Friday, June 5, 2015

Rosés fit for the new Riedel wine glass

The appreciation of rosé wines has risen dramatically during the past decade – to the point that Riedel Crystal of Austria has just announced a wine glass specifically for rosé.

It is in the stemware maker’s Vinum Extreme series, launched in 2000 primarily for New World wines. This glass has a specially designed bowl and diamond shape, creating a wider than normal surface area in the glass to improve evaporation. The company says this intensifies “the wine’s aromas and silkiness as it enters the mouth.”
Rosé has become one of the most frequently enjoyed and trendy wine styles worldwide, especially in the US,” said Maximilian Riedel, president and CEO of Riedel Crystal.
The company designed the wine glass in consultation with rosé producers in Provence. However, the shape would be suitable for virtually any rosé.

Most of us have been drinking rosé wines with standard stemware for white wines. You will continue to enjoy the wines even if you never buy Riedel’s rosé glass.

It is a fact (at least in my opinion) that Riedel stemware always makes the wines taste better. I have attended four or five tasting demonstrations, including at least two led by Maximilian’s father, Georg. There is no doubt that wines are diminished in poor stemware but are vastly better in the proper glass.

The easiest way to grasp this is taste a Pinot Noir from, say, a hotel banquet glass and then taste it from a Riedel Pinot Noir glass. Pinot Noir, along with most other wines, dies in banquet glasses but remains alive and full of flavour in the Riedel glass.

I have no doubt that a good rosé will be better in a Riedel glass.

Here are notes on a selection of recent British Columbia rosés that I have enjoyed, even without the Riedel glass.

Bench 1775 Glow 2014 ($19.90). This is a Malbec rosé, Salmon pink in hue, it has aromas and flavours of strawberry and rhubarb. It is a light, refreshing and dry rosé recalling rosé wines of the south of France. 89.

Black Widow Syrah Rosé 2014 ($23 for 80 cases). This dry rosé  is loaded with flavour. It begins with aromas of strawberry and raspberry and goes on to flavours of cherry and plum, with a lingering finish. 90.

Clos du Soleil Rosé 2014 ($19.90 for 867 cases). This is a rare and delicious example of a Cabernet Sauvignon rosé. The appeal begins with the colour, which glows like ruby. The wine has powerful aromas of strawberry and raspberry. On the palate, there are intense flavours of strawberry, cherry and rhubarb. The endless finish is crisp and dry. 92.

Covert Farm Family Estate Rosé 2013 ($18.29). This wine begins with an appealing cherry hue. It has aromas of cherries with an undertone of pomegranate and sweet tobacco. It may sound like an odd descriptor for a rosé but it sets up a savoury complexity which carries through to the palate with cherry and strawberry flavours. This is 75% Merlot, 21% Pinot Noir and 4% Syrah, co-fermented and aged on the lees. Note the wine also has a year of bottle age. With a dry finish, this is a rosé to pair with grilled salmon. 90.

Hester Creek Cabernet Franc Rosé 2014 ($19.95 for 1,000 cases). The salmon pink colour and the generous fruit flavours get their start with 12 hours of extraction on the skins. The fermentation was long and cool and was stopped when 10 grams of residual sugar remained. That gives the wine its juicy texture. It has aromas and flavours of strawberry, cherry and rhubarb. 90.

Mission Hill Five Vineyards Rosé 2014 ($14.99 ). The wine just gleams in the glass like a pale ruby. Fruity aromas, notably cherries, burst from the glass. On the palate, there are juicy flavours of strawberries, watermelon and pomegranate. The finish lingers. The hint of residual sweetness adds to the generous texture of this delicious summer wine. It is  85% Merlot, 10% Pinot Noir and 5% Syrah. 90.

Quails’ Gate Rose 2014 ($18.14 for 7,975 cases). The astonishing production indicates just how big the demand is for rosé. Quails’ Gate is one of the wineries that has driven this market over the past decade with flavour-packed rosé. This dry rosé is 80% Gamay Noir, 10% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Gris, all kept separate during fermentation and then blended. The wine has an appealing salmon pink hue with aromas of strawberry and cranberry. On the palate, this is a big, satisfying bowl of fruit – strawberry, watermelon and pink grapefruit. 90.

Red Rooster Reserve Rosé 2013 ($19.10 for 480 cases). This is a blend of  35% Malbec, 27% Cabernet Franc, 15% Syrah, 8% Mourvedre, 7% Petit Verdot, 3% Pinot Noir and 3% Grenache. The winery’s tasting notes are a bit more verbose than mine but I totally agree with them. “‘Pretty in Pink’ colour with a summer fresh aroma of strawberry, watermelon, crab apple, red currant, cherry and rose petal.  The medium frame is supported by refreshing acidity.  Flavours of red berry, currant and red cherry fill the mouth.  Refreshing red fruits and red berry tea notes linger on the finish of this extra-dry rosé.” 90 

Roche Rosé 2014 ($19.98 for 185 cases). Roche is the label of artisan producers Dylan and Pénélope Roche who have a small vineyard on the Naramata Bench. This wine is 93% Zweigelt and 7% Schönburger (co-fermented). The wine begins with a brilliant jewel-like hue. It has aromas of strawberries and pink grapefruit, leading to flavours of strawberry, pomegranate and cherry. The wine is refreshing, with good body and with a lingering dry finish. 91.

Sage Bush Rosé 2012 ($NA). The wine begins with a pale, slightly bronze tint. On the nose, there are aromas of strawberry jam that are echoed on the palate. There is an appealing spoonful of sweet fruit on the palate. Bottle age has added a roundness to this wine without taking away from its freshness. 89.

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