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May 31, 2011 03:25 PM

Total attitude from liquor store re: rose wines...not white zin!

I was looking for a dry (def not sweet "blush") rose.. The liquor store attendant looked at me like I was nuts with poor taste(saying" I wouldn't drink that so I don't know"). I know what he was thinking when said rose but that wasn't what I was looking for. I recently had a rose of malbec that was indescribable-high alcohol content and def not sweet. Does anyone have any similar recommendations for summer?

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    1. We had just the opposite experience in our shop the other day. A woman insisted that our rosé of Zinfandel had to be sweet because of its color. When we explained that it was completely dry, she insisted that she was in the wine business and knew it was sweet. Go figure!

      The wine was from Chase Family Cellars, and the Hayne Vineyard, in Napa. Quality juice at $18 retail. I've had a number of really good, dry rosés in the last few years from California. They can make them from just about any red grape, of course.

      1. My favorite rosés come, in general, from the south of France -- the Rhône and Provence. Look for Côtes-du-Rhône Rosés (and their more famous, and more expensive, cousins, Tavel Rosés) from producers such as Domaine de la Mordorée and Château de Ségriès; Bandol Rosés from Château Pradeaux and, of course, from Domaine Tempier. From the Loire Valley, there are a number of great Chinon Rosés -- look for Charles Jouguet, Jean-Maurice Raffault, and Couly-Dutheil, among others.

        There are many, many others -- Spain, Portugal, and California all produce excellent DRY rosés, but one thing to keep in mind . . . a dry rosé need not be high in alcohol.


        11 Replies
        1. re: zin1953

          (although most French roses tend to hover in the 13-15% range)

          The Loire Valley produces some gorgeous roses, as well -- still dry, but generally somewhat fruity on the nose.

          1. re: sunshine842

            Most Chinon and/or Bourgueil rosés that I know of are around 12-13, maybe 13.5% abv. Côtes-du-Rhône rosés do tend (nowadays) to be higher than that, with many Tavels topping 14% . . . I don't recall seeing any at 15, but I suppose it's possible. (But I think I would have noticed/remembered.)

            Indeed, the only rosé/blush wine I can remember was Tom Hill's legendary description of a Turley White Zin, first posted online a decade ago and described at #12 here:


            1. re: zin1953

              HOLY whatever!!!! A Turley White Zin? One to add to the list................ or is that one you've mentioned in previous topics?

              1. re: Midlife

                Did you read the review???

                TomHill is (was?) a Los Alamos physicist, competitive fencer, and wine geek. He first posted that TN in January of 2001, IIRC, and did it AS A JOKE (come on: a 17.2% alcohol *sparking* white zinfandel? from Turley?) to comment upon a) how ludicrous their alcohol levels had become, b) how crazy prices had become, and c) to see how many wine geeks would actually believe it! (Tom had written previous TN's for this as a still wine, and it had sort of slipped under the radar, so he decided he'd have to GO BIG and took the alcohol to 17+ and made it sparkling! Only the price declined to $37.49.)

                Tom even named it "Smoot-Hawley Vineyard" after the notorious Smoot-Hawley Tariff legislation of 1930 -- see

                His worst fears (or biggest joy, I'm not sure which) came true when British wine writer Stephen Brook wrote his book, "The Wines of California," © 1999, published by Faber & Faber (ISBN 0-571-190-29-4). On page 252 of the first hardback edition, he wrote:

                " . . . In 1996 Turley produced a white Zinfandel from the Smoot-Hawley Vineyard in Napa; it had 11.9% and at $41 must have set a recommended retail price record for a white Zinfandel. I have not tasted it."

                It still makes me laugh . . . .


                P.S. Tom was as surprised as anyone else -- probably more so -- what that showed up in print!

                1. re: zin1953

                  Oh, well...................... it would have been something to talk about. But we DO know there were WHite Zins produced by 'better' producers at one time. ;o)

                  1. re: Midlife

                    First White Zinfandel produced in post-Prohibition California: 1964, by David Bruce, who said, "I just wanted to see what would happen. I wasn't very impressed, and never made it again."

                    Best White Zinfandel producers (IMHO): William Wheeler; DeLoach; Buehler.

                    Worst decision to make a White Zinfandel: Ridge, after being sold to Otsuka Pharmaceuticals (for three years in the 1980s; blissfully, they stopped).

                    That said, every California wine lover owes a debt to White Zinfandel -- because of its popularity, hundreds and hundreds of acres of old-vine Zin was NOT uprooted and replaced by the "flavor of the month."


                    1. re: zin1953

                      Some will even admit to formative years enjoying Sutter Home, then concluding that Beringer was a step above it.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        Agreed, but that wasn't the question, was it? We were talking about "better producers." Certainly Sutter Home (and the Trinchero family) made $$$$ on selling White Zin, and while it wasn't all that bad initially, its quality plummeted (IMHO) when they (quite intelligently) switched to green, rather than clear, glass. Beringer is probably the best of the "mass-market" White Zin, but it's still "mass-market."


                      2. re: zin1953

                        I'm not sure what the definition of white zin is but Storybook makes a zin rose they call zin gris and it's tasty.

                        1. re: SteveTimko

                          Zinfandel Rosé can be OUTSTANDING, and Storybrook's Zin Gris is delightful . . .

                          1. re: SteveTimko

                            Just to be clear, as Jason will agree........... Zin Gris and Zin Rose are not the same thing as White Zin. I had a Chase Family Hayne Vyd Zin Rose recently that was oustanding.

            2. I am a fan of Rosés, especially in the Summer. Do not let one clerk push you away.

              About 3 years ago, Rosés gained great popularity, and the press seized on that popularity. Unfortunately, like Merlot getting "hot" decades ago, too many jump on the bandwagon. There will be good, and there will be plonk. Same thing will always happen, as sales drive choices by many winemakers, and when the accountant tells them that Rosé of whatever, is really hot, some will fall for it.

              In general terms, I look to FR, IT and ES for most of my Rosés, but do not discount US producers. I really like Beckman's Grenache Rosé.

              I have had Rosés of many varietals, including some sublime ones from Zinfandel, though they are NOT what most consumers would think of as White Zinfandel. The majority of the ones that I buy with any regularity are from Grenache, though not all. Most of my choices are also a bit lower in alcohol, but still have adequate body, and can stand up to a lot of foods. I feel that I would find a high-alcohol Rosé to be unbalanced, but would try to keep an open mind, and let my palate make the final decision. I do not normally go by the "numbers," but by the wine.

              Good luck, and happy Summer,


              4 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Really agree with you about Beckman's Grenache Rose. My friends and I call it crack rose.
                We talked to the winemaker about it and he really loves making it....and is a big fan of the
                Tavel Roses.

                1. re: perk

                  As opposed to "Cracking Rosé" that used to be produced by Paul Masson . . .

                  1. re: zin1953

                    Heck, shows how far behind I am. I thought that was sung by Neil Diamond... ?


              2. Chateau D'Aqueria's Tavel is great in 2010! Mas de Bressades is pretty reliabe too, but I haven't tried this years. Zenato's Bardolino was a bit underwhelming this time around.

                Ontario makes some excellent rosé wines. Also from unusual grapes (Giesenheim, Frontenac). Big acidity is the hallmark here. If you can find them where you are, look for Sandbanks or Malivoire. You'll probably have to come up here to get many of the other good ones.. Sugarbush, By Chadsey's Cairns, Huff.