Tag Archives: rose

rose reviews 2018

Mini-reviews 109: Even more rose reviews 2018

rose reviews 2018Reviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the fourth Friday of each month. This month, four rose reviews 2018 in honor of the blog’s 11th annual rose fest.

Château De Paraza Cuvée Spéciale Rose 2017 ($12, sample, 13.5%): This French rose would have been $8 in the old days, when only cranky wine writers drank rose, and it would have made the $10 Hall of Fame. Look for a flowery aroma, pretty watermelon fruit (not overdone at all), refreshing crispness, and a pleasing finish. Imported by Wines with Conviction

Hecht & Bannier Rose 2017 ( $16, sample, 13%): Rose for white zinfandel drinkers. It’s a little soft, which I assume is to simulate sweetness (cherry compote?). Plus, it’s short and not especially crisp. That this bottle costs as much as it does – from a very ordinary part of France – speaks to what’s going on with rose. Not to be confused with Hecht & Bannier’s Provencal rose, about $4 or $5 more and a step up in quality. Imported by Frederick Wildman & Sons

M. Chapoutier Bila-Haut Rose 2017 ($15, sample, 12.5%): More pink wine from France’s Languedoc at a “rose is trendy” price. This vintage is a little fruiter the previous and less Provencal in style, with almost peach fruit. It’s well-made and professional, and well worth buying if you can find it at $12. Imported by Sera Wine Imports.

Bonny Doon La Bulle-Moose de Cigare 2017 ($8/375 ml can, sample, 13%): This is Randall Grahm’s always top-notch California rose — dry, tart, and fresh — in a can with added carbonation. Call it fizzy pink with a pulltop. Enjoyable and much better than I expected, which speaks to the quality of the wine.

Memorial Day and rose 2018

Memorial day and roseCheck out these six roses — still cheap and delicious — for the blog’s 11th annual Memorial Day and rose celebration

Talk about the best kind of  tasting fatigue — I sampled close 100 roses this year for the 11th annual Memorial Day and rose post, and I’m not tired of pink wine yet.

Rose, as noted, has been resilient enough to withstand the onslaught of high alcohol, lifestyle-designed bottles, and sweet rose passed off as dry. And why not? Many of the producers who make rose the right way do it as a labor of love. As one told me this spring: “Yes, I could charge more for it. But then fewer people would drink it, and I love rose enough that I want as many people as possible to drink it.”

So enjoy this year’s rose extravaganza. My six pinks are after the jump. But you should also check out the rose category link, which lists 11 years of rose reviews. And don’t overlook the blog’s rose primer, which discusses styles, why rose is dry, how it gets its pink color, and why vintage matters. Wines older than two years — 2016, in this case — are more likely to be off, tired, or worn out. Continue reading

rose

Wine of the week: La Vielle Ferme Rose 2017

La Vielle Ferme roseThe usually indifferent La Vielle Ferme rose is one of the great cheap pink finds for this summer

How surprising – and welcome – is the quality of the 2017 La Vielle Ferme rose? I bought a second bottle for this review, because I didn’t believe that the first bottle was so well done.

But it is, excellent and delcious. The La Vielle Ferme rose ($8, purchased, 13%) reminds us that rose doesn’t have to cost $25, doesn’t have to come in a fancy bottle, and doesn’t require a multi-million dollar marketing campaign. It can be an $8 bottle of screwcap grocery store wine — just what we’re looking for to mark the blog’s 11th annual rose extravaganza.

La Vielle Ferme is a decades-old cheap French wine (there’s red and a white besides the rose) that is best known for the rooster on the label and its indifferent quality. I taste the wines every year or so, and they usually taste like they always do – thin and a little bitter, the kind of wine made to sell cheaply in big bottles in a grocery store.

But the 2017 rose is much improved over previous vintages — missing the cheap wine raggedyness that it often shows. Look for a little red fruit (tart strawberry?), some minerality, and a freshness that the wine has never really had. The producer, the French giant Famille Perrin, apparently made a concerted effort to do something better than it has done.

Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2019 $10 Hall of Fame. Buy many bottles, chill them, and then spend the summer enjoying their cheap goodness. What more can we ask of rose?

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Rose celebration 2018 begins on Monday

rose celebration 2018

Yes, I’ve tasted almost all of these in my search for the greatest cheap roses.

Win three wine books during the blog’s rose celebration 2018

The blog’s 11th annual rose extravaganza begins on Monday — rose celebration 2018. This is the second consecutive year we will devote an entire week to celebrate all that is wonderful about rose. Because, despite all the foolishness that has taken place over the past couple of years, rose remains one of the world’s great cheap wines.

Plus, of course, giveaways — three wine books on Thursday when I list the the best roses available this season. There will be rose news and reviews all week as part of our rose-fest, as well as state of rose in 2018 on Monday.

Until then, enjoy this commercial from the mid-1970s for Carlo Rossi Vin Rose — long before there was a Winestream Media, when the wine snobs thought rose was a flower, and the hipsters’ parents were still in high school.

Mother's Day wine

Mother’s Day wine 2018

Mother's Day wine 2018Four suggestions — red, white, rose, and sparkling — for Mother’s Day wine 2018

This Mother’s Day wine 2018 post is the 12th time we’ve done it on the blog, and one thing has remained consistent every year. Buy — or serve — Mom a wine she will like, and not something you think she should drink. Our Mother’s Day wine gift giving guidelines are here; the idea is to please your mother. What’s the point otherwise?

These Mother’s Day wine 2018 suggestions should get you started:

Arrumaco Verdejo 2016 ($8, purchased, 12%): A Spanish white that is a little richer than expected (more stone fruit than citrus), and as well made as all Arrumaco wines are. Imported by Hand Picked Selections

Scharffenberger Cellars Excellence Brut Rose NV ($24, purchased, 12%): This California sparking wine is impressive in many ways — the very aromatic raspberry fruit; the hint of spice that is a surprising and welcome note; and just the right amount of yeastiness, which lets the fruit show. Highly recommended.

Justin Rose 2017 ($18, sample, 13%): A California pink that is one of the shockers of rose season — a pricer wine from a winery best known for big red wine that is intriguing, almost subtle and delightful. Not nearly as fruity as I expected (barely ripe raspberry), with a little minerality and floral aroma. Highly recommended.

Domaine de Courbissac Les Traverses 2015 ($15, sample, 13%): This French red blend is delicious, and it’s even more delicious if you can find it for $12 (and it’s only about $9 in France). Mom wouldn’t want you to overpay. Look for some earth, a little rusticity, and black fruit. Imported by European Cellars

More about Mother’s Day wine:
Mother’s Day wine 2017
Mother’s Day wine 2016
Mother’s Day wine 2015
Two Murrieta’s Well wines

Memorial Day and rose

2018 rose season preview: Pink wine is everywhere, and it’s only April

2018 rose seasonThe 2018 rose season looks exceptional, but beware older vintages and skyrocketing prices

The 2018 rose season doesn’t start for another month or so, but I’ve already been inundated with pink wine. How does almost four cases of samples sound? Or the 25 percent off sale at a Dallas retailer earlier this month? Or more roses on store shelves than I have ever seen, including a number of southern hemisphere wines? I’ve tasted at least 60 roses since the beginning of the year, and it’s only the middle of April.

Best yet, the quality has been exceptional. I’ll have the details and lots of reviews at the end of May for the blog’s annual rose-fest. Until then, know that:

• I haven’t tasted a badly made wine yet. Some weren’t quite worth what they cost, but there is always wine like that. The Provencal Bieler Sabine ($10) and the Washington state Charles & Charles ($10) are up to their usual high standards, while the Angels & Cowboys ($15) is as good as the exceptional 2015 vintage. Even the oft-maligned La Vielle Ferme rose ($7), with the rooster on the label, was brighter and fresher, much more enjoyable than usual.

• The bad news: Prices are through the roof, as producers try to cash in on premiumization. Most of the usual $10 and $12 wines are still that price, but the market is being flooded with roses from $15 to as much as $30. Frankly, there’s just no need to pay $30 for quality rose. In addition, many of the $15 to $18 wines would be priced much lower if rose wasn’t so trendy.

• The other bad news: Distributors and producers are cleaning out their back rooms to take advantage of rose’s popularity, and I’ve seen lots and lots of old rose on store shelves – even a couple dating to 2013. Yes, five-year-old rose — a recipe for vinegar, not wine. Remember, unless you know the producer, don’t buy rose more than two years from the harvest – this season, that means nothing before 2015. Too old roses are almost always faded, funky, and a waste of money.

Wine of the week: Mulderbosch Rose 2017

mulderbosch roseThe Mulderbosch rose demonstrates, once again, that you don’t have to spend more than $10 to get terrific pink wine

Is the Mulderbosch rose pink wine for The Holiday that Must Not be Named? Check.

Does it have a screwcap? Check.

Consistent quality? Check.

Tremendous value? Check.

Tasty? Check.

In other words, South Africa’s Mulderbosch rose ($10, purchased, 12.5%) is everything a great cheap wine should be. And, believe it or not, widely available – grocery stores, even.

The 2017 vintage (which we’re getting now because the southern hemisphere is six months ahead of the northern in the harvest cycle) is much fresher and more flavorful than the 2016 that I tasted at the end of last year. That’s a reminder that most roses don’t age well, and you should always buy the most recent vintage and never one that is more than 18 months old.

The Mulderbosch is an odd rose since it’s made with cabernet sauvignon, which is a heavier-tasting grape than rose needs. But that’s rarely a problem with the wine; this vintage shows a little cabernet zippiness and some blackberry fruit, as well as a classic rose clean finish. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2019 $10 Hall of Fame.

Imported by Terroir Selections