Is a Rosé just a Rosé?

Rosé, it’s a pink wine. We talked about how you make it in Rosé Season – Rosé Basics.  But there is so much more to it.  Rosé is a color of wine, just like red wine and white wine.  So what about the difference in the grapes that you use to make it and where you grow those grapes?

Rosé can be made from any red grape, and while the intensity of the flavor differs from red wine, as the juice does not spend as much time on the skins or “must”, different grape varieties do impart different flavors and of course the terroir (soil and climate) affects flavor also.

On a simple level a Grenache rosé will be typically bright and fruity, a Syrah rosé will be more savory and a Mourvedre rosé will be fruity and floral.  Of course that is just dipping into the differences in Rhone variety rosés.  Rosés are as diverse as the grapes, areas and winemakers who make them.  Let’s delve a little deeper.

Vin Gris

Sometimes you will hear Rosé referred to as “Vin Gris”.  This translate as “grey wine” which is not very sexy.  The idea here is that you are using a red grape to make a white wine.  In this case there is VERY little contact with the skins so that often the juice comes out clear. (this of Blanc de Noir Champagne, made with pinot noir, but without any pink tint).  There is also “Gris de Gris” which is made only from the lighter colored red grapes Cinsault, Gamay & Grenache.

Off Dry Rosé

We mentioned before “white zinfandel” which gave rosé a bad name for a while.  White Zin is an off dry style of rosé.  Off dry indicates that there is residual sugar (rs).  So when the wine is fermented, fermentation is stopped before the yeast has eaten off all of the sugar, so there are “residual sugars” left in the wine.  This is where you get all sweet wines.  You see this term “Off dry” often used in Champagnes or sparkling wines.  If you enjoy a little sweetness in your wine, or have a pairing that calls for it, you can go with an “off dry” rosé, these include: blush wine, white merlot, white zinfandel, Rosé D’Anjou and Garnacha Rosado.

Rosé D’Anjou

This is an Off Dry Rosé from the Loire Valley made primarily from Grolleau.  “Grolle”  means “crow” in french and this grape is said to be named for it’s deep dark color.  This wine has it’s own AOC, Rosé D’Anjou AOC in the Anjou district of the Loire Valley. Small percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Malbec and Pineau d”Aunis are allowed.  Close by you will also find Cabernet D’Anjou & Cabernet de Saumur which are also slightly sweet rosés.  These wines while slightly sweet have bright acids which makes them refreshing and have aromas of strawberry, gooseberry, white pepper and roses with mint.

Garnacha Rosado

Garnacha is the Spanish version of Grenache, a well known grape in France for Rosé.  Of course it’s warmer in Spain than in France so the fruit tends to be a little riper and you often a deeper color in these wines.  They are often a little sweet, but can also be found in a drier style.

Dry Rosé

Dry Rosés will not have that sweetness.  In these wines all of the sugar has been eaten off by the yeast.  These wines typically fall into two camps flavor wise:  Fruit/Floral and Herbal/Savory

Fruit and/or Floral Rosé

These include: Tavel, Rosado, Sangiovese Rosé, Provençe Rosé, Grenache Rosé and Pinot Noir Rosé.  Rosado is a Spanish Rose, Grenache, Sangiovese and Pinot Noir Rosés are pretty self explanatory.

Provençe Rosé

If there is one region more known for rosé than any other, it would be Provençe. They are serious about their rosé here.  Half of the production in Provençe is Rosé. These rosés are typically Grenache and cinsault, but with a little mourvèdre and syrah.

Provençe conjures up visions of fields of lavender and sunflowers. Sitting on the Mediterranean coast, the area is sundrenched with warm days and cool evenings.  The “Mistral” winds which top at over 90 kilometers an hour are certainly not a breeze, but are credited with making these wines so delicious, by keeping away cloud cover, keeping temperatures from shifting to hot or too cold and preventing grape rot.

The largest AOC in this region is the Côtes de Provençe.  It produces 75% of the wine in the region of which a whopping 89% is Rosé.

For more on the wines of Provençe visit Provencewineusa.com

Tavel Rosé

Tavel Rosé was Hemingway’s wine of choice often drinking it exclusively on trips in France. This has been called “the thinking drinkers rosé”.  The Rosés are darker and higher in alcohol (so little wonder that Hemingway liked it!). They must be between 11% and 13.5% alcohol and most typically bump up against that upper limit.

Tavel is a region in Rhone, that only makes Rosé. Grenache is the base for all Tavel wine.  Grenache, Cinsault, Bourboulenc, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Picpoul and Clairette  are the main grape varieties but no single variety can be more than 60% of a vineyard.  Carignan and Calitor Noir may also be planted but cannot make up more than 10% of the planting.

This area is on the right-bank of the Rhone around the city of Tavel.

For more info on Tavel visit rhone-wines.com

Herbal or Savory Rosé

These include: Bandol Rosé, Cabernet Franc Rosé, Syrah Rosé, and Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé. Again, the varietal Rosés are self explanatory and we will delve more into the flavors in our next post. But lets talk a little about Bandol.

Bandol Rosé

Bandol is located on the southern coast of France. Here they grow Mourvèdre.  This is within the larger region of Provençe, but is tucked on the coast between Maseille and Toulon.  The warm climate is perfect for the late harvesting Mourvèdre.  While other varieties are allowed Mourvèdre must account for 50% of the Rosé, although most producers use significantly more.  In addition Grenache and Cinsault are also used with Syrah and Carignan limited to 10% each.

Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg!  Just searching store shelves the other day we found Rosés from Italy, France, Oregon, Chile, Spain and California and we just picked up one from Virginia on a recent trip.  The changes in soil and climate and wine making styles make for an overwhelming variety of wines.

But now that we have a little of the lay of the land, stick with us as we get into the tasty stuff and  start to explore the different aroma’s and flavors in Rosé and then delve into what to pair with them!

So stop back here at Crushed Grape Chronicles.  You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Wine with friends – A California tasting & pairing

After our trip to the Central Coast, my friend RuBen asked if we wanted to do a wine & cheese party with him at his house.  Well of course!  RuBen is the hostess with the mostest and has a beautiful backyard.  He also knows wonderful people, who are always a joy to talk to.  So….RuBen planned the decor, the people and the over-all menu and I planned the wines and pairings.  I spent several days going through and picking wines from our cellar and then finding interesting facts about each and pairing ideas.  Here’s what I settled on…

Laetitia Brut Cuvee

We needed to start with something bubbly, so we pulled out a bottle of Laetitia Vineyard & Winery Brut Cuvee.  The winery is in the Arroyo Grande AVA which is just south of San Luis Obispo. We had recently done an Interview on their beautiful property  with Heather Muran of the SLO Wine Association.  Starting with bubbles is always a great celebratory way to start any event and it’s a great palate cleanser.  This wine is made in the Champenoise method and the winemaker says his favorite pairing with this is potato chips!  So…that’s what we paired it with.  It was fun to talk to people about this wine and have people share with me their knowledge of sparkling wines.

Tablas Creek 2014 Vermentino

Next we moved onto a white wine, but I didn’t want to do a typical Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.  Instead we did a Vermentino from Tablas Creek Vineyards in Paso Robles.  This winery is known for their Rhone Varieties, and while Vermentino is a little out of the Rhone (although it is grown there under the name Rolle) it is a variety of grape that thrives in the soils and climates you find at Tablas Creek.  It is bright and minerally and we put a jar of wet stones next to it for people to smell.  It was amazing to see people dip their nose into the glass then into the jar and watch the look of realization and surprise come across their faces.  People always think that tasting notes sound so snooty with the wild things sommeliers say they can smell in a wine.  Having it right there and smelling it opened their noses to trying to smell other things in the wines!  Vermentino pairs great with many things, but unlike so many other wines, it is great with green vegetables, so we paired this with a pesto.

Margerum 2014 Riviera Rosé

Onward now to a Rosé.  Rosés are coming back into vogue and you find them popping up everywhere.  While you can find rosés made from Pinot, Zinfandel,  and even Merlot…I love a Rhone or Grenache Rosé best, with a little watermelon and strawberry on the nose, but dry.  That is what we got with the Margerum Wine Company 2014 Riviera Rosé. This Rosé is Grenache with a little Counoise and Cinsault.  The Grenache for the most part is done in the saignee method, then a bit of Counoise and Cinsault are added as well as a little barrel aged Grenache.  As Rosés notoriously go well with anything pink, we paired it with a prosciutto.

Carhartt 2012 Pinot Noir

It was time now to go a little darker.  We pulled out a 2012 Pinot Noir from Carhartt in Santa Barbara. The Carhartt’s are the same Carhartt’s you think of with work clothes. The family owned a ranch in Santa Barbara where they raised cattle for years.  Mike Carhartt and his wife Brooke planted grapes on the land and now it is a family affair with son Chase studying wine making and assisting in the process. This particular wine is not grown on their estate but comes from Riverbench Vineyard up in the Santa Maria Valley where they grow some amazing Pinot Noir.  We paired this with cheeses; goat cheese, gouda and baked brie!

Carhartt 2012 Sangiovese

We continued with a little more robust red with a Carhartt Sangiovese.  This wine was estate grown and smells of cherry, fig, cola, all spice, sweet oak and rose petal.  I had a fresh burrata from the Downtown Summerlin Farmers Market that paired perfectly with this!

Tobin James 2009 Fat Boy Zin

I must admit that we don’t drink alot of big reds these days.  Most are just a bit too big to pair with a meal.  At one time we were members of the Tobin James wine club and we have a bunch of great big fat Zins from them, that I have not yet opened.  So…here was an opportunity to open one and see how it was.  Did it mellow with age or would it have gone flat and passed it’s peak?  We opened a 2009 Tobin James Fat Boy Zin.  It is an over the top Zin that Tobin says is “like the best friend you had as a kid; big brash and maybe slightly obnoxious, but always loved!”.  This is definitely big with the alcohol level sitting at 15.8%.  But indeed, this big boy was loved by many at the party.  We paired this with Smoked Gouda, but truly this big Jammy Zin would go best with bold bold BBQ.

Carol Shelton 2008 Black Magic

We ended the eveningstepping a little further north, with a late harvest Zin by Carol Shelton her 2008 Black Magic from Sonoma County.  Late harvest wines are those that are left on the vine to let their sugars develop and often they will leave them to raisin on the vine concentrating the sugars even further.  This dessert wine screams for chocolate and indeed we paired it with that, but also with a lovely Stilton. The sweet wine and the savory cheese are a perfect combination for finishing an evening.

This was an amazing evening with around 20 people just mingling talking about the wines and whatever else came up and meandering around RuBen’s beautiful backyard with little seating areas tucked here and there.  We enjoyed the wine, the company and conversation as the sun set and the stars came out.  Yep, wine with friends…what could be better?

Wine Party with Friends

Wine Party with Friends

Qupe, Verdad, Ethan & Bob Lindquist

Qupe Verdad Ethan Menu

We left ABC and hurried back to the car (it was a bit of a hike!) and headed on to Los Olivos to try to get to Qupe before the tasting room closed.  We had driven from Santa Barbara to Los Olivos before taking the 101, but this time Google routed me on 154 past Lake Cachuma.  It was a beautiful drive and saved us time!

We pulled into Los Olivos and Parked at the end of the street.  Saarloos & Sons was closed for the day, but were obviously busy with an event on the back patio!  We passed them and headed to Qupe apologizing for arriving so late!  The tasting room here is cozy and welcoming. There are 3 logos on the windows: Qupe is Bob Lindquist’s label; Verdad belongs to his wife and Ethan to his son.

Qupe Verdad Ethan Tasting Room

Qupe Verdad Ethan Tasting Room

Qupe (pronounced Kyoo-pay) is the Chumash Indian word for the California poppy.  The Chumash Indians are native to the Central coast and Bob wanted to honor these people.  Bob Lindquist moved to Southern California with his family in 1964 when he was just 11.  He got into the wine industry in the mid 70’s starting with a harvest at Fortino Winery.  From there he went to San Martin Winery to work in the tasting room and worked his way up to assistant manager.  He ran the San Martin tasting room in Ventura County and started frequenting the wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley.   Here he felt his calling.  The story goes, that he worked in a wine shop in Los Olivos for the son of the co-owner of Zaca Mesa.  From there he met Jim Clendenen who was the assistant winemaker at Zaca Mesa at the time.  Here’s where rock-n-roll steps in…Bob got tickets to see the Kinks and got fired from the wine shop for attending the show (I’m assuming he skipped work for it). Jim Clendenen hooked Bob up with a job as Zaca Mesa’s first tour guide.  Without many tourists to guide, Bob spent most of his time in the cellar learning from Jim how to make wine.  In 1983 he left Zaca Mesa to work full time on his own label Qupe.  Bob & Jim share a winemaking facility to this day out at Bien Nacido.  Verdad is the label Bob partnered with his wife, Louisa Sawyer Lindquist to specialize in Spanish varieties. Verdad makes a Grenache based Rose, as well as Albarino and Tempranillo.  Total production is about 2000 cases.  Ethan is the small label of one of his older sons (Ethan!).  This label is small and produces Grenache, Sangiovese, Grenache Blanc and Syrah.

 

Qupe Wine Glass

Qupe Wine Glass

So on to the tasting!

 

  • Verdad 2011 Grenache Rose Sawyer Lindquist.   This wine was harvested in two lots.  Lot one was then de-stemmed and sat overnight to absorb color.  Lot 2 was whole cluster pressed.  This was stainless steel fermented with a long cool fermentation using native yeasts.  You get ripe strawberry and rose on the nose and then watermelon and strawberry on the palate with a little herbal quality. Really nice, and we took a bottle of this with us!

 

  • Verdad 2011 Albarino Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard in the Edna Valley Acid, minerality. Done in stainless and whole cluster pressed.  Only 100 cases produced.  So different from everything else we had tasted that day.  This was the first stainless white of the day.

 

  • 2009 Chardonnay, Bien Nacido Reserve – Block 11  This wine is aged 18 months in French oak with 60% of that in new Francois Frères barrels. This wine is clean on the palate. While you get lots of oak on the nose, it is not over oaked and still has a bright acidity. This is a really nice Chard.  This wine is grown on a steep north-facing hillside, which softens the sun exposure.

 

  • 2008 Ethan Grenache, Edna Valley.  This wine would pair perfectly with pork.  It is a lighter red so good for warm weather drinking but with enough intensity of flavor to stand up to pulled or roasted pork.

 

  • 2009 Qupe Syrah Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard. This is a spicy peppery cool climate Syrah. It is complex and well balanced with a depth of pepper on the nose.

 

This tiny little tasting room has some gems to taste and…if I get a hankerin’ for a Qupe wine…he has a high distribution Chardonnay that I can get right down the street at Fresh & Easy!  To bad they don’t carry that amazing Verdad Grenache Rose!

Europa Village, at Temecula CA

Europa Village corks

Europa Village winery endeavors to take you on a quick trip to Europe to enjoy the wines of France, Italy and Spain.  The gardens here are lovely and they have added a covered patio for large groups. They have a tasting room set up in a French café style plus a room set up like a cave for events.  The wines are under 3 separate labels C’est la Vie Chateau for the French wines including Syrah, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier and Savignon Blanc as well as En Vie which is a Rhone Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Counoise, Cinsault and Mourvedre. Bolero Cellars has the Spanish wines including a Muscat Canelli and Albarino and the Libido which is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Tempranillo.  Lastly Vienza brings you the Italian varieties which include Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, a Grenache Rose, Barbera, Primitivo and the Tuscan style blend Primazia which is Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Europa Village Patio

Europa Village Patio

Cave Music Event

Cave Music Event

There are no shortage of events here at the winery with Music on Friday nights, dinner plays, art events where you can learn to paint while sipping away, culinary classes with the chef from The Inn at Europa Village and wine pairing dinners.  We stopped in to see “Lady Truth” play the last time we were in Temecula.  Due to the cold weather everything was set up in the cave and they had wine by the glass or bottle plus there was a tent outside with a Panini vendor that you could order from.  When it is warmer I am sure that the patio makes for a stunning venue!

Europa Village Inn

Europa Village Inn

The Inn boasts 10 stunning rooms named after their wines, with most rooms enjoying a view of the winery below as well as a two-course gourmet breakfast each morning.  The Inn’s patio includes a fire pit and an eight person Jacuzzi.  You can wake up in the morning to watch the balloon tours float overhead, or get up a little extra early and take one of the Balloon rides yourself as they depart from the winery each morning.

This is a great place for a romantic getaway. Watch for Video Blog Entry coming Soon!