Anyone who’s visited our shop, Foxcroft Wine Co. knows that we’re very passionate about Rosé wine – rosés are one of the most versatile wines in the world and one of the oldest. Obviously they pair well with Mediterranean cuisine (from Italian to Moroccan) being harbingers of the warm season but last well until the holidays, being a great foil to Thanksgiving turkey. Thankfully, they are enjoying a huge resurgence with wine lovers, with a 12% growth rate from 2009 to 2013. Slowly but surely the ghost of White Zinfandel and all it represents has been laid to rest and more and more people are discovering the pleasures of real rosé.
Rosé wines are made by exposing the fermenting grape juice (white) to limited skin contact (red) and then pouring off the juice to finish its fermentation. The wine develops a salmon color from that exposure and in the best examples has a balance of weight, acidity and flavor. Many classic examples come from Provence in Southern France, although there are many promising examples coming from other wine-growing regions, including California.
Unlike many red wines (and white) that require aging to soften their tannins and develop secondary flavors and complexity, rosés are meant for the most part to be enjoyed in the here and now, being best when they are fresh and lively. They remind us that wine, first and foremost, is meant to be enjoyed – seeming to shout, “Hey it’s only fermented grape juice… relax.”
Here are a few of our favorite rosé wines from the 2014 vintage:
Commanderie de Peyrassol 2011 (Côtes de Provence) $22.99 bottle
Originally founded by the Knights Templar as a refuge for pilgrims and crusaders on their way to the Holy Land, this estate has a long and illustrious past with the first recorded harvest, taking place in 1256. The estate, just north of St. Tropez, passed into the hands of the Knights of Malta and was well maintained up until the French Revolution with it eventually being purchased by the Rigord Family in 1870 who put this property on the map with their high quality wines. Farmed and produced organically, this wine is the essence of Provence in a glass; a beautiful nose, dry and crisp with a stony touch that gives it “class and elegance…”
Domaine du Bagnol 2014 (Cassis, Cote d’Azur) $28.99 bottle
Cassis, arguably one of the Mediterranean’s most picturesque villages, was first planted to the vine in the 12th century. (Do you detect a pattern here?) Domain du Bagnol, originally owned by Madame Claire Lefevre and then purchased by Jean-Louis Genovesi after her death in the early 1990s, produces some of the town’s most stellar wines, and their rosé is a perfect example. The vineyards there are planted in a manner that allows the perfect circumstances for blending their unique terroir with the influence of the sea. Cooling winds from all directions allow for perfect ripeness while maintaining great acidity and balance.
Matthiasson Rosé 2014 (Napa Valley) $29.99 bottle
Leading the revolution toward “balance” in Napa are Steve and Jill Klein Matthiasson, owners of Matthiasson Winery. Steve was voted “Winemaker of the Year” by The San Francisco Chronicle in 2011, a publication well respected within professional wine circles. His rosé is produced from Syrah on a small postage stamp 5-acre parcel in the heart of Napa Valley. It’s a dead ringer for some of the world’s greatest rosé wines and totally changed my mind about what is possible in California.