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Rosés: looking for one that is darker, sultry, lush and fat?

I've been noticing (and grabbing) the summer build-up of rosés showing up at the wine shops and departments. I enjoy rosés not only because they seem perfect for the summer, I like their versatility and their general characteristics as a wine. When I think of a typical rosé, its profile is dry to semi-dry, crisp, raspberries and strawberries with a tart citrus finish.

There's been one rosé that has haunted me for a few years now. A local wine bar that is no longer around had a rosé that was very different. Unlike a typical rosé, it was darker - like the skin on a plum. The I would describe the taste and bouquet as similar to a plum but with ripe lush cherries as well. The level of acid was relatively low, and it had a sultry finish. I recall the wine was a rosato from Spain - I believe the winery was Zarzales. Is anyone familiar with this style of rosé, or this particular rosato from Zarzales? I'm in Southern California and have yet to find this style of rosé in any of the wine sources I regularly visit. Any leads would be welcome. Thanks in advance.

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  1. While not as dark as you desire, I love a rose from Gigondas, Gour de Chaule, http://www.madrose.com/bonfilsprint.html also imported by Rosenthal. Though with the dollar so weak the price has gone up from about 18.00 to 27.00 in recent years. it's nice and heavy for a rose. My fave.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MOREKASHA

      Actually, the dollar is quite strong...Neal is getting greedy

      1. re: Vinny Barbaresco

        True, but they buy in advance. I believe that this years Rose prices were proably set last Autumn. There used to be another importer out of the Carolinas who also imported the same product and their prices were in line w/his.

      2. re: MOREKASHA

        Had a wonderful Rosé from Gigondas (Perrin? Gotta' check), that was light in color, but that did not bely the full-body that it possessed. I served it to some, who were surprised at the body. They were all expecting it to be as light as the coloration, but it was more like a hefty Cab, or full-bodied Granache. Think I am down to 1 btl. from a full case, and will dig around and tell you how it aged.


      3. Wine Searcher shows the Zarzales is at Pacific Wine Merchant in Upland.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SteveTimko

          Thanks - I'll give them a call. Upland's a stretch, but it may be worth the drive.

        2. If you're closer to Santa Monica try Wine Expo. Ask Roberto or Eric what they have that's similar. I don't see Zarzales on their site, but they may have some other ideas.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Midlife

            If you're farther south, try Wine Country in Long Beach/Signal Hill.

            1. re: SteveTimko

              Just got an email saying The Wine Country has the Domaine Tempier Bandol in stock. Like Ernie below says, maybe not darker but.....


            2. re: Midlife

              Went to Wine Expo and picked up seven various rosés - mostly Italian - which Wine Expo mostly carries. So far, the results have been disappointing. The styles are very different, and the Italian roses sure are lacking in bouquet. Don't know if these selections are just the style, or if they're just plain flat. But it's been a good education on my part to at least venture into these particular rosés. I appreciate the tip just the same.

              1. re: bulavinaka

                Did Roberto have the Metiusco in stock? It's the only rosato I buy there.

                Other wise, I buy roses from Provence and the surrounding environs.

                1. re: vinosnob

                  I didn't ask and I was pointed to a section of rosés that were right by the entrance. The gentleman didn't seem interested in engaging me (was totally caught up on the computer), so I grabbed what I thought might lean in the direction of what I was looking for, walked the rest of the store, paid, and left. Definitely the least personable wine merchant I've ever run into...

                  I've enjoyed those rosés from Provence, but I think Maria Lorraine hit the target.

            3. Not darker, but definitely lush and sultry, are either Tavel or something from Bandol.

                1. The Rosés/Rosados from Spain that are much darker than regular Rosés are made in the style called clarete, so you might search for other clarete or claretes, since this is the style you like.

                  This style of rosado is the standard one in Rioja Alta, especially in the towns of San Asensio, Hormilla, Badarán, Azofra, Cárdenas and Cordovin, according to the website below. So you might look for those place names as well.

                  Very near Rioja Alta is the wine region (DO) of Cigales, and there are there are two Zarzales rosados/claretes from that region that I've come across. One is the Avelino Vegas Zarzales Rosado, found at Pacific in Upland as mentioned upthread; the other is the Caja Ellas Zarzales Cigale Rosado. You might try calling the store that carries the Avelino Vegas and asking who their US importer is, who can then tell you where else the wine can be located. Or go to the winery site, and send them an email with the same query.

                  Read more about the clarete style of Rosado here:

                  If the facts are correct in that writeup, it's vinifed slightly different from regular Rosado. Longer skin contact, a blend of both red and white grapes, etc.

                  Let us know what else you find. Good luck.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    maria lorraine,

                    Wow - thank you for the information. I'm trending toward the lighter spectrum of wines as the weather warms, particularly the reds (which I include rosés for my purposes), so this really helps. Your knowledge is amazing and indispensable!

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Just wanted to give you a heads-up on spelling, so you can find the wine of your memory,
                      and the name of two other producers.

                      Vegas is usually Vega.
                      Avelino is sometimes Avellino, though the winery name is usually listed only as Vega.
                      Cigales is sometimes Cigale.

                      Both Ruta and Luna also make a clarete-style Rosado, so you may seek them out as well.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        While I agree ther are many interesting claretes from Rioja and Cigales. I must point out that Cigales is over 200km from Rioja Alta primarily in the province Valladolid.

                        Each region has different guidelines or traditions for rosado blend. In Cigales which is primarily a rosado region, they must be at least 60% tempranillo and 20% white (usually albillo). I must disagree with your characterization of Cigales being very near Rioja Alta. DO Cigales is primarily located in in province Vallodolid over 200km away.

                        The rosados made in Rioja are not as regulated but most often are made from garnacha (surprisingly more are grown in Rioja Baja than Rioja Alta). The Navarra region is quite close to Rioja and also has similarly garnacha based rosados.

                        1. re: Trip Klaus

                          What's very near is Ribera del Duero: 16 miles from Cabezon to Tudela De Duero.

                          Just checked the distance between the eastern edge of Cigales (province Valladolid, region Castile-Leon) to the southwestern edge or Rioja Alta and it's just over a hundred miles. Not far for those in the US, but farther than Ribera del Duero. Stylistically a bit closer.

                          Have some favorite Rosados/Claretes, Trip?

                      2. Just wanted to say I had one yesterday that is exact opposite of what you're looking for and it was tasty. I had the 2009 Ameztoi Rubetis. It was high acid, enough it needed food, and mineral driven. With watermelon flavors and some spritz. Really good stuff.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: SteveTimko

                          BOOO! ;) Sounds like a winner - glad you enjoyed it!

                            1. re: MOREKASHA

                              The Basque region of Spain. I think it's spelled Rubentis.

                          1. A coupla suggestions.
                            From Languedoc-Roussillon, a Minervois rose (Ch.d'Oupia, Ch. Coupe-Roses), or a Corbieres vin gris (Domaine de Fonsaintes). From Italy, a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Cerasuolo (Cataldi-Madonna), a Salento rosato (Rosa del Golfo), or a Ciro rosato (Librandi). From Greece, Gaia 14-18H Rose of agiorgitiko. A good value is the cab rose form Mulderbosch (SA).

                            1. This is the Spanish rosado that you need to be drinking: SEÑORIO DE SARRÍA VIÑEDO NO. 5 from Bogeda Sarria in Navarra. It is made from old vines Garnacha, always a favourite of ours.