Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wines I'm Drinking: Six Inexpensive Rosés (Continued)

I tasted six inexpensive rosés from Grocery Outlet blind yesterday--more of the wines from Grocery Outlet I've been tasting ahead of one of that company's twice-annual wine sales (20% off all wines March 30 through April 3). The six rosé wines I tasted were:
  • 2006 Blue Cove Rosé (South Africa, Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2007 Julia Chivite, Gran Feudo Rosé (Navarra, Spain, Grenache)
  • 2008 Clos du Bois, Sonoma County Dry Rosé
  • NV Enjoie Dry Rosé Wine (Napa, California, Grenache/Barbera)
  • 2006 Giacomo Montresor Brolo Alto Bardolino Chiaretto
  • 2008 Frias Family Vineyard Napa Valley Rosé 
Today I'm posting notes for the last three. See my previous post (yesterday) for notes on the first three. I enjoyed these wines with grilled herb-stuffed trout and herbed mashed potatoes, both made with chives, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme fresh from the garden (left).

NV Enjoie Dry Rosé Wine (Napa, California, Grenache/Barbera)
This had such a strange and unpleasant smell that I immediately suspected something was wrong with it--that it had been damaged in transit or storage. Just to be sure, I took it back to the store and got a new bottle. I make wine. I know how much effort and love goes into every bottle. I would hate to dismiss a wine because of a single bad bottle--and bad bottles occasionally happen to just about everybody. The first bottle I tasted smelled of burned sugar and reminded me of those horrible candy corn things that people STILL give out at Halloween (yes, I know some people like candy corn; I don't). The scent was very unpleasant. It tasted much like it smelled--with a strange burned, oxidized flavor. Short, nasty, and sour. Rarely is a wine so unpleasant that it's undrinkable. The second bottle was much better, but not entirely different. The wine still had a slightly oxidized nose and there was still something burned about the nose, although the odd scents were less pronounced than in the first bottle. There were suggestions of vanilla and perhaps root beer--which is not terribly common in wine.... On the palate, the wine was a trifle better than it had been, but still thin, sour, lacking in fruit, and unpleasant. I hate to say it, but this is not worth even the $3.99 asked. I don't know what went wrong here, but something went wrong.

But, no matter. I've just saved you the trouble of buying it, and, more importantly, the last two wines in the group of six I tasted were very tasty. Read on.

2006 Giacomo Montresor Brolo Alto Bardolino Chiaretto
A very pale orange-pink. Perfumed nose. Tropical scents. Coconuts perhaps? Also some interesting barnyard scents (this is a good thing; think Burgundy). Later there were suggestions of vanilla and wood. Very interesting nose. Clean and very dry on the palate. The driest of the six wines. It had a certain astringency that I rather liked, although this wine may appeal less to drinkers used to a sweeter, more fruity style of rosé. The wine seems to fade away but then comes back with a slightly sweet, woody finish. Delicate and subtle. I liked this better the more I tasted it. Excellent with the fish. Probably my favorite of the six wines (but see below). Bardolino is the geographic designation here, by the way, indicating wine from the area around the town of that name on the southeast edge of Lake Garda in northern Italy (Veneto). "Chiaretto" is an Italian term for any pale red wine--or a rosé. Bardolino rosés are made from the Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes, the same grapes that go into Valpolicella, which is probably a somewhat more familiar name. Excellent. Recommended if you like very dry rosés. I will go back for more of this. $5.99 at Grocery Outlet.    

2008 Frias Family Vineyard Napa Valley Rosé
Pale, rosy pink. Thinnest of all the wines but the most orange in hue. Had a nice, soft orange-marshmallow scent followed by strawberries and then something leathery--sandalwood, perhaps. Has presence on the palate. Offers fruity sweetness and has good balancing acidity, although I wouldn't have minded a bit more. This wine seems a little sweet coming right after the very dry Bardolino. Still, it was crisp and flavorful. Very tasty. Nice lingering woody, spicy flavors on top of the fruit. I enjoyed this one very much. Recommended. $4.99 at Grocery Outlet.

After tasting all six wines, I initially felt the Bardolino, the Frias Family Vineyard wine and the South African Blue Cove wine (see yesterday's notes) were the best. As I sat down to eat dinner (the herbed trout), I continued to taste the wines, thinking about how well they went with food. That changed my perspective a little. The Bardolino and the Frias Family wines remained excellent. The Blue Cove wine began to seem somewhat less interesting because of its relative sweetness (although the Frias Family wine has quite noticeable residual sugar as well). At the same time, both the Julia Chivite and Clos du Bois wines seemed to improve, particularly the latter. At the end of the evening, however, it was the Frias Family Vineyard rosé that had mostly disappeared and the Bardolino was almost gone as well, and that is perhaps the best indicator of quality and appeal; these were the two wines I kept coming back to. If I had to choose just one, I'd personally go for the Bardolino.
More wines from Grocery Outlet tomorrow--I'll be tasting more inexpensive Chardonnays. 

GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY: I'm giving away a $50 Grocery Outlet gift card this week as part of the promotion. To be eligible to win, all you have to do is comment on one of my Grocery Outlet reviews this week (March 22-26), Tweet about one of the reviews or post a message about one of the reviews on Facebook. The winner will be selected at random from all eligible readers. The winner must agree to blog or tweet about what the card ends up buying at Grocery Outlet. That's all there is to it. Good Luck!

(For more information about the promotion, see my initial post on the subject. See more wine reviews by clicking the "Wines I'm Drinking" label in the bar at right. While you're at it, feel free to explore the rest of my blog. I write frequently and about many topics.)


  1. Your reviews are very helpful - I'm going to look for the Bardolino at my grocery outlet this weekend

  2. I'm definitely putting the 2008 Frias Family Vineyard Napa Valley Rosé on the shopping list for next week's sale at Grocery Outlet. Thanks Colin!


  3. Thanks - this is very helpful! I'm hoping my nearby Grocery Outlet has at least one or two of the roses you liked best. Thanks for being the guinea pig - I'm definitely noting that first one - sounds like a stinker.

  4. Adding the Bardolino Chiaretto to my shopping list for next week. I am going to a tasting tomorrow at the GO to preview wines for thier wine sale and I hope to find the ones you have recommended and gave good reviews.
    Thanks so much for the extra homework you are doing for all of us.

  5. I know nothing about choosing a wine but you helped alot! Thanks!

  6. No fair, Alena won one alrewady on Mary Cook's site.


  7. She did? Pure coincidence. Well, she didn't claim it, anyway, so I'm going to pick a new winner tomorrow. Stay tuned.


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