Rosé Roundup – Round 1

Many people associate Rosé wine with warm weather and plentiful sunshine.  Which means, for the most part, summertime.  I used to be one of these “many people.”  However, now that I’m living in SoCal – where temps have already reached close to triple digits and it’s only April! – I’m thinking that Rosé will be a go-to wine for me year-round now.  This definitely goes in the “pro” column for our move!

The 2017s are just starting to hit the store shelves and I’ve already scooped up several. Over the next several months, I’m going to do a series of “Rosé Roundups” in an effort to find my favorites. 🙂  And I’m going to do my best to branch out of my comfort zone of France and Washington State Rosés.

Here’s my first set of Rosés this season:

Margerum Wine Company 2017 ‘Roseraie’ Grenache Rosé, Santa Barbara County, CA.  (12.5% abv.)


This wine is all about sour cherries on the nose and palate – almost in a Sour Patch Kid candy kind of way.  There’s some under ripe raspberries in here too.  The back label says that a “touch of red Grenache from barrel” is added at bottling to add tannins and complexity.  I haven’t seen too many Rosés made this way – probably because it isn’t allowed in Europe (except for Rosé Champagne).  Here’s more information on various Rose Production Methods.

It is interesting to note that unlike prior vintages, the producer’s name (Margerum Wine Company) appears nowhere on the front label. And there’s no information about this particular Rosé on their website (however, there is info about another one they produce, Riviera Rosé, which sounds quite delicious!) Makes me wonder why Roseraie is absent. Are they not as “proud” of this one? Is it from less prestigious grapes? (I definitely believe so). Was it produced solely for Whole Foods (where I purchased it for $20)?

Whatever its mysterious existence might be, I’d put this wine in the “porch pounder” category.  It’s not very complex or interesting, but definitely goes down easily.

AIX 2017 Rosé, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, FR.  (13% abv)


This Rosé was more herbal and mineral driven compared to the Roseraie above.  Lots of yummy smelling rose aromatics as well.  Tasted like I was munching on dried lavender and herbs, with a slightly spicy finish.  AIX is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan and Syrah.

The region of Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence produces almost 2 million cases of wine a year.  And this particular wine is widely available (I found mine at Whole Food for $18).  AIX had a bit more going on for it than the Roseraie, and would be killer with summer salads.


San Agustin Vineyards 2014 ‘Rosé D’Luna’, San Diego County, CA.  (13% abv)

San AgustinWhen I purchased this at a local wine store, I didn’t notice that it was from 2014.  It’s a bit odd to have a 3+ year old Rosé on the shelves that isn’t from one of the more age-worthy wine regions like Tavel or Bandol.  In general, most Rosés are not meant to age and should ideally be consumed within a year of their vintage date. Or, if you’re me, within a few hours of bringing the bottle home. 🙂  However, it appears that 2014 is actually this producer’s latest Rosé release.  Which is also a bit odd.  What the heck has it been doing for 3 years?

This Rosé is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malvasia Bianca.  If you’re unfamiliar with the latter, it’s primarily grown in the Mediterranean area and usually produces sweet wines that are higher in alcohol.  I’m not a huge fan of off dry Rosés, and unfortunately this one was no different.  Hubs said he wished he didn’t see it before he tasted it because he was immediately turned off by it’s almost neon orange color (which is ironic since he’s a huge 80s fan).

Rose MilkOverall, this smelled and tasted like my Grandma’s Rose Milk lotion (anyone else remember this stuff?)  And yes, I did eat some of this as a child after sneaking into her bathroom because I thought something that smelled like this would taste good.  Turns out, not so much. I tried this wine over the course of 3 days hoping that my opinion might change . . . it didn’t.

Savage Grace 2017 Cabernet Franc Rose, Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley, WA.  (11.9% abv)

Ok, NOW we’re talking!  This was hands down my favorite Rosé of this first roundup .  Not a huge surprise since Savage Grace is one of my go-to Washington wineries.  I love his single varietal, single vineyard wines because you get a genuine expression of the grape and the land.  His 2017 Cabernet Franc Rosé was pink grapefruits, tart strawberries and raspberries and minerality.  I could drink this all day – with food or without. Savage Grace

I got my bottle from my good friend, Stacy.  But it’s available online here . . . and I might just have to order some more!

I’ve started a Rosé outline and will add to it as the season goes on.

What’s your favorite Rosé?  Let me know of any you think I should try! 🙂

Bandol AOC

I love this photo.  It’s such a juxtaposition of extremes: a bottle of rosé from an area in Southern France with 3,000+ hours of sunshine a year, nestled into several inches of Pacific Northwest snow.

Provence is world-renowned for its stunning beaches, fragrant fields of lavender, and some of the best rosé on the planet.  Not only is Provence France’s oldest winemaking region – it’s also the only region in the world to focus primarily on the production of rosé. And they do a pretty kickass job of it.

Rosés from Provence are often light, crisp, delicately fruity wines that are perfect for sipping away an idle afternoon. Bandol is a rosé dominant appellation located within the southern part of Provence, right up against the Mediterranean Sea. And Bandol rosés are nothing like your typical, pink porch-pounders.

For starters, Mourvèdre is the dominant grape in these wines – lending more savory, and sometimes meaty flavors.  Quite different from the usual floral and bright red fruit notes found in rosés where Grenache or Cinsault are the leading players.  Mourvèdre is a grape that loves the heat (it originated somewhere near the toasty Mediterranean coast of Spain) and the steamy vineyards of Bandol are a perfect environment for it to thrive.

Also, unlike the majority of Provence rosés that can be sipped with nothing more than your sandals, Bandol rosés have a degree of heft and complexity (and higher alcohol content) that make them almost need food in order to shine.  I’ve actually found that they can be overwhelming on their own, and enjoy them so much more when paired with the right food – which can range from a burger fresh off the BBQ to roasted chicken to ratatouille (a classic dish of the region focusing on vegetables – which probably explains why I’ve never made this myself). 😉

Like other rosés, it drinks best when well chilled.  So stick it in your fridge or a snowbank for a bit before enjoying. 🙂

And here’s the outline on Bandol!



Of all the things I thought I’d find during my first visit to New Orleans a couple weeks ago, one of the most awesome and unique wine bars certainly wasn’t one of them. Bacchanal in the Ninth Ward  was truly a memorable experience. Combination retail store, restaurant, outdoor courtyard/jazz bar – with one of the most exciting, wine nerdy selections of wines I’ve ever seen.

Me in Bacchanal
Kid in a candy store!

Bacchanal’s retail store was full of bottles from all over the globe – but the focus was definitely Old World. I didn’t notice anything overly expensive, most of these gems were under $30.   And their glass pours – Pinotage! Who glass pours Pinotage??! And Jacquére! Even this corkdork couldn’t remember WTF that grape was all about (FTR – it’s found mostly in Savoie and produces fairly neutral, dry white wines).

Hubs wanted a Rosé (and who am I to argue with a man who loves to drink pink?!), so I grabbed this bottle from Bacchanal’s well stocked cooler:Loimer Rose

I recognized Loimer as a producer I’d tried before.  The wine was 90% Zweigelt, 10% Pinot Noir. “I love Zweigelt!” I exclaimed to the guy ringing up our purchase, who immediately gave me a disbelieving look. “I’ve never had anyone tell me that before” he said.  Probably true, although I’m sipping on some Zweigelt right now as I write this and am totally digging it.

The Rosé was a perfect start to the evening. Light and fruity, but with some savory notes. Paired deliciously with the giganto cheese board we put together. We also went through a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau and a sparkling Txakolina that eve. And sampled our neighbor table’s Argentinian Pinot Noir.

So many unique regions and varietals under one roof, and a very unpretentious and adventurous environment.  Why don’t we have something like this where I live??!

The reason I decided to focus on Niederösterreich is because of that delicious bottle of Rosé.  At the time, I could not for the life of me remember much about this region from my WSET studies, but the bottle was memorable. As was the entire eve. 🙂  If you’re ever in New Orleans, check out Bacchanal Wine.

Here’s the outline on Niederösterreich: (and I’ll probably drill down into the specific DACs and other regions at some point in the future).