Yesterday RAP held the first annual Pink Out! rosé tasting at Butterfly, a restaurant up at Pier 30 here in SF. I have been a little obsessed with rosé and was interested in trying a slew of them, since man can only consume so much wine bottle by bottle. And I recently missed not one but two rosé tastings and wanted to make up for that.
It was pretty obvious it was the first tasting this particular group had put on, and they have a few things to get sorted out before the next one. The venue was a little small (it was crowded at the trade tasting and I know the public tasting sold out... I can't imagine how packed that was), but I think that has been a problem at about 80 percent of the tastings I have been to recently. The spit bucket situation was dire enough that I felt completely justified in my habit of carrying my own personal spit cup (an old travel coffee mug) at tastings. There were some tables lacking buckets completely, and some tables had cocktail shakers in place of actual buckets. As you can imagine, these things were hard to hit when spitting; I saw a lot of people struggling with that. The buckets also got scarily full before someone thought to empty them, which was at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half into the event.
The crowd leaned more towards the marketing types/trade and for some reason there were a lot of groups of 4-5 people who seemed to be there to get loaded or stand around chatting (I am not sure who these people were; I got the idea that they knew someone who knew someone who got them in). At one point I was delighted and horrified to overhear one man telling another man something along these lines:
"Rosé is great because it has a little residual sugar in it, it tastes really good, Southern women love it, and you can get it out of your clothes easily if you spill it... so if you want to market a wine to people after Memorial Day, what with the white clothes and everything, it's ROSÉ!"
I fully expect to see some rosé in the future marketed to women solely on the fact that, unlike pesky Nebbiolo or Syrah, it's easy to get out of those white capris if you spill it. Which is, of course, what women are looking for in wine, isn't it?
The wines themselves were all over the map, quality-wise (and temperature-wise; they ranged from teeth-freezingly chilled to lackadaisically room-temperature). I was personally a little surprised at the amount of candylike fruitiness in many of the wines, but I guess my taste in rosé tends to run to the European. I am not usually looking for a particular style, but tend to like the drier and more mineral styles. I am not opposed to some fruit, but the finish still needs to be high-acid to even it out. I don't like a ton of wood, normally, and I don't like the spritz of CO2 in a rosé, although I like it fine in some whites. And as you can see by some of the wines that I liked, these rules are made to be broken.
Anyway, here is what I tasted and my general notes on each wine. There were a lot of wines that I could drink in the right situation, but they did not wow me at the tasting. Maybe I am too hard on wines at tastings; I know the more I think about a wine the more critical I get, so I have to take that into consideration, but that's what tastings are for, right? Why drink so-so wine when you can choose good wine? In any case, I mentally clumped the wines into a few categories... wine I liked, wine that I could drink but didn't love or hate, wine that I didn't like, and problematic wine. All things considered, it was great to have a chance to taste all these wines, and I look forward to the next Pink Out!
2004 L'Uvaggio di Giacomo Il Gufo Barbera interesting nose, not floral or candy or fruit, slightly earthy/bloody, I like it because I like Barbera and it has a nice snap, starts out very snappy (at my snappy limit) but then evens out, very candy pink in the glass which makes you think it will be way fruitier than it is
2004 Perbacco Rosé (Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah) interesting nose, has a lot of Pinot qualities, slightly medicinal, slightly leathery, some prickly spice on finish from Petite Sirah, a little bit big for a rosé but also kinda good, definitely one of the more unusual wines... am I looking for a Pinot Noir at this point?
2004 Marques de Carçeres Rosé nice acids on the finish, a little bit of earth and rock, nice fruit that is not overwhelming
2004 Domaine de Nizas Rosé from Languedoc soft, placid, feminine but austere
2004 Sanford Pinot Noir Vin Gris pale salmon, soft raspberry cherry strawberry nose, floral, elegant, nice
2003 Château Potelle Riviera (60% Syrah, 40% Zinfandel) very girly, a lot of cherry and raspberry, for a girly wine it was alright, even if slightly on the fruity side-- was I was losing my resolve against fruitiness this late in the game? (they were in the home stretch for me)
2003 Château La Rouviere Rosé AC Bandol (Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Grenache) very woody/tobacco-ey in the finish, rocky, not a lot of fruit
2004 Château Routas "Rouviere" Rosé (40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Cinsault) Syrah sees a little ML, so it is softer-- very soft, plain yet elegant like French rosés are, nice acids on finish
2004 Tablas Creek Rosé (62% Mourvèdre, 28% Grenache, 10% Counoise) very pleasant, has a lot of fruit flavor but that is saved by the acid finish which is very good
2004 Iron Horse Rosé of Pinot Noir I like it better than the Sangiovese, it is not overwhelmingly fruity, very soft and round
2003 Ventana Rosato (90% Grenache, 10% Syrah) all about raspberry in nose, lots of green brambly dark raspberry in the mouth, kind of interesting and I like it, although that surprises me, and it isn't particularly rosé-like
2004 Mas de Cadenet Rosé (40% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 30% Syrah) Côte de Provence, rocky, mineral, nice resistance on the palate
2004 Maitres Vignerons de Saint Tropez Château de Pampelonne Rosé (50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 10% Tibouren) softer and rounder than the Cadenet which I had just had, but also more acidic
2004 Château Marouine Rosé (Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Carignane, maybe some Syrah) lots of mineral and rock, very hard and maybe a little too hard, but okay (I had this at dinner the night before the tasting and was eh on it until I had it with food when it was much better, and I liked it a lot more at the tasting)
*Didn't Make Me Go Yay [sic] or Nay, Really (Wine Purgatory!):
2003 Alderbrook Dry Creek Valley Rosé (Zinfandel, Carignane, Syrah) fruity finish, slightly medicinal
2004 Amador Foothill Rosé of Sangiovese prickly and earthy, not a lot of fruit, possibly too acidic (and I like acidic), but nice
2004 Bonny Doon DEWN Sangiovese Rosé slightly herbal/piney at finish, slightly too acidic
Chateau d'Aqueria Rosé Tavel (50% Grenache, 20% Clairette, 15% Cinsault, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Bourboulenc) light, pleasant enough but not blowing me away
2004 Château du Rouet Cuvée Reservée lots of raspberry strawberry and soapy in the mouth, but I think raspberry can be soapy on my palate and that is what I am getting
2004 Chimney Rock Rosé of Cabernet Franc dark red, slightly fruity (not as much as the Alderbrook, which I had right before it) but kind of dull
2004 Goats do Roam Rosé I liked this a lot more than I expected given that 1- it is from S. Africa 2- It has Pinotage in it and 3- I did not like the GdR red I recently had, slightly animal/gamey on nose but not too much, and the finish is intense
2004 Herzog Wine Cellars Zin Gris Special Reserve wacky, smells like full-grown Zin in the glass, hot fruit funk and bramble, blackberry, and tastes like regular Zinfandel minus some tannin, you might not know this was a rosé if you didn't see it, interesting
Jean Luc Colombo Cote Bleue Rosé (40% Syrah, 40% Mourvèdre, 20% Counoise)
2003 Kuleto Rosato very pale in the glass, a slight earthy nose, not enough acid, too fruity, but other than the too-fruity low acid finish, was interesting
2004 Mantra Bliss Rosé (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel) slight peppery bite at finish, some rigidity, starts out smooth and ends up jaggedy
2004 Niebaum-Coppola Sofia Rosé of Pinot Noir a very girly soapy (raspberry) nose, not cloying but not remarkable
2004 Ruby Wine Company Rosé (Cabernet Franc, etc) alright, a fair amount of fruit
2004 Rutherford Hill Rosé of Merlot candy pink in glass, slightly cloying
2004 Saintsbury Vin Gris (Pinot Noir) seemed a little lost to me, like it didn't know what it was or where it was going, very vague
2004 Scherrer Vin Gris (Zinfandel, Pinot Noir) on the first taste I liked it, because it had a growing, burning acidity on the finish that expanded in the mouth, but on the second sip I was not so sure and didn't like the aftertaste/feeling
2004 SoloRosa California Rosé (50% Merlot, 50% Sangiovese) meh, not bad but not overly interesting
2004 Toad Hollow Eye of the Toad Pinot Noir Rosé slightly clean/soapy, cherry candy, but not sweet... almost a little too much on the bitter side
2004 Verdad Rosé (95% Grenache, 5% Tempranillo) Tempranillo shows in the finish with a woody rustic toasty thing, slightly interesting, but unusual
2004 Vinavera Rosé (87% Syrah, 13% Grenache) very pink in the glass, well-balanced, the kind of rosé you could get out at a party and everyone would dig it, user-friendly
*Made Me Go Huh:
2004 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare I really don't like the finish, it's lingering medicinal fruit, iodiney, very strange
2004 Carol Shelton Rendezvous Rosé mmm, lifesavers
NV Domaine Chandon Etoile Rosé (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay) overwhelming mousse and the nose is reminiscent of ecologically correct household cleanser
2004 Fife Redhead Rosé of Carignane what's that CO2 doing in my Carignane? It's a little too snappy for me with the CO2 that tingles the tongue
2004 Fleming Jenkins San Francisco Bay Syrah Rosé who knew Peggy Fleming had a winery? she does, and had a signed photo on the table, wow, somebody put C02 AND sugar in my Syrah! definitely not my thing
2004 Folie à Deux Ménage à Trois Rosé (Merlot, Syrah, Gerwurztraminer) lots of Gewurz in the nose, very spicy and floral, way too candylike with sweet fruit on the palate, not enough acid
2004 Gargiulo Rosato di Sangiovese not much on nose, soapy raspberry-cherry coughdrop in the mouth
2004 Iron Horse Rosato di Sangiovese too fruity and sweet, finish might be dry but you could fool me
NV Korbel Brut Rosé (Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc) very fruity, raspberry-ey
2004 La Veille Ferme Rosé (Cinsault, Syrah, etc) cough syrup on finish
2003 Meeker Pink Elephant a little too much fruity-sweety-spice
2004 McDowell Valley Vineyards Grenache Rosé not much on the nose, tastes like water with some diluted candy in it
2003 Michel Schlumberger Rosé of Pinot Noir pale pink, odd nose of camphor, slightly medicinal
2004 Miner Rosato don't like the nose, the nose had a lot of funk like unwashed laundry, but was okay in the mouth
2004 Montevina Nebbiolo Rosato slightly too much on finish, rather like some Nebbiolo can be... raisiny, maybe some RS?
2004 Pedroncelli Zinfandel Rosé again, somebody put their CO2 in my rosé and that doesn't make it taste any better
2003 Peju Province (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, French Colombard) smells a little foxy with a lot of overpowering fruit and not much acid
2004 Rutherford Hill Rosé of Merlot candy pink in glass, slightly cloying
2004 Toad Hollow Eyes of the Toad Reserve Pinot Noir Rosé way too much oak for a rosé, the nose is overwhelmingly oaky and odd
2004 Unti Vineyards Grenache Rose (75% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre) snappy upfront with a yeasty/beery finish in the rear
2004 Unti Syrah Rosé they made this Syrah bleed off to put with the Grenache but didn't like it so they bottled it up and just figured whatever, and it definitely lacks character, very subdued
2004 Van Ruiten Family Rosé of Cab-Shiraz very sulphurous/cauliflower/cabbage/onion nose, it smelled very unpleasant and I didn't want to put it in my mouth-- I did so against my better judgement, but I think there is a mercaptan fault (at least in the bottle I had) because this wine was not clean: DNPIM