Rosé Season is on my last good nerve. Rosé doesn’t have a season. Or it shouldn’t have a season. Pumpkin spice has a season. Asparagus has a season. Egg nog has a season. Peeps have a season. I have never understood why people relegate rosé to a season. I always have a bottle (or four) of rosé in my wine fridge — I drink it year round.
But, some people insist on a season for rosé. To wit, here’s a hodgepodge of posts I’ve seen on social media this week:
- Rosé season is ending soon, and I’m getting anxious.
- Enjoy rosé season while you still can.
- Not quite ready to let go of rosé season just yet.
- Rosé season eclipses everything else. Drink up the last few days!
- Soon rosé season will be over. Sad!
OK, the last one was funny. But, who decided you can only drink rosé in the summer?
I popped into my local wine store a couple of days ago, and ran into this display: Last Days of Rosé! Get them while you can! Why? Do they turn into pumpkin spice after midnight on the last day of summer?
I recently had the opportunity to taste three different rosés — one from Provence, and two from Italy (the Veneto and Sicily). I was tempted to save them for Halloween (because rosé makes an awesome partner for the Whatchamacallit candy bars I will inevitably liberate from my candy bowl), but I have no rosé discipline.
Incidentally, I read an article the other day that said Washington DC drinks more rosé per capita than anywhere else in the country. I blame our millennial interns. I’d drink more than anywhere else, too, if I was trying to survive the politics around here.
I can’t think without a map, so . . .
As you can see, these rosés are from three very different parts of the wine world, but all from the Old World of Wine. I have a strong preference for Old World rosés (particularly those from Provence and Spain) — for my palate, they tend to be drier and more subtle than those from New World. I was quite curious to see how (and if) these guys differed.
Jean-Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rosé ⭐⭐⭐/88
Jean-Luc Colombo is headquartered in the northern Rhône (where he makes some ass-kicking Cornas Syrah, btw). Cape Bleue, however, is produced from vines near Marseille, further to the south in Provence. Crafted in the classic Provençal style (dry, lower in alcohol, and less of a fruit bomb), Cape Bleue is made using the saignée method (French for bleeding, this method bleeds off some of the free-run juice from a fermenting red wine). A blend of 67% Syrah and 33% Mourvèdre. A lovely mix of watermelon, cherry, olive, lavender, and tarragon. Beautifully integrated with vibrant acidity. 12.5% ABV. Retail = $13.
Sidebar: French post-Impressionist painter, Paul Cézanne, was born in Aix-en-Provence and painted many of his works there. He was also a big fan of the wines of Provence. In 1861, Cezanne was living and writing in Paris, and wrote a letter to a friend: “I miss the good wines of Provence, you know the stuff here [in Paris] is dreadful.”1
2016 Bertani Bertarose ⭐⭐⭐/88
From Veneto, in the northeastern hills of Italy. Dating back to 1857, Bertani is a well-known producer of Amarone (an intense dry, red wine made from dried grapes). Bertarose is a blend of 75% Molinara and 25% Merlot. Molinara is a red grape, traditionally used in the production of Amarone (along with Corvina and Rondinella). It’s rather bland as a stand alone variety, but really shines in this Rosé, as it brings its hallmark acidity into this blend. Flavors of strawberry, watermelon, and tulips. The Merlot lends an irresistible softness to this wine. Irresistible and refreshing. 12% ABV. Retail = $15.
Planeta Rosé ⭐⭐⭐/88
Planeta is one of the largest wineries in Sicily. It’s comprised of six different estates, one of which, Sambuca di Sicilia, has been owned by the Planeta family since the 1600s (think Thirty Years War, Shakespeare and Pilgrims). A blend of 50% Nero d’Avola (Sicily’s signature native grape, and the most planted grape variety in Sicily) and 50% Syrah. I love the Nero in this wine — it provides such depth and power. You can feel the tannins — this wine has muscle! Flavors of dried roses, strawberries and oregano. 12.5% ABV. Retail = $15.
I love the use of different indigenous, local grapes in these three rosés. Each one has its own unique character, expressive of place. And . . . they’re cheap! One of the best things about Rosé (and there are many) is that you don’t need to pay more than $20 for a really good one.
I don’t want to belabor my point (well, I kind of do). Rosé doesn’t have a season, so it’s not ending. Rosé tastes just as good in January as it does in July. Sometimes better. If you’re out and about and run across these rosés (or any other rosé that strikes your fancy), bring them home with you. And drink them with your pumpkin spice peeps.
1Danchev, Alex. The letters of Paul Cezanne. Farnborough, Thames & Hudson Ltd., 2013.