Thursday, September 13, 2007

My early front-runners for Top Rose's of 2007

OK, I must admit that I am a sucker for reading best of lists. I have never attempted to draw one up myself though. Here is a list that is not by any means comprehensive, rather an indication of some highlights in my rose degustement over the past several months. I hope that you will find this list fresh and tasty.

10. Domaine Begude Rose 2006 - This one sneaked onto the list, and to be honest there might have been some other roses that are equally worthy of this spot. Anyway, this is a tasty, very light pink colored Pinot Noir rose from Limoux, a cool (for the Languedoc) area known for its sparkling wine and Chardonnay. Gulpable and non-offensive, this shows the crisp, white wine side of rose. (click here for purchasing info.)

9. Kir Yianni Akakies 2006 - Now we're getting into the list...Greece's only AOC rose, Akakies is produced from Xinomavro grapes in Amyndeon (an AOC of Macedonia in Northern Greece). Intense, electric pink color, with upfront flavors of pomegranate and raspberries. Maybe because it is still a youngin', but I usually find this rose to be a bit lighter on its feet and more piquant. Still a winner though, and always one of my favorites. Click here for purchasing info.

8. Edmunds St. John 'Bone Jolly' Rose 2006 - Finally, California rose with guts! Produced from Gamay in El Dorado, this wine is full of red berry fruit flavors and a hint of earthiness. It also has a bit of a sharp finish (not VA, just otherwise funky) but it still is very drinkable. Steve Edmunds makes excellent wines which are worth tracking down and supporting. Click here for purchasing info.

7. Copain 'Le Printemps' Rose 2006 - Two domestic wines in a rose top 10 list? Shocking. But this is another stellar rose, made up in Mendo. 50-50 Pinot Noir and Syrah. Salmon colored, with just a real sense of overall balance and subtlelty. Winemaker Wells Guthrie (no relation to Arlow, I don't think) is the real deal. Click here for purchasing info.

6. Grange Tiphaine Touraine Rose 2005 (tasted '05, current vintage is '06) - Damien Delecheneau makes serious wines in Touraine, in the Loire Valley - home to the best wine values in the world. This rose is a blend of Grolleau, Gamay and Cot, and is produced from grapes specifically grown and harvested to make rose wine. Simultaneously pungent and earthy, crisp and refreshing. Mmm....Click here for purchasing info.

5. JP Brun Beaujolais 'Rose d'Folie' 2006 - In addition to his tightly structured, powerful, 15+ year Morgons, this Beaujolais benchmark producer makes a fun sparkling wine and a gamay rose. This is the everyday drinker and wine geek crossover rose of the year. Click here for purchasing info

4. Joseph Roty Marsannay Rose 2004 - Bruno who? What I love about this rose is that it is made from Pinot Noir specifically grown for rose wine. And Roty releases it late so that it can gain complexity in the bottle and begin tasting like a rose expression of serious Pinot Noir, as opposed to bright and fruity Pinot Noir Light. There are some delicious meaty and earthy notes in this wine, making it ideal for cheese and charcuterie. Click here for purchasing info.

3. Clos Saron Rose 2006 - A real shocker. The 3rd California rose to make this list is the most impressive. It is the first of Gideon Beinstock's wines I have tasted (the second, the Carte Blanche, was equally impressive). The wine was in a blind tasting line-up and I thought it was a really good Nebbiolo based rose. Some bret on the nose, intense, darker cherry and berry flavors, very good acidity, a bit of bittersweet cocoa powder and dusty tannins on the finish. Fascinating stuff from the tiny AVA of North Yuba.

2. Chateau Musar Rose 2004 - Another example of Rose getting better after a few years in bottle. 100% Cinsault from Lebanon. This dark brick colored rose drinks almost like a southern Rhone red. It is all spicy cherry fruit, with hints of cinnamon to be found as well. Click here for purchasing info

1. Lopez de Heredia Rosado Crianza 1995 -One night I'm going to have a tasting of 15+ year old wines for things that are 'supposed' to be drunk young, like Rose, Muscadet, Sancerre, Verdejo...and Lopez will certainly be the piece de resistance. As the bearer of one of the coolest styles of wines around (Gran Reserva Rioja Rosado), Lopez is of course no stranger to wine geeks of many stripes and preferences. Their current release (I think), the '97 Rosado has a beautiful copper color, and an impossible to forget bouquet and flavor that is Rioja through and through. Delicate strawberry and cherry fruit, dried coconut, nutmeg, and many other flavors are really singing in this wine. It seems like it could go another 10 years. Un triunfo! (Oh yeah - it has an amazing 60+ second finish and is a 'tour de force in winemaking....') Click here for purchasing info.