Friday, June 8, 2007
The Search for Rosé
I love Rosé. Everybody loves Rosé. Particularly in the summer, when it lends refreshment, zip and a dash of color to every occasion.
So why is it so hard to find a decent one? Few things fill me with as much a sense a fun as an errand to buy a bottle Rosé, but once I get to the wine shop and face the row of pink wines, I'm filled with dread and trepidation. Rosé's recent rise in popularity has led to a wider selection of wines, but not much of a rise in quality. Too many Rosés are mediocre and without distinction, regardless of what grape is used (and, these days, it seems every grape is used, from Pinot Noir to Grenache to Tempranillo). It's as if the winemakers think that once they get the red grapes into their brief contact with their skins, the job is over. The result is a lot of anonymously brisk wines, with a rather sharp edge of tannin, and all tasting of strawberry.
It was a happy day, then, when I drank Domaine Tempier's 2006 Rosé. The Bandol maker is well known for the quality of its wines, and they don't fall down with their pink brew. Here is a Rosé that is balanced, all its elements—acidity, fruit and tannin—integrated. It's a joy from first sip to final swallow. It has length and character, and tastes of roses, white raspberries and a touche of cream. It's fun and enjoyable without being airheaded. The grape, or course, is Mourvedre, so the wine is fairly alcoholic and strong. Probably will do well with any dish.
Only drawback is the price: $35. People like to get their Rosé for a song (and so do I). Still, it's worth a splurge once or twice a summer.