May was supposed to be the month of the Domestic Rosé Battle, comparing dry, non-sparkling rosés produced anywhere in the United States. But through some manner of miscommunication or mix-up, Ali & Andy brought two French examples to the table, perhaps out of reflex action. So we marched our blind tasting palates forward and without hesitation, knowing that there would be more diversity in styles than we anticipated.

Despite the misstep, this was a thoroughly enjoyable tasting, with an array of rosé expressions that were fun to experience side-by-side. And although two of the bottles received no points, none were complete duds, and all were good matches for food, just in different ways.

Our winner turned out to be one of the French versions, garnering four first place votes, and having a pretty, delicate profile, followed by an intense domestic rosé of Syrah in second place that was darker and more concentrated.

Photography by Andy.

First Place:  Domaine Pey Blanc N°1 Rosé 2022 (Coteaux D'Aix-En-Provence). Pale, and barely pink in color, looking more like a white wine, and having scents of hand soap and nectarine. Andy was reminded of "a wet meadow after the rain", while Kristin detected a "hint of nail salon." Josephine was more specific, with a "rest stop powdered hand soap." Light and pleasing in the mouth, this was not very complex, but came off as pretty and delicate, and having overall harmony. Tasters were reminded of clementine and herb flavors, plus notions of key lime pie on the finish. Many of us correctly guessed that this was one of the French bottles. Ali, Kristin, Josephine, and David's favorite of the night, for a total of 31 points. Ali's bottle. About $18.

Second Place:  Mengler Family Wines Rosé of Syrah Notre Vue Vineyards 2021 (Russian River Valley). The darkest wine of the night, having a hint of rust color, and looking like an inexpensive tawny port. Buttered popcorn, iron oxide, and cream scents that reminded Josephine of a "movie theater lobby" and "fruit in syrup." Flavors of preserved cherries and Grand Marnier, but also something herbal or grassy. Showed concentration and intensity. David noted that it "feels more in common with a light red wine than a rosé." Perhaps better for the winter, and not for a summer picnic. Andy and Addy's favorite. 22 points. David's bottle. About $17.

Third Place:  Bedrock Wine Company Rosé Ode to Lulu 2022 (California). Made from Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah, this was a little more orange in color, with a slight spritz. Funky initially on the nose, this had a leafy quality, plus rubber, barnyard, kiwi fruit, and burnt wood. David noted that it was "a little bit feral", while Josephine described "cooked spinach that's been in the fridge too long." Andy detected "bike shop." Tasters found flavors of honeydew melon, kiwi, ripe nectarine, peach, celery, and oranges. Kristin noted that she was "not getting the funk on the palate that I got on the nose", while Addy said that "my tongue feels like I bit into an orange." Relatively fuller in the mouth, having great texture and presence. 16 points. Josephine's bottle. About $29.

Wölffer Estate Rosé Summer in a Bottle 2023 (Long Island). Having some bubbles left in the glass, this was relatively pale in color, with a nose of strawberries, sea air, light raspberries, wet stone, and tiny bit of spearmint. Bright. Perhaps the highest in acidity of the night, with a zippy vibrancy to it, delivering flavors of watermelon, strawberry kiwi Snapple, and Meyer lemons. A chalky sensation reminded Andy of Dip n' Stix. Tart finish. David felt that this "screams summer." An al fresco kind of wine. 15 points. Addy's bottle. About $35.

A Tribute To Grace Wine Company Rosé of Grenache Highlands Vineyard 2023 (Santa Barbara). A rosy pink color, followed by scents of strawberry, peach, hand soap, roses, and leafy tobacco. Showed freshness, along with a touch of minerality and acetone. Andy was reminded of a "fresh packet of Big League Chew." Slightly more round in the mouth, but also a bit chalky, with flavors of strawberries, watermelon, and bubble gum. A little more subdued, but also well-balanced. No points. Kristin's bottle. About $29.

Jillian Louise Rosé 2023 (Côtes de Provence). Slightly golden in color and very clear, with a touch of spritz. Wet pebbles on the nose, plus raspberries, roses, strawberries, pink Starburst, red licorice, and wild flowers. Fresh smelling, but also something artificial. Andy was reminded of "perfume of a old aunt." More strawberries on the palate, and more of that artificial note, staying fresh, but also candied, and falling somewhat flat on the finish. Not bad, but nothing special. No points. Andy's bottle. About $13.

Main Page      |      Reviews      |      Tastings      |      About

Copyright® All rights reserved.