Technically Rose can be classified as a wine. It can be made from a variety of different grapes and is usually made from the more tepid white wine grapes with a little bit of coloring coming from red wine grape skins. When reading the process as to how Rose is made, I become nauseated. The process for making Rose appears broken or like a cruel joke, or some sort of wine making challenge. I would rather try to get great taste out of a tea bag being used for the fourth time. Dr Frankenstein did far better creating a human out of leftover body parts. And that is what Rose reminds me of – a wine make out of leftover wine parts.
I am open to trying a lot of different wine. I love wines made from most of the big four red and white wine grape varietals, and even acknowledge that there are a few good wines to come from the Merlot or Sauvignon Blanc grapes. I experiment with the secondary grapes and greatly enjoy them, and am willing to try almost any wine from the thousand different wine grapes from around the world. I drink blends, organic wines, low alcohol Muscato, and drink Ports and Muscats – all with great enjoyment.
But Rose? The last time I had Rose was over 35 years ago. It was in my early 20s, and it was Lancers. (it could have been Mateus – it really would not matter – both are terrible.) At least the Lancers came in a beautiful bottle! I was just graduating from my father’s home made pseudo-wines (made from dandelions, strawberries, bananas, etc.) and Boones Farm wine (apple and strawberry) which cost $0.93 per bottle. (Equivalent to graduating from pre-school to Kindergarten) But as I was introduced to more ‘real’ wine, I quickly came to ignore the ignoble qualities of Rose. Why drink a wine that has lost its flavor, its pop, and is tepid to begin with. It is like taking a bottle of real wine and mixing it with four bottles of water to provide five bottles of Rose.
Given my wine collection and always having a few bottles at hand to consider drinking, the concept of drinking Rose has never become my first option – until today. We were making up an antipasto plate for an afternoon snack, and my wife wanted to have Muscato or Belle Frizzante (a low alcohol blend of Semillon and Shiraz which is far better than it sounds!). However to my surprise, there was not a bottle of Muscato or Belle Frizzante chilled. And also to my surprise the only bottle coming close was a bottle of Rose, which some guest apparently provided as some sort of cruel joke at some point in the past.
I consider myself to be open to many new and different experiences and even adventurous at points. Since it had been 35 years since gagging on my last Rose and knowing there were so many great wine makers who now make Rose, we decided to give it a chance. We opened the bottle, poured it into two glasses and each took a sip. The next thing I knew was that both glasses and the bottle were being drained in the sink and I was scurrying to get a bottle of the nearest Pinot Noir I could find. I decided on an unknown winery (another damn wine gift from someone who does not know better!) as any Pinot Noir was certain to be appreciated over the Rose I just poured down the drain, and fortunately it was!
I will save you the pain of trying to describe the Rose. The first thought that came to mind was it tasted like vomit-infused watered-down Ribena, but then I have to apologize to Ribena as on its own (one part Ribena concentrate and four parts soda water) is a decent drink! And I will not mention the brand of Rose as I am certain this was typical of all Roses. But just look at the color of the Roses in the picture above. I have seen better looking receptacles of used paint thinner! At least Lancers had enough sense to provide their version of paint thinner in an opaque bottle to hide the awful truth inside!
I have considered several times over the last few years trying a Rose as I have heard a Rose Revolution is underway. I have seen Rose tastings advertised and considered going, and I have felt that certainly a wine maker such as Sancerre would only sell wine that would not ruin their reputation. And maybe there is a good Rose out there somewhere. But I will only ever try Rose in the future if it is recommended and shared by one of my small group of friends that I know have a great wine palate. There are about a dozen of you I would trust if you were to recommend a good Rose.
But other than that, I will never, ever consider trying another Rose. I would rather swallow a fur ball the cat coughed up.
[Update 2 January, 1014: Since writing this post, I have tried a few more Rose wines and am starting to enjoy them more, especially as an afternoon drink. The 2012 Rose by McLeish Estate is one of the better ones I have tried since starting to drink Rose again.]
Steve Shipley, author Wine Sense, out early 2014. Published by InkIT Publishing
© 2013-2014. Steve Shipley
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