I began writing this article, as I did about a week ago, sitting in a window seat, on a flight this time from Dallas Fort Worth to LAX. It’s early evening and we’re taking off straight in to one of the most perfect sunsets I’ve ever seen. A burning, neon sun sits low on the horizon, while purple cotton candy clouds cling to a pink satin sky. It’s beautiful, the kind of snippet of pure perfection that makes you feel alive, a moment to appreciate and savor.
Galileo once said that “wine is sunlight held together by water.” I sat and stared, watching the colors change in the sky, pondering this bit of poetic wisdom. It made me wonder what wine I could pair with this experience. What wine would capture the essence of this moment?
A number of choices came to mind as I imagined a pairing for my sunset, but in the end, rosés were the obvious choice. With their color to match the scene, and their bright and delicate flavors, a good rosé is like a sunset in a bottle. It just so happened that I had recently had the opportunity to taste two very impressive rosés from two regions a world apart in every way.
Texas and France, when was the last time you heard those two names in the same sentence? Well, I’m back from Dallas, and I’m breaking back into the swing of things with a wine from my travels and a wine from my cellar.
Wine #1: Michel Gassier Chateau de Nages 2009 Nimes Reserve Rosé
Our first wine comes from Costières de Nimes near the South East coast of France. Nimes is officially classified as part of the Rhone Valley; however it sits almost at the center of where the Rhone, Provence, and Languedoc-Roussillon meet up. The majority of the wines grown there are red and are based on Rhone varietals, however, a small percent of those same grapes are also made into rosé wines.
Owned and operated by a family of wine makers four generations old, Chateau de Nages is proud of their heritage and of their region, producing wines that convey their commitment to both. Their grapes are grown using sustainable, organic farming techniques, and their wines are made as close to nature as possible. The Reserve Rosé is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah.
It’s strawberry red in the glass, with a medium viscosity. There are sweet strawberry aromas that are almost identical to the real thing. An inviting kitchen spice tone and rich vanilla scents open up with a soft spin in the glass. A stronger whirl around opens up lots of lemon curd, rose petal, and melon. This is one of the most complex and interesting aromas that I have found in a rose in this price range, in France, or anywhere else, with its ripeness and perfect crispness.
Delicate melon and strawberry flavors greet the palate, followed by soft, peachy tones, and a firm minerality. There is the faintest touch of watermelon, before moving into a core of soft violets and an almost creamy finish. This is a very nice wine with excellent structure and perfectly crisp minerals. This is an impressive wine regardless of price, but at just under $8.00 this is unquestionably…
Worth Buying. 87 points.
Wine #2: La Bodega Texas Blush
If you read my post on Lone Star Chardonnay, you’ll probably recognize La Bodega. I do not typically like to repeat the same producer without some time in between the articles, but this wine was so unique for what it is, that I couldn’t wait to feature it.
Consisting of Texas grown Merlot, this rosé is made in the lightly sweet style of a White Zinfandel. That said, I wasn’t expecting much, but surprisingly, this may have been the wine that impressed me most from this producer.
The aroma is spicy and full of cinnamon stick and candy notes. On the palate, there is jellied cranberry, creamed honey, and a very firm flinty quality that absolutely makes the wine. It’s well balanced and the sweetness is only very mildly detectable. This is an interesting wine, and it has the classic cinnamon candy quality that I almost always find in Texas Merlot, which I think is pretty cool. It’s not cheap, but if you like the White Zinfandel style of rosé and you’re looking for something with a little more depth, and some serious Texas terroir, this could be…
Worth Trying. 85 points.
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The Grapevine: How often do you drink rosé?