Spring & Rose Wine

Published May 10, 2013

Spring has sprung and there is no better way to usher in the warmer weather than with this season’s new Roses that are beginning to bloom on store shelves. The wonderful thing about Roses is that they can be made in so many ways. Just to dispel some of the myths regarding these wines, they are not typically made by combining red and white grape juice. In their cheapest form (read not so good), they can be made this way. Or often they can be made in a sweet style using white Zinfandel. Typically these are the cheap Cali wines you might find on grocery shelves in the US.

However, the ones that we will explore here are typically made by using red grapes that have had varying degrees of skin contact with the juice and thereby impart their colour to create a “pinkish” or almost “salmon” like hue. Generally speaking these wines are considered “dry” yet they can vary in their degrees of fruitiness. The red grapes used to create these types of roses can be the Pinot Noir or Gamay grape as is common with most of BC’s versions while others use Grenache or Syrah which is more typical of the regions in the south of France like the Languedoc and Provence. The benchmark for Roses are to be found in the postage stamp sized region of the Rhone Valley called Tavel. Here Roses can be enjoyed young and fresh and still have considerable concentration and weight enough to pair with a grilled steak!

Let’s take a look at a few examples of these often misunderstood wines. I have selected a number of wines that should be widely available and range from $15 to $30. No matter where you start your quest you should find something to put a blush on.

La Vielle Ferme Rose
La Vielle Ferme Rose 2011
(Rhone, France)
$14.99-$16.95 (prices may vary)

Made from a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault this wine has a beautiful rose colour, floral nose with hints of aniseed and brown sugar following through with notes of white flowers, cherries and fruit drops. This wine is a great summer sipper on its own or with charcuterie on a blanket.

Haywire Rose
Haywire Rose 2010
(Oliver, BC)
$19.99-$22.95 (prices may vary)

Made from Gamay Noir grapes grown above the town of Oliver, Haywire’s lighter coloured Rose offers up red summer fruits of cherry and strawberry. If this doesn’t say summer in a glass I don’t know what does.

Joie Rose
Joie Rose 2012
(Naramata, BC)
$24.99-$27.99 (prices may vary)

Joie’s iconic Rose (lovingly know as Re-Think Pink) is an inspired combination of Pinot Noir and Gamay reflecting the unique combination found in the Loire Valley of France. Moderate alcohol and natural acidity sets it apart from its southern Mediterranean counterparts making this wine a fabulous sipper equally comfortable on the deck of your home or boat. Paired with a spinach salad and fresh cut strawberries, this wine makes any table look spectacular.

L’Orangerie 2011
(Pays D’Oc, France)
$13.99-$15.95 (prices may vary)

L’Orangerie Rose from the south of France makes a departure from the truly strawberry coloured wines into the realm of orange reminiscent of a fresh salmon fillet. This wine features a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Merlot. It’s all in there to make for a spectacular bargain. One of my faves for its value!

Perrin Rose
Perrin Rose 2010
(Tavel, France)
$29.99-$31.95 (prices may vary)

Like all beautiful things you can always go premium. This spectacular rose from Tavel is a prime example of the heights that rose can achieve without necessarily breaking the bank. Most Tavel Roses will run you in the $40 territory while this one can be had for around $30. Definitely worth it! The big surprise will be its depth of flavours and complexity. And if you don’t feel like pouring a big red on a hot night this summer with your steak…try this on for size.