Friday, July 2, 2010

Wines I'm Drinking: Two Languedoc Rosés

After tasting four ultra-cheap local Cinsault rosés earlier in the week, I decided to move upmarket a bit. Last night I tried a rosé from St. Chinian and another from a maker in the nearby town of Pezenas. Both were excellent but still inexpensive at under €8 (less than $10). Tasting notes follow. The review of the four Cinsault wines is here.

2009 Domaine Monplezy Plaisirs Languedoc Rosé
Made from a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah down the road from where I'm staying--just outside of Pezenas on the road to Roujan. The label is decorated with a hoopoe.

The wine was very pale in color--delicate and barely pink, a flesh pink, but I could tell this wine had more character than the four very pale rosés I tasted earlier this week just by smelling it. It had the very fresh scent of new wine not long after fermentation has finished. There were distant strawberry scents, and something sappy and fresh as well, suggestive of raw zucchini. I was also put in mind of fine soap--although there was nothing soapy about the taste of the wine. It had considerably more presence on the palate than the pale color suggested it would. Delicate, but with a distinctive sappiness again suggestive of fresh vegetables--but in a good way. Fruitier and somewhat sweeter on the finish. Nicely balanced, with none of the sharp acidity of the less expensive wines mentioned above. Significantly more alcohol than any of those wines as well, which gave it a little fire on the finish as well. Very tasty.

2007 Schisteil Saint-Chinian Rosé
The label on this one is a bit confusing--due more to my relative ignorance of the wines of this area than to any fault of the label probably. The appellation is clearly Saint-Chinian, but the wine is also labeled Coteaux de Berlou (which makes some sense, as Berlou is one of the villages of the Saint Chinian appellation). However, I can't find the name of a producer on the bottle. "Schisteil" is a brand name the producer uses, referring to the local schist soils and the sun (soleil in French). The wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.

Whoever the maker is, I loved the wine. This is the most distinctive rosé I've had in a very long time. It was deeply colored, in sharp contrast with the majority of the rosé wines I've seen in the local stores. I'd say this spends at least a day on the skins, whereas the paler wines look like they are pressed immediately. It was a beautiful deep pink tending toward orange. It reminded me of some of the darkest varieties of salmon. It had wonderful roasted, toasted scents but also jammy fruit scents--fig jam just cooked down and still hot. Hints of butterscotch or caramel. Crème brûéee may be closer. On the palate, there was again something about it that put me in mind of caramel and toast, and it was comparatively alcoholic, suggesting Calvados, but the wine was not at all sweet or as strong as brandy (naturally). It had a sappy freshness and decent acid. It could perhaps have used a trifle more acid, but, all in all, this was a very interesting, unusual, delicious wine. I drank too much of it, but it was very hard to put down.

1 comment:

  1. I ws just researching this delicious rosé wine myself. Bought a few bottles myself this summer (I'm a sucker for those wines with the 'golden medal' stickers on the bottle)and I really loved it. I guess this was the best 5 Euro wine I ever had. I don't really know what the 'schisteil' means in terms of wine, but it stands for schist (the rocks) and soleil (French for sun). more info on the website of the local wineshop:
    Nice shop with free tasting and friendly people, but the same wines are cheaper in the local supermarket, unless you buy by the dozen. :-)


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