Just when it seemed like spring and another WinedUp column would never arrive, both are finally here! And the warm days of summer can’t be far behind.
Let’s get to our glasses. We will taste three rosés, two whites and an interesting red in this edition.
Rosé wines have been the darling of the wine world for several years now. The simplicity and lack of pretense attracts us. By limiting the amount of grape skin contact, a winemaker controls the color and tannins in these wines. Well-maintained vineyards and Mother Nature also help create these “pretty-in-pink” wines. Aah, Molly Ringwald!
Although Rosés are produced in almost all of the world’s wine growing regions, the granddaddy of all Rosé wines is from the Tavel region in the Southern Rhone. Here, Grenache and Cinsault are the main grape varietals. Tavel was a favorite of King Louis XIV, novelist Balzac and great American writer Ernest Hemingway–quite good company! Look for a Tavel at your local wine store.
Here are refreshing rosés widely available in the South Jersey area. They are inexpensive, yet flavorable wines to enjoy with food and to share with friends. Of course, we enjoy them well chilled.
Wine: Grain de Gris Tete de Cuvee Rosé
Region: Languedoc, Roussillon Sable de Camargue, France
Grape: Blend of Grenache, Cinsault & Carignan
Listel is another of France’s best known rosé wine producers. Sable is the French word for sand. The vines grow in sand on a 100-year old property. When describing some of these wines, French rosé winemakers use the term “vin gris”, which means grey wine. Traditionally, these are wines made from red wine grapes, but styled with white winemaking techniques. The French consider these red varietals “black” grapes, so when you lighten the black grapes, you get a grey or “gris” wine.
In the glass, there is strawberry in the nose, but it is not a sweet fruity wine. The Listel rosé is dry, crisp and refreshing. The unique bottle shape makes it easy to find in your favorite wine store.
A great value at $10 and available at Rastelli’s Market Fresh/Marlton.
Wine: Honoro Vera Rosé
Producer: Bodegas Juan Gil
Region: Jumilla, in Murcia, Spain
Grape: Proprietary Rosé blend including Monastrell and Garnacha
Founded in 1916, Juan Gil is also a 100-year-old producer. Today the fourth generation combines old world tradition with modern sustainable and organic methods. Juan Gil makes some amazing red wines as well, but this rosé is perfect for right now.
In the glass, this wine is pale pink color. One sip and you get that comfortable sweet taste found in warm weather wines, with strawberry and watermelon notes in the nose. A crisp acidity balances the fruit nicely. The beautiful, raised label on this bottle belies the expectation that the wine is expensive. Honoro Vera will be your warm weather go-to wine. Enjoy it on the patio all spring & summer long, it’s a great value from $7-9 and available at Traino’s, Rastelli’s Market Fresh/Marlton and Canal’s.
Wine: Illario Rosato
Producer: Fattoria di Magliano
Region: Maremma, Toscana, Italy
The final rosé is 100% organic from Tuscany. Fattoria di Magliano is a relatively new producer founded in 1996. Since 2014, their wines are biodynamic certified.
Sangiovese is the defining grape of Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile, and Super Tuscans to name a few. Illario is a marked contrast from those heavier wines. The color is delicate pink from the minimal skin contact with the juice. Notes of raspberry, cherry and lavender aromas float out of the glass capturing bit of the Tuscan sun in the bottle. This clean, crisp rosé complements cheeses, seafood and poultry. About $14 as seen at Rastelli’s Market Fresh/Marlton, WineWorks and Canal’s.
Producer: San Huberto
Region: La Rioja, Argentina
Tired of Pinot Grigio? It’s time to try Torrontes, a white wine from Argentina. It will quickly become one of your favorites. As soon as you pour this wine, a heavenly peach aroma floats into your nostrils. Like an exotic perfume, it lingers. This refreshing wine is crisp, lively and dry. Enjoyable on its own, it is a great summer sipper that pairs well with chicken. Although the producer takes its name from Saint Hubert, the patron saint of hunters, you will not have to hunt down a nice bottle of Torrontes.
At about $8-9, it can be found at Wineworks, Canal’s, Traino’s, and Roger Wilco.
Wine: Evolution Lucky No 9, 19th Edition
Producer: Sokol Blosser
Region: Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Grape: White Riesling, Pinot Gris, Semillon, Muller-Thurgau, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Canelli, Chardonnay, Early Muscat
I am not sure what alchemy Sokol Blosser uses to combine these nine grapes into one tasty wine, but it is stunningly good. This medley delivers a pale wine with hints of peach, apricot and mango. Light in color, it whisks you away to a tropical place. No 9 is on the dry side, but full of flavor. The touch of sweetness teases your palate. This wine is easy to drink, but complex enough to pair with even spicy foods.
Around $12-13 at Wineworks and Canal’s
Producer: Agricola Sulin
Region: Monferatto, Piedmont, Italy
Grape: Malvasia Nera, Casorzo Malvasia
As this is WinedUp, here comes the curve ball. An intriguing, oddball red wine that is lower in alcohol at just 5%, than all the wines presented today. The lower alcohol makes it a slightly sweeter wine.
In the Piedmont, Malvasia Nera appears more as a blending wine than a stand-alone varietal. Using old world winemaking skills, the Fracchia brothers work the sunny hilltops of an almost 100 year-old farm. The color is ruby red, with an almost bubbly or frizzante edge. It reminds me a bit of lambrusco.
The nose is sweet cherry, with a touch of herbs. Casorzo is such a fresh wine that tastes as if it came out of the barrel just a few months ago. This is one red wine that you can drink chilled as well. Try it for a nice summer change of pace.
Around $9 and seen at WineWorks and Canal’s.
About this column: I’m a male, over 25 and I drink mostly reds and interesting whites. But I do love my rosés in the summertime! I buy and taste all these wines. Every time I think I know a lot about wine, I realize just how much more there is to learn, and I like that. I have no affiliation to the wines/spirits wholesale or retail business, so this will always be TheWinedUp and never the pitch. All opinions are my own.
Please send your questions and comments to thewinedupinSJ@gmail.com
Looking forward to the next glass!