Rose Wines are Made for Summer

NOTE: Please assume the accent over the “e” on the word Rose. (Pronounced rosAY.)

Rose wines and summer just seem to go together. So while I was in my local grocery store, I looked for Roses. I found two – and they were both in the sparkling wine category. (Quite good and I’ll get to one of those in a minute.) For straight, still wine called Rose, I found exactly – one. One. ONE. Are the wine buyers crazy?

Whatever happened to Rose? I remember in the late 1970’s, Mateus used to put out a decent Rose, in a nifty bottle, too. Almaden also put out a Rose. Then, somehow, when I wasn’t looking, in the early 1980’s white Zinfandel hit the scene and took over.  The new category of “blush wine” appeared, forever altering the state of Rose in America.

Let’s get something clear. White Zinfandel, or any other “blush” wine, tends to be sweet and lower in alcohol (and often, cheap). Because of this, many casual wine drinkers think that all pink wines taste the same. Not so, grasshopper! I mean, yes, any wine with the word “white” before the varietal is most likely sweet. And while that isn’t necessarily bad, it’s most definitely not a Rose.

I shall now quote from the EVERYTHING GUIDE TO WINE book by Peter Alig: “Even though a rose has acidity and tannins acquired from the grape skins, its fruit flavor disappears quickly, which is why you should always buy the most recent vintage available. Like a white wine, a rose should be served well-chilled.”

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that short rant out of the way, on to the wines! I’ve got one sparkler and two still Roses for you today.

Chandon Sparkling Rose Alcohol 13% by volume. Regularly $19.99 a bottle, on sale for $12.99 (I know – but for sparkling wines, I’m upping my limit to $15.!)

On The Label: “Methode Traditionnelle. At Chandon, we are true California sparkling wine pioneers. Founded in 1973 by Moet & Chandon, we draw on our French heritage and the innovative spirit of California to create sophisticated and vibrant sparkline wines that enliven all occasions. Taste profile: Strawberries, spice, creamy finish. Pairs with: Salmon, paella, fruit desserts.”

The color is flawless, a pretty deep pink with the bubbles absolutely making my glass shimmer. If I were throwing a wedding, THIS is the champagne I’d use – it’s pretty, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it tastes good. Not sweet, but not too dry – plus it is an American sparkler, which means it doesn’t have the French yeasty taste (which you either love or hate).

I think the winery shortchanged themselves. This sparkling Rose would go fantastic with Asian foods of all kinds, cut through spices, brighten up a roasted chicken or a pork chop. I must say it went very well with my 4th of July fireworks. Fresh and fabulous, it’s a celebratory wine to share with girlfriends – or the perfect wine for Valentine’s dinner at home.

My Rating: ~ Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut! ~

Nine Vines Rose, Vintage 2008 Angove Family Winemakers, South Australia Grenache 70%; Shiraz 30% Rose Regularly $8.99, on sale at Von’s for $4.99 (Score!) Alcohol 12.5% by volume

On the Label: “Argove’s Nine Vines Rose is a blend of Grenache and Shiraz, picked early to capture the vibrant natural fruit flavours and freshness of each variety. Zesty fruit flavours of red currant and raspberry from the Grenache combine with spicy cherry of the Shiraz to give a refreshing drinking experience. Enjoy this wine with spicy warm chicken salad or your favourite curry. The red wine drinker’s white wine.”

Hmmm. This was a solid wine. Not sweet at all, which made it taste better in my book. It had an easy sipping to it, with not much fruitiness which makes me think it was the 2008 vintage (maybe a 2010 would have been fruitier? dunno…). It went well with a spicy Mexican casserole, and would also have made a good sipping wine.

Was it my favorite by far? No. Was it a stand-up Rose? Absolutely, especially for the price. I had a Rose by Zaca Mesa that probably sat around too long – as it was about the same in flavor, but cost four times as much. (That was back when I was still a part of their wine club. I miss that wine club!)

My Rating: ~Drinkable~ And at $5 a bottle, I might have to load up on some for the summer.

Beringer California Collection White Merlot 2010 Regular price, $6.49 on sale for $4.43 at Vons. Alcohol 12.5% by volume (Hmmm…same as the Nine Vines…)

On the Label: “This carefully crafted wine has enticing flavors of ripe red berries. It is soft, smooth, friendly and delicious. If you enjoy our White Merlot, make sure to try our Pinot Grigio. Serve chilled.”

Okay. First off, I thought I’d plucked an infamous white Zin off the shelves at the store. When I pulled this out of my fridge, I was properly shocked that yet another terrific grape had been “blushed” for the masses. Oh well. The white Zin will have to wait.

The wine color is pretty – pink and sassy, and the red berry fruit is definitely there. But swirl the glass, and you’ll see the sweetness in how slowly the glass sheds the wine. It is sweet. It is almost Kool Aid sweet, but not quite. I’m drinking it right now because there’s nothing else open, I just had a job interview, and it’s after 10:30 on a hot summer night. Plus I don’t want to pour it down the sink, and hubby’s been doing his part in consuming it. (He likes sweeter wines than I do.)

For me, even after dinner, this is too sweet. Diluted strawberry cough syrup comes to mind. For me, even under $7 at regular pricing, this wine is too expensive since I really just want to pour it out.

My Rating: ~Barely Drinkable~ (Hubby says ~Drinkable~) It just totally depends.

Remember, I’m rating based on my taste buds, mood, the moon’s phase and all that other stuff. Your tastes will undoubtedly vary.

Do you have a favorite Rose? If so, where in heck did you get it? Please share!

Oh, a side note: OceanFresh, the place that sold salmon sausages last week, did so well in selling them that they’ve put them on the regular list!!! Woo! More salmon sausages…I’d better get some this weekend while they’re still at the $5.99 introductory price.

Happy weekend, and cheers!

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Have you read DEMON SOUL yet? You can find it at Crescent Moon Press or Happy Reading!