WBW80: Dry Rosé

by Tim Elliott on August 14, 2013

Back when I first started podcasting about wine, in late 2004, there were maybe 40 podcasts in the world. But there were even fewer wine blogs and soon I discovered the monthly tasting event called Wine Blogging Wednesday joining on its eighth outing back in early 2005.

Over the years I have participated in WBW now 49 times and have hosted 6 times and I am pleased to have it return after a hiatus. The theme I chose for this outing is consistent with the wines I drink this time of year. While I do continue to drink reds, most of the time white or rosé wines are what I choose due to the temperatures outside and the food of the season. And while rosé wines such as white Zinfandel have carved out a significant presence in the market their residual sugar makes them more difficult to pair with food. So I drink exclusively dry rosé in the summer.

WBW 80 Rose WinesFor the selections made for this month’s WBW I decided to sample what is available under $10 a bottle. After looking at some local stores and big box retailers I settled on a couple of bottles from Trader Joe’s both under $6 a bottle. At this price I wasn’t looking for the best rosé but something that would complement a hamburger or taco. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The first bottle is Trader Joe’s Napa Valley Rosé 2012 ($5.99, 13.7% ABV) – It is a light ruby color in the glass with aromas typical of rosé, strawberry, cherry and citrus. There are bright grapefruit and strawberry flavors finishing dry with a touch of bitterness. I found it refreshing but a bit subdued in character but still a decent value. The varieties used were not disclosed but I assume Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were most of the blend.

My second selection is from Spain, the Albero Bobal rosé 2012 ($5.99, 12.5% ABV) – Also a nice light ruby color the aromas here are all strawberry and grapefruit. In the glass the wine shows strawberry and lemon flavors finishing dry with nice acidity. A very pleasing rosé made from a grape I have never tried before. A win-win!

Both of these wines show how far we have come delivering value even in niches like dry rosé. I’m looking forward to reading what everyone has tried to fill out my cellar for the remaining weeks of summer. You can follow along on my Delicious feed.

Thanks also go to Lenn for asking me to host yet again who I will soon pass the baton to for hosting WBW81 next month. Look for a roundup post for WBW80 Friday or Saturday for all the rosé goodness.


St. Supery, Rose 2006

by Tim Elliott on July 3, 2008

St. Supery Rose 2006Summer is the time for dry rose as they pair well with warm weather fare and are refreshing when more full bodied reds seem too heavy. So I was pleased when this wine sample arrived at the beginning of the season to get my rose tasting started. I’ll be posting more rose notes as we get into the warmer summer months here in Minnesota and I all but give up drinking red wine.

Made from 100% Merlot, this wine is a nice choice to have near the BBQ as it has more body than most roses. I’d also like to see more Napa winemakers turn excess Merlot into something this good which should be pretty easy given the supply of really good fruit in the current market. This wine is first offered to St. Supery’s wine club members but you can also buy it in their website.

Tasting Notes:

St. Supery, Rose 2006 ($18/sample) – Substantial color for a rose, almost ruby. Strawberry and watermelon aromas with those fruits carrying forward on the palate along with some cherry candy. Dry and crisp with good acidity and mouth weight. Enjoy now.

13.5% ABV
Score: 87
Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy this wine online

Cameron Hughes, Lot 37, Grenache Rose 2006

by Tim Elliott on August 28, 2007

Cameron Hughes, Lot 37, Rose 2006The growth of dry rose has been one of the trends of 2007 and Cameron Hughes gets into the fray with this Spanish rose. Made by saignee, where juice is drawn off the fermenting red wine to concentrate it’s flavors, this wine is a bit darker than normal for a rose (or “rosado” as the Spanish call them). But everything else is exactly what you want this time of year to pair with grilled chicken or salad. A podcast interview with Cameron Hughes will be released shortly.

Cameron Hughes, Lot 37, Grenache Rose, Campo de Borja 2006 ($10) – Clear ruby in color, a shade or two darker than normal for rose. Generous aromas of strawberry and grapefruit. Fresh and crisp in the mouth with strawberry and watermelon flavors finishing bone dry with good acidity. A very nice example of Spanish rose for a bargain price (I found this at Costco for $8.99 in Northern California).

14% ABV
Stelvin closure
Score: 87
Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy this wine online

La Ferme Julien, Rosé, Côtes du Ventoux, France 2005 ($5)

What better wine to enjoy after a day on the beach but rosé? I picked up this blend at Trader Joe’s after remembering a recommendation from Quaffability (ironically for another rose). It is made from 50% Cinsault, 40% Grenache and 10% Syrah grown in France’s Rhone Valley.

The wine is a beautiful shade of salmon/ruby with lean aromas of strawberry and watermelon. In the mouth it is light and dry with cherry and strawberry fruit flavors and good acidity. A cut above quaffable and a nice value.

13% ABV
Stelvin closure
Score: 8/10

Winecast 65 – Bar-B-Que Wines

by Tim Elliott on July 5, 2006

This month Wine Blogging Wednesday returns to it’s normal first Wednesday of the month and host Vivi’s Wine Journal has picked a very appropriate theme for July: Barbecue Wines (or is it BBQ, or Bar-B-Que?). The history of BBQ appears to be an American invention, but there seems to be some debate on this if you look closer. Whatever the derivation, today the term means either the slow cooked meats prepared across the southern U.S. from pork, beef or chicken or grilled meats in general. I took the latter definition for the purposes of this post and podcast and chose three wines I think would pair well with summer grilling. Different than in the other months I have participated in this event, my three wines will be a white, a rose and a red. All quite dry and loaded with fruit flavors to stand up to the heartiest summer fare.

Since yesterday was Independence Day here in the U.S., my grilling choice was classic Wisconsin brats and traditional side-dishes, potato and macaroni salad. Whatever wines I select, they would need enough acidity to cut through the mayonnaise in the salads and brown mustard on the brats. I selected two different kinds of brats, the common “beer brats” and a new-age chicken with bacon and swiss cheese. Both presented an interesting flavor profile to deal with in matching wines, where in past years I’ve just reached for an IPA or dark beer.

Of course, the best wine for Bar-B-Que or grilled meats depends upon the type of meat roasted. If I made steaks, for instance, I would have probably selected three red wines to match here. But since I had foods that were not overpowering in their flavors, I had a pretty open spectrum of wines to choose from. My strategy was to find wines with enough flavor to stand up to the food, but also enough acidity to enhance the flavors and not overpower the food. The rule of thumb at this time of year is to choose a dry rose, so my first match was a Wolffer Rosé 2005 the winery sent me recently as a sample. You probably remember Wolffer from my interview with winemaker Roman Roth in Winecast 56. Their rosé is made from 48% Merlot, 39% Chardonnay, 8% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon with the red grapes given a short time on the skins to minimize the color. The wine was totally made in stainless steel to accentuate the freshness of the fruit and retails for a reasonable $14 a bottle. This rosé is salmon in color with aromas of peach and fresh flowers. Rich and crisp in the mouth, showing cherry and citrus with a bit of white pepper on the dry finish. A very nice rosé for a hot summer’s day and nice accompaniment to my grilling yesterday. In fact, this might be the most versatile wine for grilled meats in the round-up. 11.5% ABV. Finished with natural cork. Score: 8.5/10

I usually don’t think of white wine and grilling, but I do think about white wines on hot summer days so I thought I would pick one from my cellar to see how it might work here. I’ve always liked the aggressiveness of Sauvignon Blanc, particularly from New Zealand, but I didn’t have any bottles handy from that country. What I did have was the 2005 vintage of Veramonte’s Sauvignon Blanc from the Casablanca Valley of Chile. I first tried this brand in my round-up on Winecast 12 last year and it has made it into my cellar ever since as a great value for hot summer days selling for $8-9 a bottle. The wine is light straw with a slight green hue. Fresh hay, lime and pineapple aromas with some gooseberry reminiscent of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. On the palate, there is tart grapefruit flavors with nice acidity to match with food. The match was especially good with the chicken brats adding an nice counter-point to the bacon and swiss cheese flavors. I’d recommend this one for grilled pork too, as long as there is not spicy BBQ sauce involved in the preperation. 13.5% ABV. Stelvin closure. Score: 8/10

Finally, I wanted to try a fruit forward red wine. After considering Syrah/Shiraz, I fell back on my old favorite Zinfandel, selecting a 2003 Chiarello Family Vineyards, Zinfandel, “Giana,” which sells for $28 a bottle. I first tasted Chiarello Zin at ZAP this past January and was very impressed with all their wines. You might recognize the family name from owner Michael Chiarello’s Napa Style TV show, book and website. If anyone knows how to make food-friendly wines, it’s Mr. Chiarello, but I have to say that you need a steak or, better yet, Mexican food to match with this Zin. The wine is garnet-purple in color with powerful aromas of blackberry, plum and licorice. In the mouth it is substantial with blackberry jam, black pepper, spices and silky tannins. A hedonists Zin that somehow balances the substantial alcohol with fruit. Delicious, but overpowering to my 4th of July brats. 16.1% ABV. Finished with natural cork. Score: 9/10

So what did I learn this month? That a range of wines go well with grilled meats. If I had some true Bar-B-Que to match here, I think only the Chiarello Zin and Wolffer Rosé would have made the cut. For best wine, it easily goes to Chiarello Family Vineyards, Zinfandel, “Giana” 2003 and best value to the versatile Wolffer Rosé 2005. Thank to Joel over at Vivi’s Wine Journal for hosting this month and a great theme. I’m looking forward to seeing what founder Lenn has in store for the two-year anniversary of WBW next month.

Show Notes:
00:21 – Welcome and show theme
01:10 – Matching wine with Bar-B-Que or grilled meats
03:56 – Veramonte, Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2005 ($9)
04:58 – Wolffer Estate Vineyards, Rosé, Long Island, New York 2005 ($14/sample) +
06:20 – Chiarello Family Vineyards, Zinfandel, “Giana” 2003 ($28) *
07:50 – Best of tasting
07:58 – Best value
08:15 – Wrap-up and contact details
08:50 – Next show theme

Copyright 2006 Acan Media, Inc. Licensed to the public under

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Winecast 23 – Wine Blogging Wednesday #9

by Tim Elliott on May 11, 2005

After trading emails with Sam over at Becks & Posh, I decided to reblog my entry for Wine Blogging Wednesday #9 themed on rosé or “pink” wines. It seems Sam’s day job is not leaving much time for podcast listening, so here are the CliffsNotes with a few timecode stamps to help her sort out the audio:

(0:00 – 0:37) Introduction, theme music and show kickoff, thanking Sam for hosting WBW this month and the theme of rosé wines. Rosé is the “Rodney Dangerfield of wines”; they get no respect. This is probably due to indifferent blends of red and white wines we have had being passed off as rosé, as well as the sticky, sweet white zinfandels we have been subjected to over the years. In fact, I have not had a proper rosé or pink wine in a few years, so this theme was an excellent chance to check out three dry rosé wines.

Before sharing my tasting notes, I spoke a bit about how rosé wines are made (1:16). The first method is to crush red grapes and macerate the must for only a few hours to impart only a small amount of the pigment to the wine. Then the winemaking process is followed the same as used to make white wine. For some unknown reason, I failed to mention that the French call this process, “vins gris”, even though my notes clearly state this fact. The second method is called, “saignée” or “bleeding”. This is where red wine is made, but a bit of the juice is drained off early in the winemaking process to concentrate the resulting red’s flavors. The bled juice is then made into rosé using the process followed to make whites.

Next (2:17), I commented about the proper temperature to serve rosé (50 – 54F, or 10 – 12C) and launched into my tasting notes:

Toad Hollow Vineyards, “Eye of the Toad”, Dry Pinot Noir Rose 2004 ($12) – Clear pink, beautiful strawberry/watermelon nose, strawberry/cherry fruit, bone dry, nice finish; serve a bit warmer than regular rose to fully reveal it’s aromas and flavors; I also like the whimsical, yellow plastic cork! Score: 8/10

Les Vignerons de Montblanc, Syrah Rose, Vin de Pays des Cotes de Thongue 2003 ($9) – Rose center with nice pink edges, watermelon candy nose, nice flavor intensity of light red berries, dry and refreshing; another plastic cork! Score: 8/10

Cuvee Catherine, Rose d’Anjou 2002 ($6) – Very light tawny red, light flowery nose, almost vegetal in flavor with bell pepper and cherry in a good way, off-dry, but not sweet, with a good dose of acidity; a bit bitter on the finish; drink ASAP as the wine is past it’s prime. The only cork in the bunch. Score: 7.5/10

(5:09) Best of tasting: Toad Hollow Vineyards, “Eye of the Toad”, Dry Pinot Noir Rose 2004

Best value: Les Vignerons de Montblanc, Syrah Rose, Vin de Pays des Cotes de Thongue 2003

(5:21 – 8:16) I then shared some final thoughts for regular Winecast listeners about sending in questions for an upcoming show, voting at Podcast Alley, Gmail and Yahoo! 360 invites and a poll I have open on my blog.

Thanks once again to Sam from Becks & Posh for the theme and her upcoming summary write-up this weekend. I hope this extended post helps save you a bit of time ;-)


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