The last time we tasted rosé was in September 2009, so the time was ripe for a revisit. This time, however, we compared only those from France for a more even playing field.
The results were very close for the top two bottles, and to the credit of our taster's palates, we correctly (and blindly) determined that two of the wines were the same bottling. Given that two of the six were the same, our scoring system perhaps didn't give enough credit to the tie. The only slightly shocking difference was the retail price between the tied bottles. Indeed, except for the bottle that received no points, all the wines were very enjoyable, and would be well received at any summer party, picnic, or dinner for two.
First Place: Domaine Houchart Rosé 2010 (Côtes de Provence). A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mourvèdre, this looked unfiltered, and exhibited aromas of acetone, margarine, candy corn, and cake batter. David felt that there was "something sweaty about it", while Andy noted "something cultured . . . but not the french". Plenty of freshness. Tasters sensed ripe fruit (mostly strawberries) and butter, with Andy noting, "crescendos like a wave comin' on in". Clove on the finish, this was juicy without being heavy, with lots of acidity, but not unbalanced. Josephine, Andy, Hartwell, and Ali voted for this as their favorite of the night. Received 32 total points. Ali's bottle. A bargain, at about $9.
Second Place: Château de Flaugergues Rosé La Mejanelle 2010 (Coteaux du Languedoc). Unfiltered, with a clear pink hue. Tasters found sour milk, off dairy, cherry, raspberries, feces, and overturned earth on the nose. Soft in texture, almost velvety, and showing overt berry and raspberry flavors, along with "diluted Kool-Aid". Hart felt that it was "watery, in a good way". Strong attack, and exhibiting plenty of fruit for its weight, with caramel notes. A pleasant bitterness on finish. Subtle, not overwhelming, with an elegant quality. David and Kristin's favorite of the night. Received 27 points. David's bottle. About $11.
Third Place: Domaine Tempier Rosé 2010 (Bandol). Peach colored and unfiltered, this offered pretty aromas of strawberries, green grass, fleshy fruit, orange pith, rambutan, warm nutmeg, cardamom, honeysuckle, and passion flower. Inviting. Flowery in the mouth. Josephine felt that it "tastes like the smell of gardenia". Watermelon rind and clover flavors. Received 13 points. Hartwell's bottle. About $43.
Triennes Rosé 2010 (Vin de Pays du Var). Flesh toned, with an inviting nose of pink grapefruit, salt air, sea breeze, bubble gum, wet pebbles, watermelon, and honeydew. Kristin felt that it "makes me want an oyster". Tart, but in a good way, with herbs on the finish, along with a little aluminum, rhubarb, and freshly squeezed lemon. A slightly oily note. Jo summed up with "so easy". Received 9 points. Andy's bottle. About $12.
Triennes Rosé 2010 (Vin de Pays du Var). Tasters immediately noted the same color as the wine above. Bubble gum on the nose, along with pink grapefruit, and watermelon. Andy felt that "It delights but doesn't interrupt". Pleasant, inviting, enjoyable, not complicated. Received 9 points. Kristin's bottle. About $20.
Château Jouclary Rosé 2010 (Cabardès). Unfiltered. A funky, fecal nose that also included earwax, and wet rag. Hart was reminded of "cleaning out the basement", and Andy found "fish tank". Josephine was reminded of a "flowering tree on the East Side". Ripe in the mouth, with red fruit, red delicious apple, cranberry, sour apple, and soap on the finish, along with artificial lemon candy. Hartwell felt that it was reminiscent of "watery pixie stick". Later, caramel scents emerged, and turned flat on the palate. No points. Josephine's bottle. About $12.