Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Rosé That Drinks Like a Red

For years the US was awash in a particular kind of rosé wine (White Zinfandel) that was soft pink, softly flavored, and sweetly innocuous. They were quaffers, with very little flavor and virtually no substance. Now, there are rosés for every taste, from light, salmon-colored dry Tavel to zesty Italian and Spanish wines made from a blend of full-bodied grapes. As you might suspect from seeing the dark color of the wine to the right, these richer, rounder rosés can drink more like red wines than white wines and stand up to everything from pepperoni pizza to grilled cheeseburgers without any problem.

Because they are chilled, they seem lighter and more refreshing than red wines--especially on warm summer evenings when just the thought of drinking a red can be a little daunting (even if you've stuck it in the fridge for a bit like you're supposed to in order to get its temperature down into the 60s).

We just had a robust rosé in the 2007 Pere Guardiola Floresta Rosado, which is made from a blend of Grenache, Merlot, and Carignane, which is known as Mazuela in this region. ($9.99, Weimax; also available from The Spanish Table for $11.99). It has the color of pomegranate juice: a very clear and dark red. When opened, you could smell raspberry, pomegranate juice, and even some cranberry. The flavor spectrum was more inclined to ripe raspberry, and there was some wet stone as well as a zing of cranberry in the aftertaste. There was a surprising amount of grip and pucker from tannins in the wine, but they only helped to balance out all the fruit. This was a juicy, flavorful wine that I think would be perfect for Indian Summer weather, and represented very good QPR for its reasonable complexity and attractive price.

This Pere Guardiola Floresta Rosado seems made for Paella or something spicy made with chorizo, but don't be afraid to pair it with other dishes. Rosés are very flexible when it comes to food pairings, and they seem especially adept at handling culinary curve balls and weird mixes of flavors and textures. I pasted together a vaguely Mediterranean meal with a slightly unorthodox chicken piccata, garlic mashed potatoes, and a salad of fennel, orange, and arugula. That's a lot for a wine to handle--garlic, lemon, orange, anise, garlic, artichokes, capers, and olives. And this wine handled it.

Even though the summer is waning, there's still at least eight good weeks of rosé weather ahead of us in most parts of this country. If you are looking for something a bit different than the pale salmon French rosés with which you started out the summer season, switch over to some rosés that drink like reds from Italy and Spain.

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6 comments:

D J R-S said...

Debs, had to check the 'footer' to see the wine is from DO E-Costa Brava...it's the Catalan DO I know least about.

Philip James said...

Ive had a few deep, dark Alsatian Rose Pinot Noirs that are almost red wines in color and character. Still served chilled, but maybe not super cold, I found them to be great summer wines that could hold up to bigger meals like BBQ

dhonig said...

Great post. I like Roses that taste like they had a real relationship with the skins, rather than a nameless quickie in the loo (too graphic?). Another that fits the bill is the Crios Rose of Malbec, for people looking for one that is widely distributed and easy to find.

Jill said...

Oh, the Floresta wines are from one of my favorite importers - Beaune Imports! They only have a few Spanish wines in their portfolio but all are fantastic, including the white and red Floresta wines that I tasted a while back. I don't think I tried the rosé, but it sounds delicious!

fredric koeppel said...

sounds like a great rose, I'll have to look for it. another shimmering vividly colored rose is the Angoves Nine Vines 07 from Australia.

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks everybody for the other recommendations and for dhonig for the vivid image! Won't forget that in a hurry! DJ, this is my first wine from Emporda-Costa Brava as well and it wasn't even listed as an appellation in most of the resources I checked. Eager to find out more about the wine that's made there.