Monday, April 30, 2007

Catavino Virtual Rose Tasting #3: the Spanish Entry

The Catavino Virtual Tasting for April closes today. This month I've had three wonderful rose wines, and I concluded with this bright pink beauty from the Rioja.

One of the reasons Gabriella came up with this tasting theme was that she wanted to compare Spanish roses with those from other regions and I can report that based on my experiences Spanish wines are different.

But they're different in an intriguing way that surprised me.

Briefly put, the Spanish wine that I had seemed to be much more reflective of the place where the grapes were grown and the wine was made. It was less about indefinable pink fruit, and more about the soil and the growing conditions. In this case, that means the limestone vineyards of the Rioja. Located on the north-west coast of Spain, this area has maritime influences, a warm Mediterranean-type climate, and rocky soil. The 2005 Cortijo III Rose ($9.99, Beverages and More) managed to capture each of these essences.

The wine was an extraordinary bright rose pink (which I understand it typical of roses from this region) and had a briny, sea-air aroma upon first opening the wine with the merest hints of fruit around the edges. When you sipped it, the first taste you came to terms with was stone, and then raspberry. Both were wrapped up in a steely, bone dry package. Made with 100% Grenache grapes, which are usually sweet and fruity when in red wines, in a rose these characteristics were much less in evidence. Still, it did have a kind of tannic edge which would, I think, make this wine popular with red wine lovers who don't usually like rose, as well as those who prefer wines that are less fruit-forward. Excellent QPR.

We had the wine with a Mediterranean-inspired scallop dish that combined seared shellfish with pasta, orange, mint, and olives. It was delicious, and brought out the sea-air tang of the wine. As a cold pasta salad, it is perfect for taking out onto your balcony, deck, patio, or terrace and enjoying along with a cool rose wine.

A big thanks to Gabriella and Ryan at Catavino who dreamed up this event and were our fearless leaders. Check out all the rose reviews that have been posted over in the rose forum. FYI: they are much more interesting than those in the latest edition of Wine Spectator!


Sonadora said...

I think I am most shocked by the variety of colors present in the roses! Even the one I tried was quite different than the normal pinkish color I've come to expect from these wines.

winedeb said...

This was such a good theme. I totaly enjoyed selecting and tasting the ones I had. Also found something new to fiddle with - temperature. Yes, I must say while tasting these I was using a themometer to see what temps tasted best. I came to some great conclusions as far as bringing out the fruit and taming the alcohol of the Roses'. I plan on doing more research on the temp issue and sharing my info soon!

Dr. Debs said...

Couldn't agree with both of you more. The color variation was totally shocking--I think we have been warped too much by white zinfandel. And it was a great theme. When you figure out the temp thing, Winedeb, let us know. There definitely was a peak drinking temp for each wine, which was usually warmer than I thought it would be.