18 May, 2010

Pink wines tickle me pink.

Sunday was an absolutely perfect day for the Solo Vino's Second Annual Rose Tasting. It was sunny and warm and with just a slight breeze to remind us it was spring. Gorgeous.

The event itself was perhaps one of the best wine tastings I had ever been to in the Twin Cities. Solo Vino featured about 130 different wines. I had anticipated they would all be Rose, but there were also some reds, whites and sparklings. All were chosen specifically for the ability to please during summer months.

I managed to taste about 40 of these wines and I will confess, note taking wasn't easy and didn't get easier as the day went on ;). I was juggling the catalog, note taking, my glass and my camera all at the same time. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I guess I focused more on tasting than picture taking. Because note taking was more challenging than I had expected, I limited myself to choosing 3 or 4 focused words to describe each wine. I'll try and post a number of wines a day for a few days.

 First, a few words about how Rose is made. (Forgive me if you already know this.) When grapes are fermented the juice is left in contact with the skins. Rose is made by pulling that juice off the skins earlier in the process. The lighter the wine, the less time the juice was in contact with the skin. Rose can be made from many varieties of grapes including but not limited to grenache, zinfandel, pinot noir, sangiovese, mouvedre, tempranillo and more. They will range in styles from still to sparkling, from sweet to bone dry. If the word Rose conjurs up images of Sutter Home White Zinfandel, well, then we have a lot to talk about. There is a whole world of Rose out there to be discovered. Hopefully, this will give you a new perspective.

I started my journey in Northern France, the Loire Valley to be specific. None of these wines were the sweet variety you would expect. All were very reasonably priced, from $10 to $15 (not on sale, but note, all the wines I will write about are on sale through Memorial Day.)

Domaine de Figueirasses Gris de Gris Rose: this is a very pale pink wine made from Pinot Gris, the same grape as Pinot Grigio. Even though you would expect this to be a white grape, they are indeed a grayish purple color. I found this wine to be bone dry, with citrus, strawberry and cranberry notes.

Vingnerons des Saumur Cabernet de Saumur Rose: Saumur is a region in the Loire that grows both Chenin blanc and Cabernet Franc. They are more know for their sparkling wines but Cabernet Franc rose was very dry and was like a spicy strawbery.

Vingerons des Saumur Vendomois Cocagne Rose: This is most likely also made from Cabernet Franc (notes have failed me here). It was very pale and had much more citrus flavors, lot of grapefruit.

Saumur Blanc Les Pouches: A white from the Loire, this is made from Chenin Blanc. While many expect Chenin Blanc from the Loire to be off-dry (or slightly sweet) this one is not. It was very fruity but dry, sharp on the tongue. Lots of apples and pears and citrus. Tastes more like cousin of chenin blanc rather than chenin blanc. (I really liked it by the way and it's only $10.)

Tomorrow I'll post about some of the sparkling wines I tasted.


  1. Pink wine has such a bad wrap & I find I've been really surprised by the good ones I have. I have friends who just bottled a batch of Rose in Sonoma that they say is fabulous, I can't wait to try it.

  2. I love your taste in wine, especially the Rosé, a nice summer wine, if summer ever arrives.

  3. Based on several selections I am reading on pairing Rose wines are a go to for many accomplished somemmeliers. I think the bad rap comes from cheap pink wines that are mass marketed and aren't really food worthy or made with care. Love it!


  4. I agree, I think rose wines do get a bad rap but I don't care, I love them! Especially in the summer, they are so fresh and crisp. This is a great post, so informative, thanks for reporting back from such a fun event. :)