Before I started participating in #WineStudio, I have to say that I didn’t drink much rosé. Despite the alluring color, many of the rosés I came across seemed dull, flabby, and more of a marketing ploy than anything else. I think I’ve shared all of this before, but despite having good things to say about some rosés in recent years, I always had that thought nagging me in the back of my mind. However, #WineStudio, the interactive wine education program which I participate in, recently changed that. No session highlighted the diversity of rosé more than the one from earlier this summer. If you are like how I used to be and just don’t get the obsession behind this wine, read on and see how distinct each bottle I opened was. It changed my mind, and I think if you take the plunge and try one or two of these, it’ll change yours too.
The first wine we opened was made up of Mourvedre grown in the shale soils of South Africa. The 2017 Babylonstoren Mourvedre Rosé had a lot of big citrus fruits like grapefruit and tangelo on the nose, which came through on the palate as well. Additionally, there were notes of wet stone, lemon, and a touch of fresh strawberry. Robin, who blogs at Wine and Wonder, opened this alongside a flatbread topped with steak, blue cheese, onions, and other potent flavors.
Unlike a shy rosé meant for lighter flavors, the Babylonstoren held up against such an intense food choice. Encased in a simple bottle meant to highlight the earth that produced this wine, this pink drink took everything I thought about the basic rosé and amped it up. I suggest buying a bottle to share with friends, no matter what food is on hand, or maybe even two to be safe since the SRP is only around $19. We were able to try ours through Red Wolf Imports, which just goes to show that making the wine is just the first step to getting it on our tables. There’s a whole world behind the bottle that can be explored. But that’s a blog post for another day.
If you’re looking for something more homegrown (assuming you’re from the United States), the 2017 Eric Kent Rosé we opened up was pleasing to the eye and palate. From my experience, most wine nerds are also nerds about something else. In the case of Eric Kent‘s owners Kent and Colleen, it’s art. The winery produces bottles with captivating labels created by artists they admire. It’s a multi-step process where Kent tastes the barrel samples, really gets a feel for the production, and then chooses art that looks like the wine tastes. In the case of this bottle, it was a colorful and intricate piece that highlighted the vibrancy on the inside. On the nose, watermelon, strawberries, and other red berries came through more than anything else. Also, the hibiscus notes were very pronounced, which I can’t say I would have been able to put my finger on if I hadn’t been drinking hibiscus juice by the gallon while in Mexico last summer. It was good cold, but those assertive berry notes were even better as it warmed. It was one of those wines I wanted to keep revisiting. So, if you’re looking for something that tastes fruit-forward yet powerful, looks beautiful in the glass, and is produced by people you can admire, this rosé is for you.
If the Babylonstoren was the mature version of the rosé you’re probably used to and the Eric Kent was the bottle that captured how fruity and fun can also mean depth, the 2017 Bedell Cellars Taste Rosé from Long Island was the edgy rock star. First founded in 1980 and then purchased in 2000 by an art collector, Bedell Cellars is the opposite of a winery that adheres to Old World norms. It’s a solidly American operation that embraces the modern. Hoping to produce wines low in alcohol with a crispness and bright aromatics, here the winemaker created a creative wine that jumped out of the glass. Full of strawberry notes, acidity, and salinity, this one had a lot of energy behind it, which seemed captured by the stark black and white label adorning the outside. At $18, it’s an option for someone who wants to pop open a bottle with lunch, sit back, and let the day pass by.
Although I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve tasted a decent variety of wine, it’s sessions like this that reinforce why wine is so cool. Each winemaker approaches the craft in a different way. Give the same grapes to any of these wineries, and they would all put their own unique stamp on them. Wine is kind of like going to a live show. Every performance is distinct, the audience enjoying it influences the experience, and every so often the band knows when they just created their next big hit. That’s why I keep coming back to wine. How about you?
These wines were kindly provided to me by the wineries/importers listed above, but all opinions are my own.