Thursday, March 27, 2008

Readers' Request: Roses and Reading Suggestions

Today's post is devoted to the mail bag, and specifically to answering a few requests I received this week from readers. Their requests were, I felt, worthy of a post of their own and I hope that other bloggers and readers will chip in with help if you can. (photo Liq Wine by Jeremy Brooks)

First, a reader asked if I could suggest some roses for an upcoming tasting he's going to that will feature 4-5 rose wines (including some sparkling wines). You can check out all my reviews of rose wines from the past year by clicking here. Roses are meant to be drunk when they are still young, for the most part, and I haven't tasted any new releases this year, but here are some names to look out for when you're in the store, keeping in mind that there may be more recent vintages:

2005 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir Vin Gris El Jabali Vineyard ($20). Pale salmon in color, this dry wine tends slightly towards copper. The aromas were of field-fresh, slightly under-ripe strawberries, or those little French wild strawberries called frais des bois. Tart strawberry flavors, too, with no hint of watermelon. Very distinctive.

2006 Fort Ross Pinot Noir Rose ($16) This beautifully perfumed dry rose has abundant raspberry fruit and a delicious mineral streak.

The NV Domaine Allimant-Laugner Brut Rose is a beautiful, drinkable, and affordable rose sparkling wine that I reviewed just last week. The aromas were full of strawberry, with some mineral notes just around the edges. 100% Pinot Noir grapes go into the wine, which accounted for these aromas, and the same strawberry and mineral combination was also present in the flavors. The finish was reasonably long, and the mineral notes became pleasantly chalky. Domaine Allimant-Laugner is made in the Champagne method, so it will suit traditionalists down to the ground.

How about a pink sparkling dessert wine? The 2007 Innocent Bystander Muscat ($9.99/375ml, domaine547), with its beautiful pink color and aromas of juicy peach and strawberry, is a winner. You pop the crown cap on this little bottle, and everything about the experience is light, summery, refreshing, and fun. The flavors keep up this playful spirit, continuing with the peach and strawberry but adding some clementine to add some zing and freshness. Absolutely yummy!

Had a good rose lately? Put it in the comments for this reader.

Another reader asked if I could suggest a few book titles for a wine lover who is just starting out on their journey. I continue to think that Andrea Immer Robinson's Great Wine Made Simple is one of the best books for someone just beginning to get into wine. She is particularly good at explaining the major varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, etc) and explaining new world and old world styles of wine-making. If you would prefer an overview of major wine styles that is regional, rather than varietal, in its focus, try Oz Clarke's Introducing Wine: A Complete Guide for the Modern Wine Drinker. Clarke has a wonderful writing style, and can really help you understand the world's most interesting wines that you will definitely want to try. Karen MacNeil's The Wine Bible is, in my opinion, the best all-around reference book for someone new to wine, combining clear explanations with lots of coverage. It begins with terrific overviews on how wine is made, suggestions on how to shop for wine, and instructions on how to taste wine. Jancis Robinson's How to Taste is the best book for helping any new wine lover understand what the hell we are talking about when we describe a wine--and she helps you figure out how you can taste it, too. Anybody else have suggestions of books that were helpful to them when they were just starting out?

Hope these help. And if any of the rest of you have questions for me, drop me a line or leave a note in the comments section of any post. I'll get back to you--I promise!--and you may see it answered here on the blog to get some more feedback.


Richard Auffrey said...

I have tasted two Roses very recently and enjoyted both of them. They are both good values as well.

2006 Vieille Julienne Rose ($9.59). Domaine de la Vieille Julienne is located in the northern end of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. This wine is a blend of 30% Grenache, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 10% Syrah & Carignan. Very light pink in color with an interesting strawberry nose. Good red fruit flavors, strawberry and watermelon, with a drier finish. Only a hint of sweetness and the flavors were more subtle.

2006 Espelt Corali Rose ($11) from the Emporda DOC of Spain. This wine is made of 100% Garnacha. This Rose is more in the style of a French Rose, a bit drier and much less sweet than a California Rose. It has a light strawberry flavor.

My favorite Rose of last year was the 2006 Verdad Rose ($13) from the Santa Ynez Valley of CA. All organic. Wine is made of 85% Grenache and 15% Mourvedre. A bit sweeter than the other two Roses. Has excellent fruit flavors, with strawberry being the most prominent. Very crisp and refreshing.

Velvet Fog said...

Presidio Rose.
Organic & Biodynamic
It rocks.

Anonymous said...

I was the one who asked for book recommendations. My library has each of the books you recommended, and I placed holds for them. I can't wait to read them. Thanks for the suggestions!

Anonymous said...

I had two nice Provencal rosés was the 2007 Saint Roche Les Vignes Rose, which is a blend of Grenache and Cinsault. The other was Domaine de la Fouquette's 2007 bottling, which is also Grenache and Cinsault, but includes a small amount of Rolle (aka Vermentino). Both should retail for the $13 to $16 range. The 2007s aren't yet in stores, though, but the 2006s will likely be similar.

Debra Morgan said...

Anton Bauer Rose from Austria, meaty and dry blend, bumped-up with syrah. A great turkey wine.
Another Austrian rose I like is the Tegerseerhoff zwiegelt rose, a delicate tea-rose with hints of white pepper and raspberry.
Both wines are imported by KWSelections.

Sonadora said...

I really enjoy the Grand Cassagne Rose I get from Domaine547, very inexpensive and great quality. I had a Grenache Rose from Quivara recently that I also enjoyed.

Rebecca Rethore said...

Dr. Deb's got a stellar list going for must have wine books. The only one I have to add is Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Wine (Mark Oldman). I argue you should start here; it's a great primer to the others listed. Very accessible approach to wine. Enjoy, Charles!

Dr. Debs said...

Terrific tips, everbody. I've got those roses on my own shopping wish list now. Thanks, too, Rebecca, for the book tip. I haven't been in the market for a newbie book for a while, but I will definitely be looking at that one based on your recommendation.