Roses & Rosés (Valentine’s Day is coming up)

A friend who is quite a wine aficionado recently said to me “friends don’t let friends drink pink wines”. Well, who am I to let a statement like that go untested? Particularly with Valentine’s Day approaching. The other day, I gathered 8 different “pink” wines and tasted them all in 1 sitting. And before I hear all the crass comments, of course I spit each wine when tasting. I’m a professional after all! Before I get into the specific reviews below, a bit of technical information might be useful. There are basically 3 ways to make rosé, or rosado in Spanish and Portuguese and rosato in Italian. The most common is to use a French technique called saignée. This is basically bleeding off some partially fermented wine from a tank of red grapes when only a bit of color has been extracted from the grape skins. Another method is to harvest red grapes and give them a few hours of skin contact, about 12-36 hours. This also imparts a small amount of color. The third and least desirable method is to blend red and white wines. This is illegal in some countries. There are rosés which range from bitterly dry to terribly sweet, still, sparkling and in-between.

These 8 wines represent 7 different countries and range in price from $6.50 to $20.50.

2012 Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, White Zinfandel, $6.50, 9.5% alc. California, USA

I went into this wine with a pretty low expectation and was pleasantly surprised. I rarely like white zinfandel, but this wine showed a good fruit, some green and red peppers and a bit of sweetness without being cloying. Medium pink color. Good afternoon cocktail wine which doesn’t demand too much attention.

2102 Gran Feudo Rosado, $8.25, 13% alc. Spain

Dark pink. Made from granache. Crisp with hints of strawberries, citrus, cherries, lemon and lime.

2012 Two Oceans, Rose of Syrah, $8.25, 12% alc. South Africa

Medium pink color with floral aromas and hints of fresh strawberries and sour cherries. Very nice cocktail wine.

2012 Crios Rosé of Malbec, $8.75, 13.8% alc. Argentina

I reviewed this wine previously, gave it a “highly recommended” and still like it. One of the darker rosés. Dry but fruity with hints of strawberry, blueberry and other bright fruits. Crisp and lovely. It has the body to cut through the heavier dishes but delicate enough for turkey, ham, asian food and fish.

2012 Pasion de Bobal, Rosado, $9.00, 12.5% alc. Spain

This is made entirely from the bobal grape, a lesser known Spanish variety. It is complex with a lovely light watermelon juice color. Crisp with flavors of green apple, sweet cherries, minerality and a long finish. This is versatile and can be drunk alone or with light or medium bodied food.  BEST BUY

2012 Gaia 14-18h, $10.25, 13% alc. Greece

This was maybe the most surprising. I have had other Greek wines, but never a rosé. Made from the agiorgitiko variety with 14-18 hours of skin contact. I guess that’s where they got the name of the wine. Medium pink color with a crisp and dry feel. Citrus, floral and complex. Fuller bodied than most rosés, almost like a red wine without the tannin astringency. This cries out for full flavored foods like pasta with tomato sauce or grilled meats or veggies. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

2011 Banfi Centine Rosé $12.70, 13% alc. Italy

A blend of sangiovese, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Light pink color. Dry with delicate flavors of strawberries, peaches, roses and more. Best as a cocktail or with cheese, appetizers or light food.

2012 Minuty Cuvee de L’Oratoire, $20.50, 13% alc. France

The lightest in color of all the wines tasted and the most complex. Mostly Grenache. Smells and tastes of peaches, nectarines, coconut, pineapple and other tropical fruits. Black cherry on the finish, which goes on for a long time. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

M. Stefan has over 20 years experience in the wine trade and has traveled extensively throughout the wine producing regions of the world.  His column is a regular feature of La Playa Community. He can be reached at and appreciates your comments.