For the past month or so, I’ve been writing posts on recent tastings I’ve done at several wineries, mainly on the North Fork of Long Island and a few in Virginia. I’ve had some great finds and a few disappointments as well. But in between tastings I’ve been trying lots of wines that work well with summer dishes, and I’ve made a few discoveries that I’ll be going back to over and over again.
A few months ago, I wrote a post on a variety of Rose wines with summer approaching. Since then, I’ve noticed that so many wineries are experimenting with Roses and producing dry Rose wines better than I have ever tasted. (So there really is no excuse for associating Rose with White Zinfandel!) And it seems lots of wine drinkers are finding a new appreciation for dry Roses as well - each wine shop I’ve been to this summer has a much larger inventory of Rose and the shopkeepers have been finding that Rose is a very popular wine this summer. I think that’s a good indication that production of good quality dry Roses is on the rise.
One of my favorite Roses that I’ve had twice this summer is the 2010 Celliers Contemporains Cinsault Rose. Here in New York, it’s about $7 a bottle and at first I was skeptical of a wine so inexpensive, but as soon as I gave it a chance in the glass, my mind was changed.
Cinsault is a red grape that grows in warm, dry regions, namely the Mediterranean and North Africa, and is particularly successful in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. This Rose is a Vin de Pays, or a “country wine,” from Languedoc-Roussillon - and it should be appreciated as one. It is ideal for enjoying outdoors as a picnic wine or for sipping on the porch in the warmer months. It’s a bit understated, with a bright pinkish reflective color, with soft aromas of bright red fruit and blossoms and a slightly herbal characteristic, and the flavors include strawberry, sour cherry, white citrus, a hint of raspberry and melon, blossom, a bit of grass, and stony minerality. The wine is more acidic on the palate than its aromas would indicate, making it a refreshing wine and very food friendly. The finish is long and the palate feels very clean.
I enjoyed this wine very much with fresh Greek feta cheese and a baby mesclun salad with a very simple balsamic vinaigrette, and then again on its own. I think it could pair very easily with lots of cheeses, especially the salty and tangy ones; it can also pair nicely with fish and shellfish and lighter dishes.
I’m still on a quest to find more dry Roses but I’ve found lots of good quality Roses at very modest prices. I’ll be returning to the ones I already enjoy, and I’ll be posting about more recent Rose discoveries as well.