Tag Archives: blush wine

Because of the gorgeous summer weather: Two Rosés I liked…and a bonus wine

The wines were received as samples from the winery or a marketing association.

We’ve been spending the whole week in London and Oxford, and the weather has been startlingly gorgeous: temperatures in the high 20s Celsius, barely any rain. I don’t think I have ever seen the UK like this…with temperatures like this, I find myself reaching for Rosés, fulfilling every Rosé stereotype: that they are only really good when it’s warm and you can drink them very well chilled. In fact there are a lot more uses for these types of wine, and I acknowledge them, but to me a Rosé still tastes best in the summer…

Over the last months, I received a couple of samples and I was particularly impressed by these two:


Piattelli Premium Malbec Rosé

Piattelli Premium Malbec Rosé

2013 Piattelli Vineyards Premium Reserve Rosé of Malbec

Piattelli Vineyards is an Argentinian winery with holdings on the Eastern side of the Andes in Mendoza and Salta whose head oenologist is Valeria Antolin. This particular wine was made with 91% Malbec and 9% Torrontés (a white grape) grapes and has 14% ABV. I tried it as part of #BevChat, a Twitter tasting, in May. The wine poured (as you can see) in a bright red that I would describe as watermelon color.  The nose offered roses and melon aromas, and was enticing. On the palate, this presented itself as a serious wine, pretty heavy with not much acidity. It felt much more like a light red than a heavy white, if you know what I mean. It had pretty good balance and not much fruit.  The main reason I like this particular wine is that it pairs great with a BBQ, THE summer food. It has the heft to stand up to these charred aromas, and is still fresh. Someone else tried it with a sausage and mushroom pizza and was also seriously impressed. This is not your easy-peasy Rosé you can grab for a few bucks at the liquor store, but it shows what Rosé can be capable of. Retails for between $8 and $14.

Cline Cellars Rosé

Cline Cellars Rosé

Cline Cellars 2013 Mourvèdre Rosé Contra Costa County

I tried this wine as part of a #WineChat hosted by Protocol Wine Studios and received the wine as a sample from Cline Cellars. Cline Cellars has a reputation for producing Rhone-style wines in California, and as it happens, Mourvèdre is a standard Rhone grape but is rare to find in California. The wine has 13.5% ABV and 8.1 grams of residual sugar per liter. The special thing about this Rosé is that the grapes come from vines that are a century old, which is not normally material for a Rosé. It shows that Cline Cellars takes this wine seriously. The way the wine is made is as a blanc de noir, basically a white wine made from red grapes. Let me just say that I loved this wine. It was wonderfully full of raspberry aromas with some floral elements, and it was just super fresh and great. Nice acidity keeps it lively, and the hint of sweetness makes for great drinkability. Retails for between $10 and $14.

And while we’re talking Cline Cellars, let me add a non-Rosé to the mix:

Cline Cool Climate Pinot Noir (Photo credit: www.wine-searcher.com)

Cline Cool Climate Pinot Noir (Photo credit: http://www.wine-searcher.com)

Cline Cellars 2012 Cool Climate Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

This wine was part of the Cline Cellars tasting, and if you know me, you might have picked up on my weariness when it comes to California Pinot Noir, which I often find too strong, too intense, too fruity. Well, not this one, let me tell you. At 14.5% ABV it is definitely a tad higher than I would wish for in a Pinot Noir, but the wine’s aromas totally made up for it: In the glass, this Pinot Noir was prune colored. The nose gave away raspberry, cherry, white cake batter, and was slightly perfumy. An intriguing mix of aromas. On the palate, the wine was a bit smoky, showed aromas of cocoa and cherry and just great acidity! Someone wasn’t shying away from it in a very good way. There was also enough forest aromas in the wine to make it recognizable as a Pinot Noir, but it wore its New World colors proudly. A great mix, in my book. This should work really well with a BBQ and was a great surprise! Retails for between $15 and $20 and is a great value!


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2011 Maxwell Creek Rosé Wine Napa Valley

2011 Maxwell Creek Rosé Wine Napa Valley

2011 Maxwell Creek Rosé Wine Napa Valley

I don’t know how things are going weather wise for you all, but Ann Arbor has finally had a few sunnier days and temperatures have begun to rise. All this lured me into craving a rosé (or blush) wine. I have a weak spot for Rosés. Always had. While growing up, one of my favorite wines was a Portugieser Weißherbst made by my winemaker friend Pitt Zimmermann in my hometown. Portugieser is the grape, and Weißherbst is a German denomination for a rosé wine that is made from just one grape variety and from one single vineyard. I loved that wine: It was always served very cold, was quite sweet and always hit you with strawberries all over the place.

Over the years, it has become a bit too sweet for my taste buds, but when home I still enjoy a glass or two of this wine. Let’s call it one of the gateway drugs…

For those not familiar with Rosé, it is a wine made from red grapes. Unlike red wine, the pressed must does not sit on the skins and stems for long (or at all). Since the color in red wine comes from the skin, and the juice is white just like in a white grape, this leads to just slight discoloration in the wine, hence the name rosé (or blush). Many regions produce these wines, and there are some general rules: Rosés from Southern France tend to be the most dry of all Rosés. Very dry are usually also the Spanish wines of that kind. American and German Rosés tend to be sweeter, with more residual sugar. To me, there is a place for both. While the Southern European versions are great food companions, I actually enjoy a bit of residual sugar in terrace or garden slurpers, when I have the wine on its own.

I bought four of these bottles of Maxwell Creek during a flash sale on Wines Till Soldout and this was the first of the four I opened. I paid $9 per bottle, I believe. “Maxwell Creek Cellars” is located in Rutherford, California. A bit of research showed that it is not a “proper” winery, but rather a filler of wines apparently serving as a second label to sell off overcapacity. The great news about that is that it is usually produce from good wineries just sold under a generic name which comes with a steep cut in price. I was unable to unearth much more about this wine or label, so if you know more please let me know in the comments section!

The wine had 13.7% ABV. Winehoarder declares that the grape varieties used in the wine are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot.

First off, I have to say I LOVED the color of the 2011 Maxwell Creek Rosé. It was a darker red that I associate with strawberries. I so love that color and prefer it over the more salmony or orange looking rosés. The nose was very fruity, just what I wanted and had hoped for: strawberries, gooseberry and peach, some water melon. Really draws you in if you like fruit-forward aromas. On the palate, the wine was quite light-bodied, with good acidity and some tannin giving it body. To me, peach and cream flavors dominated, later gooseberry coming in. It also reminded me of one of the ubiquitous blends in Germany of sparkling wine and vineyard peach liqueur (just without the bubbles). There was some slight bitterness in the finish, which I think might come from the pretty high alcohol level, which overall led to an unbalanced wine. Nina remarked that for her, the wine was too sweet in the middle section and then not good enough at the end. I thought that was a pretty good explanation of what is going on. There is definitely some sweetness to this wine which many will probably not appreciate. The finish overall is disappointing.

But what can I say? The wine was not impressive or anything special (except for the nose). However, I think this is another example of a wine I only want to drink on a summer afternoon, sitting in the sun. And then it will hit all the right notes and all the right points. It was definitely not the right day to open this bottle with the 45-50 F we are having right now. But I am happy that I have three more bottles to open this summer.

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Trader Joe’s Espiral Vinho Rosé

Espiral Vinho verde’s blush sibling

I know, I know, summer is over. It really is. It is dreary out there, raining and cold. But I found this rosé or blush wine two weeks ago at Trader Joe’s (yeah, right, why do they only start carrying this one now, when it gets colder?) and had to give it a try.

I am huge fan of its sibling Espiral Vinho verde, so it seemed natural to give this one a try. Just as the vinho verde, vinho rosé is meant to be a young, fresh, slightly bubbly drink, uncomplicated and fun. For more info on these young wines from Portugal check out my vinho verde post mentioned above.

This non-vintage wine has 10% ABV and I paid about $5 for it at Trader Joe’s.

The color is intriguing, a rather bright, slightly darker pinkish red. On the nose, I immediately got bubble gum, then strawberry and melons. Except for the bubble gum, it smelled like fun. On the palate, there was lots of strawberry, a certain creaminess to the wine, and it had a nicely lively acidity. It had some hints of bubbles, but had clearly settled, and at some point the wine reminded me of the Espiral vinho verde with its pear and apple notes. It was definitely a nice, easy to drink wine and I am looking forward to having more of it next summer…because, while it brought back memories of summer, it was definitely not a season appropriate rosé (which in fact exist!).

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