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2018 ROSÉ – Part 2

John Tilson • 6/21/19        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

 

 

Earlier this year I wrote about the high expectations I had for the 2018 Rosé vintage based on tasting only a few wines (to read that article click here). And, now a few months later I have tasted nearly 100 2018 Rosés and I can say that without question there are many great wines. However, having said that, there are also some really poor 2018 rosés on the market. What I think may be happening is that opportunistic people are marketing very mediocre rosé. Some are even putting catchy names on them at popular price points. So if you see California rosés with something like “Heavenly Rosé” or rosés with no producer on the front label my advice is very simple: Caveat Emptor! I tried a few just out of curiosity and it turned that it was not worth the time or money. Also I tried 2018 rosés from Argentina, South Africa, and New Zealand, none of which I can recommend.  So besides my recommendations and rosés that are known to you or wines from great rosé producing areas like Provence in France, be very cautious. And, remember, Provence is the area that produces the largest number of rosés. This makes it is hard to find a bad rosé that is from Provence. And, some Provence rosés are even available at low double digit or single digit price points! So given these facts, why waste time and money on unknown rosés from unknown areas or producers?

This article has notes on a few of the 2018 rosés that I have tasted recently. They include rosés from California and France. The wines are listed by region in order of preference. Over the next few months I also hope to publish more articles on 2018 rosés again by region (including other regions like Italy and Spain) listed in order of preference. And, as I said, I have already had many very great 2018 rosés including some of the best ever from some producers. I have always generally preferred rosés with the lightest color as I often find they have more finesse and complexity. Of course there are exceptions such as the great Tavels which are always some shade of red and are always delicious. But in addition to very pale roses, this year I am also finding more rosés that are pale to light yellow with a total absence of red, pink, orange, amber, or gold. This has led me to ask the question “What makes a rosé a rosé?  And, I have asked winemakers, importers, and retailers, but no one can answer that question. So that leaves me in a quandary. Is a pale to light yellow wine is labeled as “rosé” really a rosé? I am inclined to think not as I have always thought of rosés as different hues and shades or mainly red and pink with sometimes orange or even gold or amber hues. Another thing that is a bit different this year is the number of 2017 rosés still in the market versus the 2018 rosés. In our area I can’t ever remember so many rosés from the year before on the market. And the 2017s still on the market are mostly at the original prices versus the historic discount when the new vintage arrives.  Maybe the market here has something to do with the weather. It has been particularly cool and wet here this year. Just now it is warming up with more sun expected throughout the summer into the fall. So it will be interesting to see how long it is before 2017s start being discounted and also how long the 2018s will be arriving and how long they will be in the market next year.

For most parts of the country and most wine drinkers drinking rosé is reserved for warm weather. But, for me, drinking rosé depends on what I am eating. And, weather does not matter because it can always be rosé time for me (to read articles on that subject click here). So now is the time to either start or continue to enjoy the great rosés from 2018. Bonne degustation!

California

California can make some really good rosés. Wineries like Bonny Doon and Tablas Creek consistently make great California roses and there are some others as well such as Bedrock Wine Company, Clendenen Family Vineyards, Marietta, and Onesta. But there are also many that are not that good that also carry prices equal to some of the best rosés. And there are also some that are mediocre with catchy names. So always remember that selection is especially important when considering California rosés.

Extraordinary

 2018 Tablas Creek Vineyard Dianthus Adelaida District Paso Robles
This rosé is named for a type of flower with a pink color that is known as “pinks.” The 2018 Dianthus is made from 51% Mourvèdre, 39% Grenache, and 10% Counoise taken from the oldest section of estate vines propagated from cuttings from Château de Beaucastel. The 2018 production was 1500 cases, the same as in 2017. Always packed with fruit, this 2018 Dianthus is a great follow up to the stunning 2017.
Very light reddish pink in color with a golden hue this rosé has a great perfume with hints of watermelon and cherry showing floral nuances. Loaded with fruit the wine is beautifully balanced with watermelon and cherry flavors accented by a floral citrus undertone and a nice underlying crispness. This is a really delicious rosé.               $30

Outstanding

2018 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Rosé Paso Robles
This is a consistently delicious rosé in the style of the great rosés from Provence. The 2018 production was down about 25% from 2017 with 2690 cases produced. It is made with 76% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, and 4% Counoise. The grapes for this wine came from nine top Rhone vineyards in Paso Robles located in four Paso Robles appellations.
Pale salmon pink in color with a golden hue, the wine has a gorgeous floral perfume with a faint exotic tinge and hints of peach and strawberry. Showing lovely floral tinged fraise de bois fruit with hints of peach, the wine is delicate and finesseful yet flavorful and very appealing with a nice underlying crispness.      $25

France

France is the leading rosé producer in the world. So, it should come as no surprise that many of the really great rosés come from France. And, as a general rule, most are priced in a range of $15-$40 per bottle with a few above this range and a few really good ones even at prices below this range. This makes French Rosés great bargains.

Extraordinary

 2018 Domaine Lafond Tavel Roc-Epine

Tavel is an area in the Rhone Valley that is the only area in the world that makes only rosés. And the wines from Tavel are consistently some the best and full flavored of all rosés. There are many great Tavel producers and Domaine Lafond is consistently one of my favorites. The domaine is family owned and has been passed down over many generations. The wine is made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and several other Rhone varietals.

This 2018 is simply stunning and one of the best Tavels I have ever tasted. It has a light red color and has a great perfume showing a wide array of red fruits including watermelon, cherry, and raspberry with a faint floral undertone. On the palate it is intensely fruity and flavorful with the same kaleidoscopic red fruit flavors.  Rich and full, this is a wine that marries beautifully with grilled foods and meats and other hearty dishes. And, yes, it is also great with roasted foods including Thanksgiving dinner!  I have purchased my supply and will have some left for this coming Thanksgiving. I would also advise that you do the same!        $17.95      Imported by Wines of France, Inc.   Mountainside, NJ

2018 Domaine Le Pive Gris Sable De Camargue
Domaine Le Pive is an organically farmed vineyard and winery located in the wilderness of the Camargue national park with a historic Romanesque chapel at its center.
This rosé is made with 30% Grenache Gris, 30% Grenache Noir, 30% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. It is absolutely stunning with a pale pink color showing a golden hue and golden edge. With a deep floral perfume showing a faint exotic tinge and hints of cherry and strawberry, the wine also shows lovely fruit on the palate. Subtle nuances of strawberry and cherry are accented by a faint floral undertone with a tinge of citrus and the wine has finesse and elegance yet is flavorful with beautiful balance and loads of charm.         $18          Imported By Hand Picked Selections Warrenton, VA

Outstanding Plus

2018 Domaine De Cala Coteaux Varois en Provence
Very pale pink in color with a faint golden orange tinge this rosé has a gorgeous floral perfume and lovely peach tinged fruit flavors accented by a floral citrus tinge on the palate. It is beautifully balanced and very harmonious with finesse and flavor. All in all, it is a really gorgeous rosé at an attractive price.         $14.99         Imported by Wine Warehouse Commerce, CA

Outstanding

2018 Kirkland Signature Côtes De Provence Rosé
Very light salmon pink in color this rosé has a lovely floral perfume with hints of strawberry. Elegant with lovely floral tinged strawberry and peach fruit flavors, it is beautifully balanced with a nice underlying crispness.  And, need I say that the price is a real bargain!            $8.89

Highly Recommended Plus

2018 La Coqueluche Rosé Pays d’Oc
And speaking of bargains, how about this for a great rosé bargain? La Coqueluche means “the favorite” in French. And at this price and quality how could it not be a favorite?  The wine has a pale pink color with a golden hue and golden edge. It has a lovely fragrant floral perfume and lovely fruit on the palate. Very elegant and beautifully balanced, this is a charming and easy to drink rosé that is also easy on the pocketbook!  In fact, this might just be the greatest  rosé bargain on the planet!!        $5.99       Imported by Plume Ridge Imports    Claremont, CA

 

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  • Paul Nielsen says:
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    Thanks for the great piece, John. Your readers might also enjoy the beautiful rose produced by Beckmen, right in your own backyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. They are a bit pricey, but since they farm biodynamically (a plus in my book), I would imagine the process is a bit more labor-intensive. Cheers!

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