Poor misunderstood rosé wine. A victim of its own success and its own inherent appeal. The problem lies in the fact that poorly situated red grapes can almost always be made to taste acceptable with rosé wine methods. So at the first hint that the market will accept something pink-colored, there follows a flood of red wine byproduct masquerading as original wine. In the old days this was “White Zinfandel.” Now we tell ourselves that a rosé will be good if its dry rather than sweet. This is not true. Grapes farmed and harvested to be red wine are selected for rather more alcohol and lower acid, so the rosé that result from this type of farming tend to lack freshness and complexity. They are boring and deserve to be sold only for low prices. This wine, by contrast, was conceived and incubated as a rosé. (No Lodi Merlot nor Napa Sangiovese here!) Why? There is a point to be made in defense of pleasure. Hedonism before rationalism. Rise up! Proprietor Randall Grahm has visionary independence, and it shows. Let’s invite him to town.
Short Name: Rosé
Full Name: 2013 Vin Gris de Cigare
Producer: Bonny Doon
$8 glass, $32 bottle
Varieties: 55% grenache, 23.5% mourvèdre, 10% roussanne, 2.5% carignane, 2% grenache blanc, 7% cinsaut
Description: “Discreet nose of alpine strawberry, evolving into a refreshing mintiness with additional air and warming. On the palate, a beautiful natural crispness and a great sleek and savory texture” – RG
Comparables: Provençal rosé, and – if served warm enough – white zinfandel. Warm, because warmth makes wine taste sweeter.
Pairings: Think of this as a white wine, without oak and with body. So: any seafood, any cold food, any vegetable, anything spicy, anything salty, and anything with egg yolks.
Interesting Technical Facts: Made with grapes that were farmed intentionally for rosé wine, in other words balanced appropriately between alcohol and acidity. This makes such a huge difference.