Over the past two days I've had the good fortune to try different Rose wines as I have been traversing across Washington, D.C. with friends. Rose wines have been popping up more and more on restaurant lists thanks to a push by various trade groups, a stronger dollar and better representation. Most of what I have seen though on restaurant lists are the 2014s, which while nice, tend to be "deals and dumps" vs. the fresh, DYA approach I have when it comes to discovering wines to share, so you can buy them now.
First up is a delightful, and unexpected treat. It's the 2015 Spy Valley Rose of Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand. It was no surprise I really enjoyed this wine as I have always been a fan of wines from New Zealand. What was surprising was to discover it was Pinot Noir, as it had the same fruit flavor and dryness one tends to associate with more Grenache and Cinsault based Cotes de Provence Rose's. The Spy Valley Rose also had some really good structure and balance, where the fruit was totally evident, but not sweet or round. Instead it's very light Pinot spice made it all so nice. Made via a combination of skin contact and some pressed grapes, the level of fruit in the Spy Valley made it a hit.
The second treat was the return of an old friend of sorts. Back in the 80s as I was learning my way around the wine world I used to enjoy the wines and even a visit to Chateau Vignelaure. Vignelaure is one of those hidden gems in the wine world. Hardly seen in the USA beyond the East Coast, it's as good of a winery as any of the more highly acclaimed Bandol producers like Tempier, Pibernon and Bastide Blanche which are all of an hour or so south. The castle based winery produces wines which include both the Rhone's usual suspects but adds in Cabernet. But most of all it's from the area near Aix en Provence, making it part of the Coteaux d'Aix appellation.
The 2015 La Source de Vignelaure Rose is their second label rose, and was an exclusive import of one of D.C.'s best wine shops, MacArthurs. As a longtime customer, MacArthurs has always had a strong selection of French country wines, and been a very good go to source for wines like Vignelaure and others. Much like Argonaut in Denver and Moore Bros. in NYC, many of the wines are Direct Imports, meaning you won't likely find them anyplace else. That was the case with the 2015 La Source de Vignelaure Rose.
Let's start with the hot summer day in D.C. that this past Saturday was. That screamed for Rose. Next was the the very pale pink color. That's more the style I like, vs. the deeper, over extracted pressings of some. I've found that I like the more skin contact only as it preserves the freshness of the fruit and the flavors that only the local terroir can bring out. In this case a very ripe, ultra dry rose that was made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine shows well when drunk all by itself, or would be a lovely accompaniment to tapenade, fresh olives or even some roasted peppers.
More and more 2015's are coming to wine store shelves and restaurant lists, with the latter adding them to their by the glass programs. It's great to explore and experiment to discover which ones you like, and to then find the bottles and enjoy them as th weather turns warmer this year all across the globe.