A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"


Rose – A Great Wine for Sunday Afternoons

June 23rd, 2010

Do you have a favorite wine? My choice would typically be a full bodied red. However, if I was eating a plate of oysters or ceviche, I would select a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.  That being said, I have become quite fond of rose wine on a warm Sunday afternoon.

Rose is pink in color, and should be crisp and dry (not sweet). The standard was set in Tavel, a small town in the southern Rhone region of France. Rose wine is always made from red grapes, typically Grenache or Cinsault. The color is lighter than a red wine because the skins are left in contact with the fermenting mixture for only a short time, perhaps 10 – 36 hours.

There are many delicious roses made in southern France; but I live in southern California where there is limited availability of French wines. I have therefore been drinking California roses. These wines do not have the same historical reputation as the wines of Tavel, but they are fun.

How thorough and scientific was my analysis of the roses of California? I would classify my study as a fun sampling rather than an exhaustive taste test. The tasting area was a bocce court.

Bocce Court

Bocce Court

Although this venue may not be typically used for wine tastings, I found it very effective. During a typical wine tasting you might compare four to ten glasses of wine; intently analyzing the color, smell, and flavor components of each glass. The bocce court method is sightly more relaxed. First, you admire the blue sky and be appreciative of the warm weather. Next, you toss your bocce ball, hopefully with the utmost precision. And finally, you quaff your rose. Delicious.

I have sampled about a dozen California roses, and most were quite good. My favorite rose is Zaca Mesa’s Z Gris. It’s dry, crisp and rather light bodied; which makes it quite refreshing on a warm afternoon. This wine is also complex and very well balanced; making it stand out above the others. My runner up is a rose from Demetria Estate. It’s interesting that Zaca Mesa and Demetria are both located on Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos. Note that these wines are best served chilled.

Wine tasting is not just about ratings, it’s about fun. I think Zaca Mesa’s Z Gris is a winner; but I also realize there must be many other great roses. Have you tried a rose that you like?

5 Responses to “Rose – A Great Wine for Sunday Afternoons”

  1. Jean Brooks says:

    Sounds so good- will try it for a change soon. Hope you had fun yesterday J

  2. Barbara Green says:

    I am more a white wine drinker than a red just because it is lighter and it suits the CA weather and cuisine but often opt for a Rose as an alternative. On a tasting tour we too discovered the Zaca Z Gris and agree with all of your comments…a winner.

  3. Mary Ellen says:

    As Dan mentioned to you, we found that a lovely summer wine alternative is Sanford Pinot Noir-Vin Gris. It is a beautiful rosé color, light yet flavorful. Yum! I think I’ll have some now…..

  4. Ed McAniff says:

    I just saw that The Wine Spectator gave 90points to a rose. Since it’s from France I will probably not be able to find it. It’s called Chateau Montard Cotes de Provence Rose 2009 with a suggested price of $13.

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