The Sommelier India Panel tastes a selection of Rosé wines
(Right: Empty bottles of rosé after the Tasting)
You heard it first from Sommelier India: rosé is making a comeback and will be the wine to be seen sipping next summer. At least we at the magazine can call it our
mission to get you to drink more rosé. The Tasting Panel, now nicely established with a healthy mix of sommeliers and wine professionals, decided to try out the handful of rosé’s available in India. On the whole, the wines appeared exactly as rosés should – unpretentious, delightfully fresh, and easy to drink.
When looking for good rosé, look for wines that are fruity but not too extracted and most
importantly, in the opinion of the SI Panel, dry. The most noticeable drawback with a few
of the wines was perhaps indicative of the major problem for wine in India: poor storage. A seemingly young wine appeared tired, a tad over-developed and flat. It’s possible the importer has issues with the storage facility and is perhaps having difficulty selling this particular wine. The latter issue is somewhat understandable, but there is absolutely no excuse for poor storage. Wineries take note!
All the wines were tasted blind. As expected, the New World rosés were somewhat fruitier and more ‘up-front’ with their flavours. Those from Italy and France showed a little more complexity and restraint. The ‘red herring’ of the night was Château de la Rivière 2007 from Bandol, a region famous for producing structured dry rosé. Admittedly, this wine threw many of the panel members, which, I hazard, was largely because it followed two fruity, soft New World wines. The Bandol was the complete opposite of the preceding two wines in that it was savoury, light and rathe complex. Indeed, it was so different in its aroma profile that some of us thought it to be faulty! This taught us a valuable lesson regarding tastings: a wine’s position in a line-up can have a bearing on how it’s perceived.
Expectations can play a large role in all tastings and need to be eliminated as far as possible.
What we did eventually conclude was that there is quite a range of rosé wines available in
India, local and imported. So there really is no excuse not to drink more rosé. The Indian samples were reasonably priced and promising. Besides Sula, which we tasted blind, the
other Indian rosés available for tasting by the Panel were Grover’s, Nine Hills and Zampa.
The wines in order of tasting
2007 E. Guigal Tavel
Pale crimson with a faint almost brickred/ copper rim. Hints of ripe red berries on the nose – nothing specific. Some light sweaty/leather aromas also. Moderate acidity and jammy red berry fruit on the palate. The finish is jammy with a slight, oxidised character. The
acidity lingers but the fruit flavours die rather quickly. A short to medium length
finish with remnants of warm, unpleasant alcohol.
2005 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Tavel
Pale crimson with brick-red flecks. Hints of black pepper and some raspberry/cranberry cordial. A very faint mushroom character in the aroma. Fresh, noticeable acidity with raspberry and cranberry flavours on the palate. The finish was medium length and could have carried the wine perfectly had it been slightly longer. A good balance between the acidity and moderate alcohol.
2007 Tenuta Guado al Tasso ‘Scalabrone’ Bolgheri Rosato DOC
Some petillance. Bright, pale crimson with a pale pink rim. A hint of minerals and red berries on the nose with some moderately intense floral aromas. Fresh on the palate with
intense strawberries and some stone fruit (plums and nectarines). Light bodied with moderate to low acidity with medium finish.
2006 Jacob’s Creek Rosé Barossa Valley
Stelvin closure. Some petillance. An almost-Provençal pale crimson colour. An intense aroma of sweet, red berry fruit and some berry cordial. Sweet red fruit on the palate with a
suggestion of residual sugar. (although the wine is dry). The wine appears ‘put together’ like a jigsaw puzzle with grippy tannins, fruit and alcohol all in moderation. Low to medium acidity. Dry finish with noticeable moderate to high alcohol. A short to medium long finish with lots of grip.
2005 Mondavi ‘Woodbridge’ Rosé, California
Stelvin closure. Pale crimson with brick red flecks. Some light earthy chartacters on the nose with hints of blackcurrants and some ‘smoky’ notes. The palate is medium-bodied and quite fruity with a clean, medium length finish. The alcohol is high and tends to linger in the finish.
2008 Sula Vineyards Blush Zinfandel, Nasik Valley
Bright, intense crimson. Some dark/ garnet flecks. A grapey aroma belies leafy/vegetal characters. Some ‘old watermelon’ characters and some stewed red berries. Cherry and
blackcurrant flavours on the palate with some stalky/tannic characters that are not altogether complimentary. Off-dry with short to medium-length finish. Low acidity.
2007 Château de la Rouvière Rosé, Bandol, Provence
The Bunan family came from North Africa in the 1960s. Having owned vineyards in Algeria, they chose Bandol for its warm Mediterranean climate and stunning views, as their new base. This rosé is made from vines with an average age of 50 years…intensely floral bouquet with hints of peach and exotic fruit.
2007 Alois Lageder Lagrein Rosé, Alto Adige
Some petillance. Medium/deep crimson with a pale pink rim. A subdued nose with some light red fruit characters. Quite restrained with a faint hint of strawberries. Delicate cherry flavours and light to mediumbodied on the palate. Moderate acidity and some light grippiness on the palate.
NV Charles Lafite by Listel (France)
Pale salmon in appearance with a medium bead that is quite persistent. A light, pleasant sorbet flavoured bubbly that is easy to drink, with lower alcohol (10%-12%). Some bubblegum and pomegranate aromas. Delicate on the palate with a short finish that leaves the mouth pleasantly prickly.
Not yet available in India.