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Aug 19, 2007 04:02 PM

Advice needed on small scale Rosé tasting party

I am relatively new to rosé but absolutely love the wine. I'd like to have an excuse to try several rosés at one time;however, I am not sure how to set it up. I was originally thinking of having three different regions then I thought of doing three different varietals. I am good with food part but I would appreciate any advice on wines and organization of the tasting. Here are the parameters:

1. The group is comprised of all red wine drinkers (except DH and myself) but they do like Cavas. They really like Zinfandels and Cabs specifically a Zin from Jessie's Grove winery in Lodi and Frank Family Cabernet. We have regular wine tastings so I prefer it to be well structured rather than three of my favorite rosés.
2. Budget is not an issue and I have access to a lot of sources and am planning this well in advance in case I need to have wine shipped.
3. Thinking of having three wines and a sparkling wine.
4. I will have light snacks with the tasting and then we can proceed to the rest of the dinner so they can enjoy their reds should the rosés not be to their liking.

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  1. Different regions might be fun. Limiting yourself to varietal wines would unfortunately strike several of the top rosés off your list of candidates, since they're blends. Another thing to bear in mind is that many rosés are insipid at best and candy-sweet dreck at worst. Given that you're going to be preaching to the doubtful, I wonder whether your best tactic mightn't be simply to select the best pink wines you can lay your hands on. Were I in your shoes, my lineup would include as many of the following as I could fit in:
    - Domaine Tempier's Bandol rosé (Mourvèdre-based blend)
    - Bruno Clair's Marsannay rosé (100% Pinot Noir)
    - Domaine d'Alzipratu's Corse Calvi "Cuvée Fiumessecu" (70% Sciaccarellu, 30% Niellucciu/Sangiovese)
    - Domaine de la Mordorée's Tavel (Grenache-based blend), because it's a benchmark, not because I particularly like it or any Tavel for that matter
    - Domaine Saint-Nicolas's Fiefs Vendéens "Cuvée Reflets" (a pretty Pinot Noir, Gamay and Groslot blend)
    - Billecart-Salmon NV Champagne rosé (Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir vinified as white and blended with Pinot Noir vinified as red)

    All French, I know, but in my experience France makes the best pink wines. You should also check out the recent "Any rosé recommendations?" thread:

    2 Replies
    1. re: carswell

      Carswell, all this rosé talk got me interested and I started hunting around the house (no cellar) and found a 2005 Chateau de Ségriès, Tavel ($11.99) recommended by K&L, which we opened for dinner with fresh green beans, tomatoes, onions and okra from the garden. I have to say we enjoyed it as it was so fresh and crisp and had to drink the whole bottle even with the leftover Chianti we had with our pasta. You said, “not because I particularly like it or any Tavel for that matter”, so are the other recommendations that much better? If so, Tracy L is in for a treat.

      1. re: BN1

        Fresh and crisp aren't the descriptors that spring to mind when I think of Tavel. Hot and blowsy are more like it. In contrast to the short maceration time used when making most other rosés, the grapes for Tavel rosé are traditionally left to macerate for up to two days, then pressed and fermented like white wine. To my palate, the resulting rosé is dense, powerful, dull and unrefreshing.

        That said, I've no experience with the Château de Ségriès rosé, though I see from various websites that they're viewed as innovators and use the "saignée" process and limit maceration to overnight, both of which would produce a fresher, lighter wine. The WSJ (6/1/07) also appears to agree with your assessment: "Lovely, light and flavorful, with cherries, raspberries and a touch of orange zest. Clean and fresh, with good balancing acidity. A complete wine. Excellent with food. VERY GOOD - BEST OF TASTING." (BTW, the suggested retail price as $17.99, so sounds like you got a deal.) If the Ségriès is as you describe, it'd be a first for Tavel in my experience. The exception that proves the rule or the harbinger of a new trend? In any case, thanks for the heads-up.

    2. Second on Tempier and Billecart-Salmon.

      Chateau Simone is great.

      Robert Sinskey's rosé of pinot noir's the best California rosé I've had.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Third on the Tempier and Billecart-Slamon. If budget REALLY isn't an issue, the Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Elisabeth is usually a breathtaking wine, the '96 being easily the greatest Rose Champagne I've ever had (and one of the best Champagnes of any style). I have yet to try the '98, though.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Second on the Robert Sinskey rosé of pinot. Relatively affordable too, compared to his other offerings, though may not be as easy to find as the Domaine Tempier.

          And fourth on the Billecart-Salmon. But given that the OP is a new rosé drinker, I'm a little afraid that having her start with the Billecart may ruin her taste buds with all other rosés for good, and maybe champagne as well. The first time I had CdP was a Beaucastel, and few if any CdP's following have ever lived up to it. Maybe work your way up to a Billecart?

          1. re: mengathon

            The Sinskey's quite expensive as still rosés go. More expensive than the Tempier, which is a considerably better wine.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Strange, I'm pretty sure the Tempier is more expensive than the Sinskey. I seem to recall not being able to find the Tempier rosé for less than $27-30 in NYC, yet buying the '06 Sinskey rosé for right around $20. I also don't agree that the Tempier is a considerably better wine, but they're both very pleasurable.

              1. re: mengathon

                I guess I've just found the Tempier at a good discount. Looks like it lists for around $30 vs. $20 for the Sinskey. There's so little of the latter that it doesn't get discounted much.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            RSV does make an excellent Rose of Pinot(I guess it is easy to do when you have such amazing fruit). His most recent vintage is a Vin Gris 2006 which is very highly sought after but very difficult to find.

            I recently tried Belle Glos' rose of Pinot which I thought was quite good -- in the lower $20s.

            I would highly recommend obtaining a Cote de Provence if you are doing a rose tasting as well as a Tavel -- IMO these are how roses should be made and are the model for a rose producers around the world. I have had Domaine Tempier's Bandol (cannot recall which vintage) and liked it quite a bit. If you want to be trendy and overpay for rose (a good rose nonetheless) get Domaine Ott -- either the Cote de Provence or he Bandol Rose.

          3. I’m a fan of Jessie’s Grove Zin too and have avoided rosé like the plague in the past. However, I just bought a Goldeneye, “Migration”, Vin Gris of Pinot Noir. It was $20 at the winery.

            1. This is just me but I've enjoyed rosés from Spain, Italy AND France. I think that it would be cool to cross a few borders during your journey. Again, this is just me.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Chinon00

                I've like Spanish rosados but have yet to encounter an Italian rosé that thrills. (The closest I've come is a one-off Rosato di Nebbiolo made from California grapes by Bonny Doon, a fabulous wine.) Any reccos?

                1. re: carswell

                  From Puglia, try the Metiusco Salento Rosso or try a Cal-Ital rosato from Palmina called Botasea.

                  1. re: carswell

                    I'd reco 2 Italian rosatos.

                    Current favorite is Bastianich 2006 Rosato Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC. Made from 100% Refosco. Just had some I discovered last week, and it's a new favorite rose.

                    In previous years, I've also had luck with Cantalupos "Il Mimo" rosato if nebbiolo, though I'm personally finding this year's model a bit sweet for my seems to have a touch of residual sugar in it.

                    As far as Spanish Roses, current favs are old vine garnachas (i.e., grenache) from the Navarra regoin. Crisp, clean, loaded with strawberry flavors, but not at all sweet. All the bottles I've found that fit under this definition are pretty good, so if you can't find specific marks, pick one and give it a shot. I've had good luck with Artazuri, and a more mass market brand called "Two Guitars"

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I agree. But in prior years, it seemed less so. I bought a case at the beginning of the summer, based on past experience, and I think I've still got 7-8 bottles left. In the meantime, I must have had 2-3 cases of other roses. I just didn't enjoy the Mimo. Don't know if they intentionally left it sweeter to broaden appeal or what, but it just seems different this season.

                2. If you want to have the central coast (California) represeted at your party, may I suggest L'Aventure Rosé 2006. It is elegant and complex, with notes of strawberry. Sounds like a great party.