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Today's Vintages release highlights Rosé. Who knows why Vintages tried to break these 25 wines into full, medium and light bodied. Few ever think of these wines as having significant structure or body. A better idea would have been to rate them in terms of sweetness and juiciness -an everyday fun rosé having more of each, while a serious rosé having less.
Both fun and serious styles have merit when well done. Unfortunately, the LCBO is awash with more than 100 selections and sadly many are not particularly good. Sugar, alcohol, jammy fruit and/or apple juice flavours doesn't translate into good rosé. After two sips, one is done. Even well chilled, the more-than-mediocre, bland, sweet, cooked apple flavoured Blue Nun Pink (640169 - $7.15 for 500 ml tetra pak) isn't a religious experience. It is this kind of mediocrity that gives rosé a bad name.
As for today's release recommendations, South Africa has two casual, easy to enjoy choices. The bright plum and ripe strawberry flavoured Riebeek 2006 Pinotage Rosé (34264) is a decent buy at $10.95. It is faintly sweet (less than 1% residual sugar) but finishes with some crispiness - a fine companion to spicy dishes and appetizers.
Just a bit more expensive and serious is Fairview's scewcapped 2006 Goats Do Roam Rosé (655225) at $13.95. This Coastal blend of Shiraz, Pinotage, Cinsaut, Grenache, Gamay and Merlot is quite dry with decent structure. The zesty plums and ripe apples flavours would go well with chicken and even hamburgers. Owner Charles Back has made this winery's adjoining casual restaurant, which features local ingredients, a major Paarl destination.
From Germany for the happy-go-lucky, 2006 Villa Wolf Rosé de Pinot Noir (33662) hits the spot at $14.95. From Ernest Loosen's 10 hc southern Pfalz estate, this off-dry, slightly spicy, honeyed, ripe plum flavoured effort is ready to enjoy.
Moving on to more serious, drier, food rosés, there's Italy, Spain and French to choose from. Lightest of the three is Frescobaldi 2006 Rosato di Castiglioni (33555) at $14.95 with a clove tinged nose and dry, plummy, ripe apple flavours. Next from Spain's Rioja is the light-pink-coloured Muga 2006 Rosé (603795 - $13.95), which has dry, bright, very slightly tart, plummy, ripe apple flavours and a pleasant crisp finish.
My top scoring pink comes from France: Chateau d'Aqueria 2006 Tavel Rosé (319368). It's pricier at $19.95, but has solid, very attractive, tangy, strawberry-plum flavours with a crisp finish. I would recommend the half bottle (712000), but the 20% premium $11.95 price makes me dizzy.
Ironically, some of the best rosés have already hit Vintages' shelves - both with screwcaps. Of four May 26th Ontario releases, Henry of Pelham 2006 VQA Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé (685610) at $14.95 is the definite buy: dry, tangy, plummy, ripe strawberry flavours. This lovely ambidextrous pink shows great flexibility that will appeal to everyone.
Ditto for a Côtes-du-Rhône charmer from France: Perrin 2006 Réserve Rosé (719062) a great value at only $14.95. This blend of 60% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, 15% Grenache and 5% Mourvèdre offers dry but juicy, ripe plum and dried strawberry flavours with a crisp finish.
Finally, from the LCBO general list are two VQA Ontario rosé worth trying - one fun, the other serious. Reif 2006 VQA Gamay Rosé (669366) at $11.15 represents fun with its appealing, juicy, fresh, crancherry-raspberry-strawberry flavours and sweetish, crisp finish.
My number one choice? The serious-but-still-fun to drink, Tavel-inspired, Peninsula Ridge 2006 Beal Vineyards Cabernet Rosé (8581) at $15.15. This Beamsville Bench VQA Cab Sauv/Franc blend is crisp, dry and harmonious with juicy ripe Damson plum flavours - a versatile joy to taste.
Friday, June 8-9 - Artevino
June 9 - Artevino Gold Medal Tasting Dinner
June 10 - Toronto Taste 2007
- 2007 Tasting Note Database
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