When I turned twenty-one, I intended to be taken seriously, and that meant eschewing standard boxed wines, bottles with kangaroos on them, and anything that wasn’t a broody red. Rosé was an easy casualty because I was never that fond of it in the first place. Overly sweet, cloyingly tropical, and pretty pink- those are the three things that used to come to mind when discussing Rosé. It wasn’t White Zin bad, but it was pretty gosh darn close.
I’ve changed my tune a little bit since then, and if there were any doubts left in my mind, the latest #WineStudio run by PROTOCOL Wine stamped them out. Entitled ‘Rosé Sheds Its Blush and Gains Its Sophistication,’ the June session was all about the bad reputation Rosé has, how that perception has changed in recent years, and how winemakers are providing consumers with bold Rosé that showcases the range this controversial wine actually has. Rosé is no longer just something to choke down at get-togethers in July, and in order to highlight that, we were able to try some great wines to go along with the educational sessions.
First up was the wine that I was admittedly most excited to try because it was from Slovenia, a region with which I had no previous wine experience. After a few e-mails where I kept calling the importer ‘Kathy’ instead of ‘Katy’ and a phone call where I asked for ‘Sarah’ to process my payment instead of ‘Sue,’ I was able to have the wine delivered to me in Maryland- a state that is better than Pennsylvania as far a wine laws go, but not by much.
Imported by Old World Vines, this 2013 Damski Rosé from Erzetic Winery was made with 100% Merlot and was 100% different than any wine I’d had before. Sure, with the pink label and the word ‘damski’ involved, it felt girlier than most wines I go for, but I was willing to give it a go anyway. Pouring a pale orange into the glass, the soft, refreshing wine was dry, gave off aromas of light berries, and tasted herby in all the best ways. It was one of those wines that pairs well with others and at $23.95 a bottle, one that would be great for anyone interested in exploring different wine regions or Rosé in general.
Of course, we couldn’t talk about Rosé without discussing American Rosé, which probably has the worst reputation of all. Moving on to California, the 2014 Rosé from Donelan Family Wines was subtle yet complex. Comprised of 55% Syrah, 29% Grenache, and 16% Pinot Noir, this wine from Sonoma County was fleshy pink in color. On the nose it was exotic, but not overly tropical, with light mango coming to mind. However, where it really got interesting was on the palate. With great balance, a light kick of acid to it, and springing to life when paired with the sashimi I had for dinner, this was a bottle I dug. Sporting a $25 price tag, I think this one is perfect for sharing over a meal with people you like.
Last up for this month all about Rosé was a blend of both worlds: a wine from the Russian River Valley made by a Frenchman. The 2014 Rosé of Tannat made by Y. Rousseau Wines was fermented in stainless steel barrels and aged for 5 months on the lees with no stirring. For those of you who don’t know what that means, I’ll move on to the good stuff. Though some would describe the color as salmon, my sister and I both agreed it looked like rose-gold in the glass. Another thing we agreed on was that the bouquet was enticing with aromas of pink berries and citrus. While she wasn’t able to pick out the individual notes, it was interesting that she liked the smell since she usually describes wine as smelling like grapes. Juicy with a silky mouthfeel, the promise made by the aromas followed through in tasting. There were only 275 cases produced with bottles going for $24, and I’d suggest scooping this one up right away to either share with others or selfishly enjoy all on your own.
Whether you’re a Rosé lover or dubious about this wine that everyone whips out in the summer, I’d recommend giving these a whirl. The great thing about them was that they were all different and showcased Rosé in new and exciting ways for me. The best aspect of #WineStudio is that it gives everyone interested in wine the opportunity to learn about wines that may have a bad reputation or may not be well-known among the masses. For those of you who haven’t participated yet, the July session began this past Tuesday and will continue to take place on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET. We’ve moved on from Rosé to the wines of Chile, and I can’t wait to discover more about an area often solely associated with reds. Just search for the #WineStudio and jump in! Everyone (except for me) is friendly.
These wines were kindly provided to me by the wineries/importers listed above, but all opinions are my own.