Having just co-hosted a large rose event with TasteDC, I was recently fortunate enough to revisit a good number of this year's crop of pink wines. Here are some of the highlights (and lowlights).
Beavignac Syrah Vin de Pays D'Oc Rose 2007 (About $9)
Though France is best known for its high-end wines, Vin de Pays (cheaper wines, literally "Country Wines") represent many of the best values in the world. This 100% Syrah from the Languedoc region in southern France shows a light pink, slightly orange color in the glass. On the nose, it has a nice blend of red fruit and spice. On the palate is where this wine differs from most, being relatively low in acid — this makes the finish rather short, but leaves the texture rather round and mellow (like Chardonnay). A great ice-cold quaffer, and at such a modest price, you can enjoy it all summer.
Chateau Grande Cassagne Rose 2007 (About $10)
A perennial favorite from local importer Robert Kacher, this particular incarnation is not very good, even for $10. The nose is redolent of fresh rubber and alcohol, and on the palate the wine is washed out, chemically accented, and lame. Usually I am not one to say this, but the Grande Cassagne '07 is an objectively bad wine. Stick with Bobby's Petite Cassagne, which I reviewed in my first rose post.
Melipal Malbec Rose 2007 (About $13)
This rich Malbec rose from Argentina shows a rich, dark burgundy-pink in the glass, and gives off scents of cinnamon, savory herbs and red raspberries. More raspberries on the palate, along with a slightly bitter quality, give way to a surprisingly dry, full, almost tannic finish. This wine's weight, fruit, and dry finish make is a wonderful pair with your spicier Indian food, such as Tandoori Lamb.
Bodega Pirineos Mesache Rosado 2007 (About $15)
This Cabernet/Merlot blend from northeast Spain is unusual, in that about 10% of the wine is fermented in American oak. Though the nose shows a typical amalgam of strawberries and flowers, even that small bit of oak gives this wine a buttery quality on the palate, an unusual trait for a rose. Despite the atypical texture, the finish is clean and sharp due to the wine's poignant acidity. Given its unique profile, this wine would make a great pair with foods most often served with Chardonnay, including scallops, pork, heavier fish, and even cream sauce.
Incidentally, to reiterate a point I made in my last rose diatribe, keep an eye out for the bad stuff — lots of restaurants around town are still trying to hawk turned wine to turn a profit. Just recently, I noticed that two restaurants I really enjoy have been selling such dead juice. Vapiano in Arlington is selling a pretty bad 2005 Cusumano Rose for some $7 per glass, and Kaz Sushi Bistro has the gall to offer a $28 rose from 2002 on its wine list (I did not order this, but asked the waitress, and was assured that the vintage was correct)! Now, these are two of my favorite eateries (for very, very different reasons), which goes to show that even respectable establishments may take the low road as regards the pink stuff. Buyer beware!