberry, and cherry blossom on the nose. Sweet cherry palate, begins with white peach and fleshes out a fruity long finish.
Rich and full bodied for a rosé with pronounced flavors of floral and strawberry. A long finish, integrated acid, and a texture like running your tongue on the inside of a peach skin trying not to leave any delicious flavors behind.
Big flavors of Shoney’s cherry pie – anyone remember those? Long finish.
Some wines in this article were media samples.