I make no secret whatever of the pleasures I attain from a well made rosé wine. On the other hand, I have written often enough that in my opinion no rosé (other than for a rosé Champagne) will attain a score higher than 90 points because rosés, no matter how delicious, now matter how refreshing, no mater how packed with charm, are not meant to be taken with great seriousness. Considering that rosés are now coming to market at prices as high as one can imagine for the category, I decided to put that to a test today.
Considering as well that today is Rosh haShannah, I decided to have some fun and my morning tasting was truly blind – that is to say a mixed tasting of young reds, whites and rosés sampled in my tasting room while I was fully blindfolded. A bit clumsy, I will admit, but with my assistant to write down my notes as I dictated them and to guide me so that my hand would not knock over expensive glasses, great fun.
As to the myth that one cannot distinguish reds from whites – once again disproved, for in every case even though the reds were of Gamay (Beaujolais Villages and several young, light Swiss wines) there was no problem in distinguishing them as red. If there was a problem it was in that I mistook several of the rosé wines for whites. I forgive myself for that minor failing.
Following are my tasting notes for four of the Côtes de Provence rosé wines that I sampled, those the "target" of this tasting as these cost between US$40-100 each. Fine effort for the region but worth the price? Not in my book. By the way, color descriptions were made after my blindfold was removed but before I was shown the bottles to know from which producer the wines had come.
Chateau d'Esclans, Rosé, Garrus, Côtes de Provence, 2007: About as delicious as a rosé can get. The color of blushing peaches, medium-bodied, with summer fruits, cherry, red berry and pear notes all on a background that is simultaneously crisp and creamy. Generous and long, as good a match to veal dishes as to chicken or seafood. Drink now-2009. US$ 105. Score 89. (Tasted 30 Sep 2008)
Chateau d'Esclans, Rosé, Les Clans, Côtes de Provence, 2007: A wine bound to make you smile. Pale pink with orange tints, medium-bodied, with generous notes of Oriental spices and opening to show mango, papaya and apple notes. Finishes crisp but creamy. Lovely. Drink now-2009. US$110. Score 88. (Tasted 30 Sep 2008)
Chateau d'Esclans, Rosé, Côtes de Provence, 2007: Pink with orange tints, medium-bodied, with fine balancing acidity and showing an appealing red cherry and raspberry personality. Finishes with a nice hint of white pepper. Drink now-2010. US$ 40. Score 88. (Tasted 30 Sep 2008)
Domaines Ott, Rosé, Chateau de Selle, Côtes de Provence, 2006: Rose-petal pink towards orange, medium-bodied, with fine acidity to give the wine liveliness, that matched by citrus, apple and red cherry fruits, those supported by hints of minerals and white pepper. Lingers nicely. Drink now. US$ 45. Score 88. (Tasted 30 Sep 2008)
P.S. All nice wines. Even very nice wines. Would I buy them for my pleasure? At those prices, no.