Rose Wine

Last week was Bob’s birthday and we did a little something different to celebrate. Rather than trying to buy him something (impossible – he always ends up buying what I think of before I can) or traveling somewhere (end of the school year for me and a bit hard to get away) we had a few friends over and did a blind rose tasting. Four wines, three we were familiar with, one new, blind. Could we determine which wines were which and would be still love our favorite wines without the labels?

We actually picked out five wines for this “tasting.”

  • 2018 Bedrock Ode to Lulu
  • 2018 Domaine Guy Mousset Cote du Rhone
  • 2018 Longboard Watergirl
  • 2018 Domaine Loubejac
  • 2017 Cosado Morales

Bob picked four of these five – the Bedrock, the Guy Mousset, the Longboard and the Loubejac. I knew the first three were going in, but did not know which of the last two he picked. He uncorked them, took off the foil from the neck and wrapped each in a paper bag. When the time came to pour, I picked from the fridge, numbered the bag and poured without him looking; this way we both were tasting blind.

img_20190512_092914-1I am embarrassed to say, I did not correctly identify a single rose – a much worse result that the Sauvignon Blanc tasting we did a few months ago. Bob got one correct. the surprise winner was the 2018 Domaine Loubejae from the Willamette Valley. This Total Wine pick up was less than $15 and the unanimous favorite among all of us drinking. Lulu came in second for three of us and the last two split for third and fourth. I was very surprised I could not identify the Lulu or Guy Mousset since they are my “go-to” rose wines, but that is okay. There were no bad wines in this line up, nothing that we didn’t like. Let me repeat that – we liked every wine we tasted, even the ones that came in “last.”

It was a fun evening and I think we may have to try this with Pinot Noir or Zinfandel in the fall.

Desire Lines Cole Ranch Riesling

  • Producer: Desire Line Wine Company
  • Location: Mendocino County, CA
  • Year: 2017
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $22
  • Tasting notes: Medium yellow in color with an aroma of apples, white grape and honeysuckle on the nose. Some of the traditional petrol aroma present, but not prominent. Apple is the dominant flavor in this wine this year, followed by white peach, apricot, and (oddly) a bit of cherry. Nice acidity but not overly harsh. Good finish with some white pepper and tart apple.
  • Conclusions: While not as good as the 2016, this is still a winner in my book. Very apple-y in taste (but I like that) and just a really pleasant wine to drink.
  • Notes: Last year was the first release for this winery and I felt pretty lucky to get some of the first release after I tasted the first bottle. Bob and I liked it so much, we held one bottle of the 2016 to see what it would do in a few years. I’m kind of excited to hold a bottle of the 2017 and do a vertical tasting in a few years. This is assuming that A. I have the space to just store wine that I’m not going to drink and B. I can keep myself from opening the bottle before 2020. Neither is a given.

 

Rose Sket

  • Producer: Schloss Biebrich
  • Location: Germany
  • Year: No Vintage
  • Type: Rose Sparkling
  • Price estimate: $8 (Trader Joes)
  • Tasting notes: Pale salmon in color with effervescence and fine bubbles. Not a lot of aroma on the nose, some subtle strawberry is present. Really fine bubbles on the palate. Notes of strawberry, white grape and peach. (Bob got watermelon jolly rancher with some minerality.) Little sweetness, but I wouldn’t call it a sweet wine.
  • Conclusions: While this isn’t my favorite sparkling wine, it is pretty good and at the price point, perfect for a weeknight or lazy weekend.
  • Notes: This is one of the few wines where Bob and I tasted completely different things. He swore this was sweet, I got fruit, but not sweet. He found watermelon and mineral notes, I had strawberry and peach. We both liked it, but it was a little odd that we had such different flavor profiles to associate with it. I’m going to stay I’m right, but who knows. 11% alcohol by volume.

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Old Vine Zinfandel

  • Producer: Bedrock Wine Company
  • Location: California
  • Year: 2017
  • Type: Red Zinfandel
  • Price estimate: $20 (from winery)
  • Tasting notes: Opaque wine in the glass, but with some translucency at the edges. Inky and dark ruby in color – reminds me of a ripe plum. Aromas of black fruits, black pepper and some oak. Taste is tangy and spicy with lots of dark red and black fruits. There is a hint of coco on the finish. 
  • Conclusions: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is one of my favorite wines. Period. The 2017 does not disappoint – it has a depth of flavor that my palate cannot appreciate, but it is easy to drink – not so easy that I’ll finish the bottle in a night, but easy as in two glasses over an evening is enjoyable. 
  • Notes: I am slightly biased towards this wine. The Whole Shebang (produced by Bedrock) was one of the first wines I took notes on when I started this little one journey and the first bottle of Old Vine Zinfandel from them blew me away. In my personal notes I had “wow” and “I need more of this.” That was the 2016 vintage, and the 2017 – with a little added pepper notes, but less smokey notes – is the same. This may be my favorite wine – it is the wine I would pick over many way more expensive wines because it is everything I like in wine. Lots of flavors, lots of character and just really nice to drink. Add to it that this wine is how Bedrock rehabs old vineyards and it makes my heart, as well as my taste buds, sing. Yes, there are probably “better” wines out there – Bedrock makes some that are technically better – but for me, this is just about the perfect wine. 14.4% alcohol by volume.

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La Grive Bleue

  • Producer: Evesham Wood
  • Location:Eola-Amity Hills Oregon
  • Year: 2016
  • Type: Red, Pinot Noir
  • Price estimate: $30
  • Tasting notes: Dark red in color, almost like black cherries. Blackberry and bramble on the nose. Wild berry tart tasting with some bramble and cranberry. Bob said cassis, but given that I don’t know what that tastes like I’m going to have to take his word on it. Tart finish, but easy to drink.
  • Conclusions: I really liked this wine. It wasn’t my favorite and I won’t seek it out like I’ve done some we’ve picked up, but it was good and very easy to drink. Good body and a nice finish really help this wine, especially since there is an almost sour note at the very beginning, although that went away after a few hours after opening. 13% alcohol by volume.

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Rivata Prosecco

  • Producer: Rivata
  • Location: Veneto,Italy
  • Year: No Vintage
  • Type: Bubbly – white
  • Price estimate: $11 (Total Wine)
  • Tasting notes:  Very pale straw in color with fine bubbles. Notes of apple on the nose.  Taste is apple, pear and white peach. Some white grape and almond with a nice effervescence. Clean, crisp and dry.
  • Conclusions: I love Prosecco and this one is no exception. Easy to drink with a moderate alcohol content, it’s pretty perfect with our cheese box this month and a little dessert. Would probably work well just for a drink too because you should always drink bubbly just because.
  • Notes: After New Year’s I wanted some bubbly just to have on hand. Every now and then I want sparkling wine just because I like it and it is fun to drink. So, we stopped by Total Wine and picked up a bottle to have on hand, and it worked out rather well. I may need to get some more since at $11 it is about the cheapest wine I drink.

 

Wine Highlights

There are times when we open a bottle of wine and I either forget to take notes, forget to take pictures or both. Some of these wines are really good and I make a mental note, and others are just okay or not to my taste (one or two have been downright bad) so I don’t think to go back the next day (generally when we have the wine again) and get the right information to post about the wine.

IMG_20181123_175241For example, just after Thanksgiving we had some friends over and we did a mini blind tasting of Sauvignon Blancs. To be fair, it was three Sauvignon Blancs and one Garnatxa Blanca. I uncorked and bagged the bottles and Bob poured so none of us knew what we were tasting. We decided to keep it simple – what did we taste, what did we like and could we identify the non Sauvignon Blanc. The results … none of us correctly identified the Garnatxa. None of us liked one of the Sauvignon Blancs (a Chilean wine that really just tasted like pine resin to Bob and was just plain bitter for me), Bob was gaga over the Bedrock and John and I loved the Longboard. It was nice to know that at the end of the day, two wines we really love are the ones we went to when we didn’t know what they were.

This was the year of rose for us. We found several that we loved (Ode to Lulu Rose, I’m looking at you) and maybe one or two that we made a note to skip next time we saw it. On the whole, it was a really great year for rose wine for us and something that we are drinking through the winter and into spring this year.

I’m still a fan of red wine. Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, Pinotage, and almost any Italian red and I’m in. This year we saw more restrained wines – Zinfandels that normally have 14%+ alcohol were in the 13% range, which doesn’t seem like a big difference, but it can be. I actually started looking for wines with lower alcohol content so I could really enjoy the wine, especially that second glass, without feeling like I’ve had a ton to drink. I’m hoping the trend of good, moderate alcohol, red wine continues.

Bob and I are finally getting to Sonoma this year – something we are really looking forward to. I have a spreadsheet (of course I do) of wineries we want to try to get to and a few non-wine sites to check out. I’m always open to ideas, so if anyone has any great places to go let me know. Until the next post – happy wine exploring.

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