Rose Partay: Middle of the Pack

1 07 2008

Sorry it has taken me so long to get to part two of our rose review. The middle group was dominated by wines that had a great overall quality but didn’t quite amaze or overwhelm. Many of these wines are all really solid and very enjoyable.

#4: Red Bicyclette French Rose– This Gallo produced wine from France is made from grenache, syrah and cinsault grapes, the French trifecta of rose grapes. The grapes are sourced from various parts of the Languedoc region, the worlds largest grape producing area. Some people feel that the Languedoc produces really low-end grapes, but if you seek them out, there is some top-quality fruit to be had at bargain prices. I don’t quite think of this as top quality. However, it’s definitely solid juice, with a nice overall balance, a very fun and easy-going wine lacking a little on the acid side of the equation, but definitely with some enjoyable fruit.

#3: Marquis de la Tour sparkling Rose- This producer from the Loire valley in France started out as the Remy Pannier negociant in the 1800’s. As the link will inform you, this company has been held collectively by the vineyard and winery owners since 2002, which I think is pretty cool. As an additional plus, it’s a bubbly wine for under $10 that actually tastes pretty good. The grapes going into it are: Cabernet Franc, which is widely grown in the Loire region (famous as Chinon…but that’s another entry…), Grolleau, Syrah and Grenache. Altogether, this is another highly enjoyable wine for when you’re looking for something a step or two above that frightening bottle of Andre, but you’re not interested in paying $35 for a starter bottle of French champagne. Very Fun Bubbles.

#2: Vin Gris de Cigare– Mm-Hhmmm…so this wine comes from Bonny Doon Vineyards, just outside of San Francisco. The winery owner and wine-maker are known to be unusual even within the wine trade, which is truly saying something about them. Unorthodox to the maximum, the website features whimsical alien/spaceship designs–a major focus of their label design and packaging. Back to the wine though. Gris refers to grey, usually reserved for certain types of “black” grapes that end up producing white wines. Here, though, they use a considerable amount of Grenache Blanc to soften the other darker fruits that tincture the wine. It has great fruit flavors but not much complexity. Overall that’s the main thrust behind most of the wines in this category: great fruit, easy-going, but not much in the department of complexity. But hey, Rose is a fun, easy-going kind of wine meant to be flexible, tasty, and highly quaffable.

#1: Vanda Rose-This wine from Cherry Hill winery in Willamette Valley, Oregon is a pinot noir single varietal rose. This 2005 vintage bottling is still holding up quite well, and the fruit comes across very nicely. It was a favorite among our friends as the party. Very bright fruit, but because the wine has been in bottle for a while, the acidity and structure are somewhat minimal. Still an excellent wine that’s very enjoyable. This was also one of the higher priced bottles we had, with everything being between $9 and $18, this particular one came in at $15.

Overall, the wines in this middle group are all very enjoyable with solid fruit and good balance across the board. Some of them were pleasant surprises, like the Red Bicyclette and the Marquis de la Tour, but the Vin Gris and the Vanda were definitely good contenders for the top block. This time I promise to deliver the final selection of top rose from our little partay soon.

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