We've had uncharacteristically balmy and warm temps in Boston this week, and with May just around the corner, it's not quite premature to talk about rose wines. Or is it? You know from previous posts of mine on the topic that rose is that special pink wine that is irrefutably dry. It is also something that is released early each Spring in order to be served fresh off the presses, if you will, and keep us refreshed during the warm months of the year. There is great anticipation each year when 'rose season' will begin, a sort of unofficial statement of warmer days to come.
For better or worse - not enough data points are in yet to be sure - the last few years we've noticed a trend whereby producers, importers and wholesalers seem to be in ka-hoots (sp?) to get the first jump on rose season. Last year's (2009) roses from France (Provence being the most famous production area) offered a crisp punch, a happy marriage of minerality and ample fruit, which seemed in never-ending supply. We were grateful. Just the way we like it!
This year's batch, the 2010's, seem a bit lackluster as yet. They aren't bad wines by any stretch of the imagination. But coming on the heels of such a lovely 2009 vintage, it's hard to get as excited at the moment. We can't help wonder if our experience thus far with Provencial rose (the main disappointment) is that the wines are being released TOO early. It's possible the wines just need to settle in, get acclimated and integrated, to really deliver. But we won't know just yet.
In the meantime, if like me you are happy for the warmer days and want to scratch the rose itch, I recommend giving Provence a little time and trying other areas. Right now I'm digging a terrific rose from Bordeaux (you almost never see rose coming from this appellation) that is a blend of two 'bigger' grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; it is from Chateau Larroque. Next up is a new arrival VERY few were lucky to get their hands on this year. It is a rose of Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley's Anne Amie made in the saignee method and aged ever so briefly in wood, which gives it a richer mouthfeel. Massachusetts was the only state outside of Oregon to get an ever-so-small allocation of 15 cases. Grab a couple of bottles now to get you over the Provencial hump!
Are you ready for rose season? Found any new favorites?