Search for Events
Wine of the Day via RSS
Recent Blog Articles
- Tasting "Unexpected Napa Valley Wines"
- Robert Parker's Advice to Wine Writers
- Biodynamic Cabernet of Grace from Wise Acre Vineyards
- Back Labels I Can Get Behind
- Napa Valley Premiere - Competitive Juices Yield Record Prices
- Robert Parker Scores and Misses
- 18 Delicious Zinfandels You Need to Try at ZAP
- Awesome Sauvignon Blanc in Santa Ynez Valley
- It's Not Too Late! Downloadable Gifts for Wine Lovers
- 4 Great Gifts for Wine Collectors
- Recapping an Epic Tasting of 1968 Cabernet Sauvignon
- A Blow to the Stomach - SF Chronicle to End Standalone Food Section?
- New Pinot Noir and Cabernet Releases from Sojourn Cellars
- Fervor versus Flavors
- Update: Missing Articles on NorCalWine
- Thoughts on the Inaugural Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak AVA Tasting
- Body Count - On Describing the Body of Wine
- Lateral Moves North
- Enjoy an Epic Tasting of 1968 Napa Valley Cabernets and Other Upcoming Events
- Charles Banks Acquires Historic Qupé Winery In the Santa Maria Valley Appellation
Recent Wines of the Day
- 2010 Gallica Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2011 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard Lodi
- 2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa
- 2011 Jekel Riesling Monterey and 2011 Jekel Pinot Noir Santa Barbara
- 2012 Matthiasson Chardonnay Linda Vista Vineyard Napa Valley
- Review from the Cellar - 2010 Qupé Mourvedre Ibarra-Young Vineyard
- 2012 Tres Sabores Rosé “Ingrid and Julia” Napa Valley
- 2011 Testarossa Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2009 Lucia Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- Review: 2009 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2008 Vin Roc Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa Valley
- 2009 Cornerstone Cellars “The Cornerstone” Napa Valley
- 2009 Laetitia Pinot Noir Single Vineyard La Colline Arroyo Grande Valley
- 2010 Lange Twins Chardonnay Estate Grown Clarksburg AVA
- 2012 Borra Vineyards Artist Series Kerner Lodi AVA
- 2010 Wren Hop Pinot Noir “Fire Messenger” Sonoma Coast
- 2011 Lucia Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2011 Roar Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2010 Frostwatch Chardonnay Bennett Valley Sonoma County
- 2007 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District Napa Valley
Wine of the Day
- Written by Fred Swan
- Friday, 11 March 2011 18:43
Rhone-varietal wines come in all shades of red and white. There are inky black Petite Sirah and cherry-red Grenache. Some of the white wines are pale yellow when young. Aged Marsanne, like those from Australia’s Tahbilk winery, can be amber. But there is another range of hues for the wines celebrated by the Rhone Rangers. It starts at powderpuff pink and runs through salmon to copper and beyond. There is actually an appellation in the Rhone Valley, Tavel, devoted solely to rosé. Unlike inexpensive blush wines, these rosés — and their excellent cousins made here in California — are bone dry and offer complexity far beyond simple red fruit flavors.
There are three principal methods for making a rosé. The first and least preferable is to blend finished red and white wines. Any color of wine can be created but, as with 3AM Las Vegas weddings, a harmonious union is rarely achieved. The vigneron of Tavel have a better way of making rosé from a combination of red and white grapes. They put the light and dark grapes together in a vat and let the weight of the fruit itself squeeze out the juice. The liquid sits with the mingled berries until the flavors and color are as desired. This doesn’t take long. Then the winemaker moves the juice to a different tank for fermentation.
But the method preferred by the most serious rosé aficionados uses no white grapes at all. Winemakers process red grapes as they would for red wine but the juice is drawn away from the skins much earlier. Called the Saignée method, this technique can deliver complexity and easy-to-recognize varietal characteristics. (If only a small amount of the juice is removed early, the remaining will become more concentrated, tannic and packed with flavor than would otherwise be the case. Fans of intense red wines should thank rosé drinkers!)
The 2009 Tablas Creek Rosé of Mourvedre, Grenache and Counoise is more intensely colored than most rosés indicating longer than average skin contact. It has a brilliant coppery red hue that fades to a water white rim. The nose is bowl of crushed strawberries and cherries with dry thyme and watermelon rind. Dry on the palate with medium body, the wine's zesty freshness is moderated by light tannins and some heat on the back palate. Delicate flavors of cherry and strawberry get zip from a smidgen of tart green apple.
At 14.5% alcohol, Tablas Creek’s 2009 Rosé is powerful but also has enough body to appeal to those red wine drinkers who normally shun rosé. The wine will work not only with a picnic lunch of fried chicken or charcuterie, but also grilled pork loin or cold slices of roast beef. The wine will make a good aperitif, but it’s not a lightweight summer sipper that you will want to quaff in volume on a hot Summer day. As with almost all rosé wines, this one should be consumed when it's young to get the fresh fruit flavors at their peak. Drink it now through 2012. Recommended.
You will find a good number of fine rosé wines based on Rhone varieties at the Rhone Rangers events in San Francisco on March 26 & 27. Enter our contest to win a pair of free tickets (a $90 value) to the Grand Tasting. And keep up with this month’s Rhone Rangers news and articles by following @RhoneRangers and watching the #RRSF hashtag on Twitter.
Tablas Creek Rosé Paso Robles
Drink: Now through 2012
Retail Price: $27
Blend: 46% Mourvedre, 39% Grenache, 15% Counoise
Vinification: Co-fermented in stainless steel, Saignée-method
Origin: Paso Robles, certified organic estate vineyard
The wine above was purchased for review.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the right above and also below.
Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook. Also check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.
This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.