Long-time readers know I’ve got a thing for rosé wines, particularly the robust ones from Italy and Spain. Usually, I’m a fan club of one amid a crowd of Napa Cab drinkers. But when friends who share a taste for serious rosé came to visit, I whipped out the mats and cups and had a proper rosé tasting.
The initial selection was 4 wines, one each from the U.S., Spain, Italy, and France. A second French wine was added when our guests gifted us with a bottle of a Bandol rosé from France, a highly regarded region of Provence.
These wines share virtually nothing in common but the rosé label. Different countries, grapes, soils, and vintages. I guess that means I should put “proper” tasting in quotes…without a unifying characteristic to compare against, we were really holding a lovely beauty contest on a sunny afternoon with four opinionated judges.
We recommend any of the top 3 to wine lovers looking for a “not a summer sipper” kind of rosé.
Bandol Rosé, 2020 $45
Domaine du Gros’ Noré; Bandol, Provence
54% Mourvèdre, 25% Cinsault, 19% Grenache, 2% Clairette
The Bandol was the universal favorite and, at $45, the most expensive. A lovely pale apricot hue with aromas of citrus and limestone, it was deemed “very complex” by several tasters. It “jumps out of the glass with a burst of fruit.” One taster found it “funky” with vanilla/cream and molasses on the palate. Another picked up raspberry and grapefruit notes. We all picked up a [not unpleasant] acidic finish. Thanks to our friends for adding The Bandol to the line-up…it was a big hit!
Honoro Vera Rosé 2021 $9
Gil Family Estates; Jumilla, Mercia
Our second-favorite wine was also the least expensive—just $9 a bottle. Hailing from the lesser-known Mercia wine region in Southeastern Spain, Honoro Vera Rosé is a lovely light pink, with aromas ranging from “light honeydew” to “floral” to “honey.” We all tasted cherry, with a nice balance of acid and fruit. A bit tart on the finish.
Innocence, 2021 $20
First Crush Winery; Harwich MA [grapes from Suisun Valley, CA]
88% Dry Riesling, 5% Sweet Riesling (4.5% RS), 7% Sangiovese
An old favorite from First Crush Winery placed third. First Crush started as a wine co-op, and we were among its first members, so it is very dear to us. And Innocence, an unusual blend of white and red grapes never disappoints. This rosy pink off-dry wine is most like the “summer in a glass” promoted by unimaginative wine sellers, but it’s not fluffy and light. It’s got structure, and full flavor. If you’re not careful you’ll drink the bottle in one sitting.
La Spinetta, 2021 $19
Casanova Della Spinetta; Terricciola, Tuscany
50% Sangiovese / 50% Prugnolo Gentile
La Spinetta came in just behind Innocence in the voting. VinoDuo first tasted this Tuscan rosé at Stazione di Federal, in Waltham, MA. I adored it, and Gary tolerated it, so we promptly bought a case from our local Italian wine shop, Vino Italiano. Our tasters called it “complex,” layered” and “not a sip by the pool” wine. With fresh cut grass and some fruit on the nose, La Spinetta has flavors of citrus and limestone, with good acidity.
Chateau Trinquevedel Tavel, 2021 $23
60% Grenache, 18% Cinsault , 12% Clairette , 5% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre
Tavel was the biggest disappointment of the tasting. Renowned for its rosé wines, Winetourism.com proclaims “In France, “Tavel” has become synonymous with Rosé.” That’s a bold statement. Unfortunately, the Chateau Trinquevedel did not back up that claim. “Disappointing.” “A little bitter.” “Off-putting finish.” Those are just a few of the tasting notes. The wine was so unappealing we wondered if it was corked. Thankfully, we had another bottle to test our hypothesis. The sour taste and high acidity were missing from the second bottle. So perhaps the first was corked. Or not.