the best rosé of the year (so far)

Monday, May 07, 2012

This is the season for rosé wines. Walk into most any tasting room and ask – they probably have one. Young, fresh, and bursting with the flavors of sun and grape, these wines more than any other capture the excitement of spring.

But they don’t often rise above that happy level into the realm of serious, substantial wine. The 2011 Rosé from Tablas Creek Vineyard does.

It’s grown and bottled on the estate in Paso Robles, and it is the classic Provençal blend of mourvèdre, grenache and counoise. The alcohol reaches a hefty 14.5% – suggesting that this was not just bled off the fermenting juice, but was designed to be rosé from the very start.

The Tablas Creek website explains the process and the stylistic intent of this wine.

“A blend of three estate-grown varietals, propagated from budwood cuttings from the Chateau de Beaucastel estate, the blend is traditional of the southern
Rhone, though the blend of grapes is predominantly Mourvèdre, and therefore more like the solid, dry rosés of Bandol than the lighter Grenache-based Tavel.”

“Each year, we take the grapes for our rosé from the oldest section of French-source vines at Tablas Creek. These few rows of high-quality vines ripen later than the rest of the vineyard, so we harvest the Mourvèdre, Grenache and Counoise together and co-ferment them (on their skins) in a single stainless steel fermenter. After 48 hours, we draw about 800 gallons of juice off the blend, and ferment it dray away from the skins. These lots are then supplemented with saignées (bleedings) from other Mourvèdre and Grenache lots in the cellar.”

PG: To my taste, this wine was a perfect mix of roses and raspberries, lush and expressive. It was hard not to gulp it down, but it rewards a bit of contemplation. As Mrs. G and I sat in the midst of our garden, now sprung to glorious life in the warmth of the May afternoon, we could not have found a better wine to complement the moment.

The suggested retail is $27 – not cheap for rosé. But this wine is well worth it. Spring only comes around once a year, and this is the flavor of the season.


Erik said...

Thanks for the tip! I simply LOVE Rose season. I'll pick one of these up. If you have a chance to try the Haden Fig Rose of Pinot NOir do so. Tasty business right there. It's selling well in my shop.

Anonymous said...

I have always felt that wine should be either RED or WHITE.....Rose' always (and still) seems like a bad compilation of the two. OK, I know it isn't, but it FEELS like a weak red or a funked up white. Maybe I have just been drinking bad Rose' because I have never felt compelled to spend money on a decent one? I don't know...but I am willing to try again based upon your recommendation, and will cross my fingers!

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
Tablas Creek is a premium producer. You'd expect nothing less from the Perrin(Beaucastel) Family. Speaking of mourvedre, have you tried the 2011 Gilbert Cellars Mourvedre(100%) Rosé? Perhaps the best Washington rosé I've come across. Bone dry with notes of sage leaf, watermelon, white pepper, dried strawberry, and grapefruit. I think I'd have problems discerning its Washington roots alongside my favorite rosés from Southern France if tasted blind.
To above "Anonymous": I think it's time to stop and smell(and taste) the rosés. Other than riesling they are probably the most versatile food wines around. There's no need to spend a fortune to get a really good one. The Gilbert Rosé is only $13 bones. Ask your favorite wine steward...they'll point you in the right direction.

PaulG said...

I haven't had the Gilbert 2011 but I generally love rosés from Mourvèdre. Thanks for pointing it out!

Erik said...

Anon, I would venture to guess you are drinking your Rose to darn cold! It shouldn't be ice cold like many people think. Let it warm up a bit from the fridge. If it's bitter leave it alone and come back. You will be surpised!! Rose can be a wonderful thing. Try out the Routas Rose from France $9.99 or if you want something with good fruit and a bit creamy try the Renegade Rose $9.99 from Washington. Strawberries and cream with a touch of crisp acidity on the finish. Yummy!

Milos Radulovic said...

Thank you for suggestion. I'll try to taste it and get on my site about rose wine.

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