20 January 2009

A Small Bouquet of Rosé

How about some extra posts this week?

With much rejoicing, I celebrate the fact that dry rosés have enough market share to remain on the shelves well past the hot summer months. These wines have gone from curiosity to fad in the past couple of years, but I think they still occupy an odd spot in the old food+wine thinking. While these are the perfect beverages of summer, let's not forget their ability to pair with a wide range of food and to appeal to a wide range of palates and experience levels.

First up is the 2006 A to Z Oregon Rosé. $12, 13% abv, and a label set primarily in Zapfino. Made from 100% Sangiovese harvested in Southern Oregon. It's pretty rich and full bodied for a rosé, and is a little off-dry. Aromas and flavors of strawberry and watermelon, and it's got a bit of that Jolly Rancher approach to both. I paired it with leftover mushroom lasagne and a little salad... Comfort food on a rainy afternoon.

Now let's turn our attention to Spain with the 2007 Condesa de Leganza Rosado. $12, 12.5% abv. Pure Tempranillo from the La Mancha region. Nose of light raspberry and apples. Bright, refreshing flavor with a sangria tang to it. Dry but fruity, with a tannic edge on the finish. On the color front, is it just me or are many rosés getting darker?

For some reason I've been on a linguistics kick recently, so get ready for some more amateur analysis. While Alaskan native tribes don't really have dozens of words for snow, some languages are better at describing nuances than others. Greek is far better than English when it comes to love, which would make life far less complicated for our nation's teenagers. In a similar vein, the French have an impressive vocabulary to describe rosés. Here's a partial list, and I'll note that doing research in a language you don't fully speak is sort of like walking with concrete blocks tied to your feet, so my apologies for any errors in translation, and I welcome any native-speaking French rosé fans to correct this list, which is in alphabetical as opposed to chromatic order:
  • blanc taché - stained white
  • clairet - pale
  • faible - weak
  • gris - gray
  • jaune orangé - yellow-orange
  • oeil-de-perdrix - eye of the partridge (Très poétique, non?)
  • orange - orange
  • pelure d'oignon - onion skin
  • rosé franc - free or frank pink
  • rosé jaune - yellow-pink
  • rosé orange - orange-pink
  • rosé vif - sharp pink
  • rosé violet - purple-pink
  • roux - russet-red
  • tuile - tile (like a Spanish tile roof)
Obviously other languages have their own descriptive terms for the various shades between red and white, but I leave that exercise to other writers. In closing, often cross-cultural understanding can produce something new and unique. The American songwriter Jim Steinman wrote "Total Eclipse of the Heart", which was popularized by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler and it became a huge hit in the mid-80s. Years later the Norwegian band Hurra Torpedo made it awesome with the help of some household appliances.


Samantha Dugan said...

Aint Rose grand?! For years it was a tradition on summer Sundy mornings to hit up the farmers market and spend the afternoon cooking all the fresh goodies we found while downing bottle after bottle of icy cold Rose. Although like you said, I have noticed people drinking Rose, (it is warm here most of the time) all year long now....I find that I suffer a bit of Rose burn out but September but by January I am ready for more!

I've yet to try that A to Z but I'm puzzled that they didnt make a Rose of Pinot Noir...some of those Oregon Pinot Roses are truly fantastic.

You are correct that there seems to be more deeply colored Rose on the market now, as a fan of the lighter, uber dry Provencal style Rose I was worried at first but I have found that those darker Roses have brought more Rose drinkers to the table so it is all good in my book!

Benito said...


It can be a hard road as a dry rosé fan. Sometimes it's like being the lacrosse fan at a Super Bowl party; rooting for neither white nor red but somehow shunned by both. However, I think the country is really warming up to these delightful wines, and I hope that they don't get too sweet or strong.

On the color front, my favorites are the orange/onion skin rosés, followed closely by the purple-pink ones that show just a hint of blue in the right light (I tend to call those ones lavender).

Kyle Jones said...

does the Z stand for Zapfino? heh