Big Wine delivers price, value and quality with this vintage of the Bota Box rose
Big Wine’s rose offerings have often been indifferent, with little consistency in style and quality, plus more sweetness than dry rose requires. Because, of course, Big Wine. So how has Delicato done so well with the past three vintages of the Bota Box rose, and especially with the 2018?
Call it our good fortune as we celebrate the blog’s 12th annual rose extravaganza. In fact, this version of the Bota Box rose ($16/3-liter box, sample, 11.5%) is the best of the three – more structure, more interest, and more going on than you get in most box wines. And the price is amazing – three liters is four bottles, so this is the equivalent of $4 a bottle.
The 2018 is fruitier than the previous efforts (berries and a little lemon?), as well as crisp and refreshing, just like a dry rose is supposed to be. In this, it’s not just a one-note wine, like last year’s was, and it’s more rounded than the 2016 version. That wine was enjoyable, but not necessarily something you believed in. The 2018 is not just better made with better quality grapes, but you can taste the difference.
Best yet, the Bota Box rose is actually dry. Delicato has resisted the temptation to tart the wine up after it has established a market, something that’s common practice among Big Wine companies. So more good fortune for those of use who care about value and not Instagram posts.
Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2020 $10 Hall of Fame and the 2020 Cheap Wine of the Year.
This week’s wine news: All rose, all the time, to celebrate the blog’s 12th annual rose extravaganza
• Under $15: The Refinery29 website lists 14 roses costing less than $15, and it’s mostly a good list – including a couple of canned pinks. Credit for sticking to affordable wines, which rarely happens with rose these days. Availability may be a problem, but there’s nothing new about that, is there? The biggest dud on the list is Aldi’s $8 Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence, which wowed NBC’s Today show last year (and which underwhelmed me). This vintage, though, isn’t even that well made. I bought it last night, and it wasn’t really Provencal in style, had some sort of weird Jolly Rancher fruity sweetness, and was very disjointed. The bottle is still three-quarters full; that almost never happens in my house.
• Rose beer: Because that’s what the world needs, right? MarketWatch reports that two Texas producers, Spoetzl Brewery and Kiepersol Winery in east Texas, have combined for a rose-flavored beer. The beer uses grape must and is aged in wine barrels, and is supposed to be made in a style ro accentuate the rose flavor. I’ll leave the verdict about whether it’s worth drinking to those much younger and much more hip than I.
• 25 best roses: VinePair lists its 2019 rose honor roll, and it’s proud that the “prices are reasonable” for the 25, since only two cost more than $30. Frankly, I’d rather drink three bottles of the Bieler Sabine than buy a $30 rose, but I may be too old and not hip enough to appreciate rose any more. Plus, save for the $10 Tortoise Creek from the great Mel Masters and the Sicilian Planeta pink, the list is missing a lot of top-notch roses, and especially from Spain.
Win four Luminarc wine glasses during the blog’s rose celebration 2019
The blog’s 12th annual rose extravaganza begins on Tuesday — rose celebration 2019. This is the third consecutive year we’ll devote most of the week to celebrate rose, perhaps the last bastion of great cheap wine.
Plus, of course, a giveaway — four Luminarc wine glasses on Thursday when I list the the best roses available this season. Plus, two more days of rose reviews, as well as rose news on Tuesday.
Four suggestions — red, white, rose, and sparkling — for Mother’s Day wine 2019
Mother’s Day wine 2019: The 13th time we’ve toasted Mom on the blog, and always with an eye toward value and quality. Isn’t that how Mom raised you? Our Mother’s Day wine gift giving guidelines are here; the idea is to please your mother and not yourself. Because it is Mother’s Day, isn’t it?
These Mother’s Day wine 2019 suggestions should get you started:
• Birichino Malvasia Bianca 2015 ($17, purchased, 13%): This California white is wine geek worthy, that doesn’t mean others won’t like it. It offers all the character the malavasia bianca grape can give (floral, honey, a little orange); that it still has structure and acidity after more than four years is amazing.
• Dellara Cava Brut NV ($7, purchased, 11.5%): This Spanish bubbly has the requisite cava character — tart lemon and green apple fruit and a bit of minerality. It’s a step up from what Freixenet has become, and at the same price. Imported by Mack & Schuhle
• Ferraton Père & Fils Samorëns Rose 2018 ($13, sample, 13.5%): This French pink is consistent — a little heavier than Provence rose and more red Rhone in style (cherry instead of berry fruit). But it’s also consistently well made. Imported by Sera Imports
This week’s wine news: All the ways the booze business is taking rose and trying to turn it into something else, in its attempt to ruin it for the rest of us
• Make everything rose! Rebecca Jennings, writing on Vox, explains why we must suffer through rose vodka, rose mustard and all the rest: “Why would an alcoholic drink want to taste like a wholly different alcoholic drink? … It’s because rosé is no longer a drink but a way of life, so much so that it’s almost a cliché to even point this out.” I don’t know that she has the rose timeline exactly correct (there’s more to the trend than a Whole Foods in southern California), but it’s an otherwise fine analysis about why the booze world is trying to ruin rose.
• Expensive rose forever! The Wine Curmudgeon is not trying to be snarky, but I honestly can’t figure out what this story from the Wine Enthusiast is trying to say. Is expensive rose worth the hundreds of dollars it costs? Or not? If anyone can tell, please let me know. Having said that, I thought this bit was a tremendous example of winespeak – almost poetic, and almost devoid of any meaning: “To James, just like well-crafted reds and whites, rosés crafted soulfully from grower-producers justify the price tag.” Crafted soulfully, indeed.
• Bring on the NBA! And how about this ultra-hipster trend – pro basketball stars drinking wine with rose? Get ready for some breathless prose: “It’s no secret that the NBA loves wine. With the multi-million dollar contracts and luxury lifestyles, it seems safe to assume the league’s favorite bottles would be well out of reach for the average wine drinker. But it turns out that former Miami Heat superstar Dwayne Wade’s choice of rosé is just $20 a bottle.” Wow! Just $20 a bottle. Who knew rose was so cheap?
Expect higher princes for 2019 rose season because that’s the way the system works
The 2019 rose season is barely underway, and the wine business foolishness is in full swing. How else to explain a $22 rose I saw in a top Dallas retailer the other day whose only claim to fame is that it’s named after one of the places the hipsters go to drink rose?
Or, as rose winemaker extraordinare Charles Bieler said during our podcast last month: Be wary – the wine business is going to do everything it can to screw up rose.
• Expect to pay a little more this year, as much as $15 for quality pink. This isn’t as much premiumizaton as it is supply and demand, given rose’s increasing popularity. There is still plenty of top-notch rose for $8 and $10, but importers and distributors are going to try and take price increases where they can.
• Expect to see more very expensive rose – $50 and up – on the market. I talked to a Chicago sommelier for a magazine story about rose, and she said she can’t get enough of the pricey stuff. Apparently, high-end wine drinkers want trophy rose just like they want trophy red wine. Which defeats the purpose of rose, but that’s their problem.
• Expect to see the wine geeks lusting after Austrian rose. Yes, I know there is almost none of it and most of it don’t even know it exists (and especially if you don’t live on the east coast). But that’s why they’re wine geeks. California rose should also be trendy this season, as more mainstream wine drinkers decide to try rose but will only buy it if it comes from the same region they buy merlot and chardonnay.
Reviews 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 – two California and two French.
• Oak Ridge OZV Rose 2018 ($15, sample, 13.8%): This California pink, made with zinfandel, is a heavier, red wine-style rose, that needs food. Look for crisp, almost black fruit.
• Toad Hollow Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($17, sample, 13.9%): Major winemaking going on with this California red. Somehow, it’s sweet and tart at the same time, with nary a tannin in sight. One more example of focus group wine aimed at people who don’t drink wine.
• Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Blanc 2017 ($18, purchased, 13%): This French white is chardonnay from the Beaujolais region, not something you see much on store shelves. It’s well made, with green apple fruit, some minerality, a touch of mouth feel, but that it costs $18 speaks to the dearth of quality chardonnay that tastes like chardonnay at less than this price. Imported by Kermit Lynch
• Charles Joguet Chinon Cuvée Terroir 2015 ($17, purchased, 13%): French red made with cabernet franc from the Loire that is a little fruitier (black cherry?) than I expected, and not quite as earthy. But well made and enjoyable, and a food wine for barbecues and steak frites. Imported by Kermit Lynch