Rosé: Summer in a bottle

Rosé: Summer in a bottle
Rosé wines embody the south of France in Provence. Fresh and fruity, Rosé has captured the hearts and palates of wine drinkers everywhere. Courtesy photo

It came quickly with little history of an international craze. Rosé had been confined to the Provence district of France for its rise to a major style of wine.

The vines are mostly along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Its romantic coastline includes towns like St. Tropez, Marselle and Bandol. It was here that the concept of a blush blend came into being. Rhone varietals such as Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre were being made into zesty, refreshing Rosé and became the standard for all other Rosés around the globe.

I recall bumping into Provence reps at several trade shows and thought nothing about them. Then I changed my mindset about Rosé when a leading resort hotel in La Jolla brought in the governor of Provence and the mayor of Nice, the leading resort city on the French Riviera of Provence, to present the wines with a wine and food extravaganza, the likes of which I hadn’t seen in a while.

Mirval 2017 Rosé wine in the Provence district of the south of France has peach and raspberry notes that leap from the glass and is currently leaping in sales in the United States. Courtesy photo

There were seafood dishes with garlic, herbs and spices. The fish stew, Bouillabaisse, and meat strips smothered in olive oil and garlic blew me away. All the while, only Rosés were served with these Mediterranean food treasures and they were standouts. Was this a touched up white wine, or was it a blush red? I had to know more.

I started tasting many Provence wines but I kept coming back to two that had the acidity of a legitimate summer-style appetizing wine, and they are Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses 2017 from Languedoc ($17) and Miraval Cote De Provence 2017 ($21.99). Both come in lovely bottles of distinct appearance.

Miraval is owned and operated by the celebrity actors Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie at a beautiful estate in Provence. Pitt has taken to making wine in a serious way and devotes most of his time at the winery, producing rich renditions of Rosé.

He is collaborating with the famous Provence winemakers of the Perrin Family of fine wines in the Rhone Valley. The wine is a pretty pale color with intense aromas.

The acidity is refreshing coming from 1,200 feet above sea level. Peach, citrus and raspberry keep the flavor vibrant and crisp. Be sure to serve it at 50 degrees or chillier for the best experience. Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses is a Cinsault hybrid Rosé from nearby Languedoc. It was spotlighted in Wine Spectator’s Savvy Shopper section at a rating of 90. This is “delicate, tangy raspberry, cherry and lemon zest, with mineral herb,” wrote Spectator.

These and other big pinks are enjoying great popularity with Rosé growing by 67 percent from 2016 to 2017. America is in love with pink, but wait a minute … California Rosé is pumping out some great Rosé in the $20 price point. Leading the race is V. Sattui Winery of Napa Valley with its 2017 Rosato, a Sangiovese based Rosé of limited production with a dry, crisp elegance found in the Mediterranean based varietal ($26). This is a winery-only product so check it out at vsattui.com. I also like the 2017 Little Black Dress with Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. Like most Rosés, it’s a vivid salmon-pink in color. Taste fresh strawberry and juicy watermelon. Go to lbdwines.com

I also like Refugio made from Syrah and also offering aromas of strawberry and watermelon. Tastes include pink grapefruit and white peach. See refugioranch.com. And finally, Pali wines has two 2017 Rosés: the Pali Estate Vineyard of Pinot Noir ($29) and the 2017 Tower 15 Rosé of Pinot Noir ($22).

Rosé is the cool wine to drink as the Summer gets hot, hot, hot.  Keep it cool grapeheads.

Wine Bytes

• Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas presents Tour d’ Italia at 6 p.m. Aug. 27. Italy has a culture that is famous for its diversity of wine. There is something to please every palate.  Six wines for $30 per person, $20 for wine club members. Check out meritagewinemarket.com.

• Vino with Gino begins at PAON at 7 p.m. Sept. 19. This is a Blue Chip wine tasting series, this time old Bordeaux reds and powerful whites. Gino Campbell is a brilliant wine guru and he has lined up breathtaking French wines and a smart lecture on the history of Bordeaux. Cost is $360 each. PAON has received the Best of Award of Excellence for its wine collection. Don’t miss this one. The wait is over. Call (760) 729-7377.

• A Spanish wine tasting is planned at La Costa Wine Company from 4 to 9 p.m. Aug. 17 and 18. Cost is $25. This is a sit-down tasting with a tour of Spain and its wines. Call (760) 431-8455.

• An Orin Swift wine dinner will be held at Flemings Steak House downtown San Diego, from 6:30 to 8:30 Aug. 17. Cost is $110. per person. The event pairs Orin Swift’s most potent wines with an incredible four-course dinner. Reserve your spot at (619) 237-1155.

Reach him at Frank@tasteofwineandfood.com

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