Rose Round Up Part One

Ah…the heart of Summer. The bells of ice cream carts, the aroma of grilled meat, and tube socks for sale on the street corner. Yes, this marks the fleeting days of warm weather and outdoor dining in my hood, but more importantly – Rose season. The glorious bottles of fruity and dry pink nectar that glisten in the summer sun, dripping icy water as the shuttle in and out of  the cooler and offer their refreshing berry goodness into my overly formal stemware. As I watch my grillmaster hubby expertly man the charcoal, I couldn’t be happier quaffing a terrific pink wine from the Mediterranean, equally at home in Waterford and plastic tumblers.

Regular readers of Diva Dish are hip to the fact that I regularly defend rose as a legitimate and sophisticated beverage, but quickly I offer a few refresher points.

Pink does not equal sweet. The color of the wine has absolutely nothing to do with the sugar level.

Most of the world makes dry rose wines. White Zinfandel, Cold Duck, and Lancers are the exception to the norm.

Rose goes with darn near any food. It has many of the tasty flavors of red grapes, but refreshes when served chilled. Perfect for picnics and backyard BBQ.

You definitely want a 2005 vintage. Roses are best very fresh.

So, without further ado  – here’s my 2005 Rose Roundup.

Chateau Revelette Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France

Gotta love an American, trained in Germany, making wine in France. This mostly Grenache cuvee shows all of the best qualities of a Provence rose. Its light salmon color and soft berry fruit is balanced with great acidity. Hints of wildflowers and a mineral note all add to the complexity of this tasty treat. The wine is also 100% eco-certified, making it a responsible choice for those committed to organic and sustainable farming.

Domaine de Fondreche “L’Instant” Cotes du Ventoux, France

A perennial favorite, the 2005 is lighter in color than usual but shows all the same tasty flavors I’ve come to expect. Bright and juicy with strawberry and cranberry fruit, the bubble gum aromas are tempered by whispers of melon, lavender, and white flowers.

Chateau Haut Sarthes Bergerac Rose, France

This brawny rose is crafted from Bordeaux varietals (40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc) and delivers some of the herbal aromas of rosemary and bay leaf consistent with their style. Plenty of cherry fruit flavors to remind you this is a fresh rose, ready for immediate consumption.

Chateau Mourges du Gres “Les Galets” Costieres de Nimes, France

The spiciest of the bunch, the Les Galets bursts with floral and black pepper aromas. I can’t wait to try this one with a pepper-crusted fish or fruit glazed grilled chicken.

Chateau Grande Cassagne Costieres de Nimes, France

My slutty valentine, year after year. This wine is so forward with its bright cherry Jolly Rancher fruit, followed by delightful aromas of cotton candy and Smarties. (For real, the wine smells like Smarties!) But don’t let these tutti-fruiti flavors fool you into thinking this is a sweet, goofball wine. No siree bob. Its got plenty of chalk, mineral, and a hint of spice to remind you of its pedigree. Sadly, its probably already sold out in most retail stores, but snag a bottle if you see it.

Chateau Guiot Costieres de Nimes, France

This tangy treat actually has a bit of tannin and real backbone to stand up to assertive flavors. Its all about raspberry jam with currant, licorice, and cranberry notes. Yum.

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