Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wines I'm Drinking: Four Cinsault Rosés

I tasted four local rosés tonight, all made from the Cinsault grape and procured from the closest supermarket--none for more than €3.52, or about $4. The cheapest wine was less than $2. Having no prejudices, I didn’t taste them blind. I just lined them up in order of their color. The first wine was the deepest in color, the last was the palest.

2009 Brise de France Cinsault Rosé
A nice, medium orange-pink. Honey scents. Something suggestive of pears. Light, but decent body. Not a lot of fruit flavor, but tart and refreshing. Shortish and not terribly complex. Put me in mind of a sour watermelon—although I can’t say I’ve ever tasted such a thing…. Despite that remark, this wine seemed much more interesting with food—as did all four wines. After a full meal the level in this bottle was the lowest of the four, which suggests it was ultimately the most interesting.

La Francette Cinsault Rosé Vin de Pays d'Oc
Apparently a non-vintage wine. A pale orange-pink. Fairly closed on the nose, but there was a hint of cantaloupe, perhaps. Momentarily seemed somewhat fuller than the first wine, but again, not a lot of flavor. Quite tart, but this one seems to linger on the palate. Having said that, the flavors that linger are not in any way distinctive. Fairly bland. This was probably the least interesting of the group.

2009 Roche Mazet Cinsault Rosé Vin de Pays d’Oc
Quite a bit paler than even the second wine, but with the same orange-pink hue. I wonder how long these wines spend on the skins? I’ve noticed that most of the rosés made around here are quite pale. The deepest in color of the four wines (the first wine) is about as deeply colored as our homemade rosé, which spends 18-24 hours on the skins. Sweet scents. Faint caramel scent. Considerably more flavor than in either of the first two wines. More body and better length. A trifle sweeter, and less sharply acidic. Still, not terribly distinctive in any way. Sweetness lingers (but this is still a dry wine). Quite drinkable. With four bottles open on the kitchen table, this wine very quickly had two fruit fly bathers. None of the other wines had fruit flies. Clearly this is the wine of choice of the fruit flies.

2009 Montagnac Cinsault Rosé Vin de Pays d’Oc
Just a hint of color. Very pale orange pink. Watermelon scent—but distant. Again, something faintly suggestive of caramel. Perhaps the most interesting of the four wines? Seems better balanced. Quite dry. Good acidity, but not excessive or sharp. Has a bit of attractive bitterness that lingers on a crisp finish that is still fairly bland, nevertheless. Having said that, I kept going back to this one.

None of these was especially interesting. Frankly, the rosé I make in my own back yard from Sangiovesé grapes is much better. Still, the point is to explore and to learn. I will file these impressions away for future reference when tasting more rosés from the area. None of these was markedly impressive relative to the inexpensive (€6 for five liters) rose sold in this town (Pouzolles) straight from the barrel. I suspect I’ll be tasting many more rosés in the coming weeks….

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