Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Rosé Overrules Summertime Heat: New Favorites From France and Spain

This might be the Rosé Summer. Store shelves are bursting with pink concoctions. In our opinion, the quality of rosé has never been better.

It’s Rosé Weather

We really didn’t need another sign, but there it was. Record-breaking heat in Ohio pushed the thermometer to 96 degrees. If you don’t want to be confined to the indoors, there is only one proper solution: chilled rosé. Through a recent Wine Studio education program we were able to taste a quartet of rosé offerings. We added a fifth – just because it’s what we do!

Domaine Paul Mas has about 1,500 acres in France’s Languedoc region in the south of France. Mas has agreements with other vineyards totaling about twice that amount in acreage. Languedoc, hugged by the Mediterranean to the south and mountains to the north, is known for its diverse terrain. Domaine Mas has access to 40 different grape varieties.

We sampled a rosé trio from two Domaine Mas Brands. We started our journey with the 2016 Arrogant Frog Rosé paired with turkey tenderloin and cranberry reduction, maple glazed sweet potatoes and asparagus. One of the joys of rosé is that it pairs with a vast array of entrees. An exception would be a heavy steak – that’s Cabernet territory.

Arrogant Frog delivers a lot of arrogance for only $10 SRP. It is 100% Syrah and is rich with cherry and floral flavors. Like the other Domaine Mas rosé we sampled, it has a screw closure – that’s no problem with us. This is a wine intended to be consumed while young.

Attesting to the range of Domaine Mas is the Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux Rosé Brut NV St. Hilaire. Limoux is know for sparkling wine and this crémant is a fun blend of 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin and 10% Pinot Noir.

Bubbly rosé is a double treat. This is elegant and playful. The price is also easy to swallow at $16. The stream of bubbles was long-lived, but not very vigorous.

Our Domaine Mas trio wrapped up with the 2016 Coté Mas Rosé Aurore, which has a Sud de France appellation. It is priced at $11, but is in a liter bottle – giving you a third more than the 750 ML standard bottle. It is made with 50% Grenache Noir, 30% Cinsault and 20% Syrah. These are typical Mediterranean varieties. The bottle aims to embody the “rural luxury” motto of Paul Mas. I found this to be more flavorful than the Arrogant Frog – but my wife favored the Frog. The packaging gives you a bit more vino but is sufficiently cool that it never feels like “jug wine.”

We continued with our tour of France with a rosé from Cotés de Provence. Eighty-eight percent of the wine produced in Provence is rosé – so this region is always a good option for you. Our pick was the 2016 Sables d’Azur. It also is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. It is a delightful light peach color and is spritely on the palate.

Our tour of rosé crossed the border into neighboring Spain, with Hacienda de Arinzano Rosé 2016 from Arinzano. We had a chance to sample some knockout reds from Arinzano.
This rosé was most interesting since it is 100% Tempranillo.
From the get-go, this wine was different from the others we had sampled. This rosado (as the Spanish call it) was a deep pink-red in the glass. On the palate the flavors were elevated and more intense than the French rosé.

Arinzano has been designated a Pago, which is the highest classification in the Spanish wine system. Pago is a term reserved for the very best vineyards, and so far there are only 14 of them in all of Spain.

The Arinzano rosé delivered superb freshness, acidity and rich flavors. This would be a good pick for a red wine lover who is unsure about trying rosé. At $20, it’s another great value.

There you have it – a quintet of wines to equip your summer survival kit. One final suggestion. Your rosé should be chilled sufficiently to provide refreshment, but be warm enough to allow the flavors to shine. A good way to do this is to take your bottles out of the refrigerator to sit for about five minutes before serving.

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