The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2017

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Page 85 of 116

T he most surprising occurrence at The Tasting Panel's Blind Rosé Wine Speed Tasting was the diversity in style and flavor in these wines—not to mention the hues of pinks, orange, amber and salmon that brightened our glasses. And once the 11 wines were revealed to our group of San Francisco buyers, the unexpected array of regions, global and domes- tic, was equally as stunning. The rosé phenomenon is appar- ently here to stay. Rosé is un- trending itself as a passing fad and is becoming a mainstay category of our vinous experience. We've never had a faster response to our familiar Speed Tasting concept than this one from wine companies seeking to participate with their myriad rosé offerings, and we filled our quota of wines to taste in a matter of days. Our host restaurant was Finn Town Tavern, and our tasting was guided by industry insider Michael Ploetz. (See more on Michael on page 114.) Here are the Reveals, in the order tasted, and comments by some of our astute wine buying panelists: A ROSE IS A ROSE IS A ROSE, BUT ROSÉ WINE IS DISTINCTIVE: IN AROMA, TEXTURE AND TASTE PROFILE. OUR BLIND WINE SPEED TASTING AT FINN TOWN IN SAN FRANCISCO PROVES IT SO C C C C Rosé Reveal Number One Fleur de Mer 2016 Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France ($20) 52% Grenache, 21% Cinsault, 12% Syrah, 8% Carignan, 7% other red varieties The lovely lavender label is a nod to the beautiful ubiquitous lav- ender fields that cover the St. Tropez country- side. Provence rosé is regarded as the benchmark in style for the category; the region has a 2,600-year-old historical tradition of crafting these wines. Thanks to the warm Mediterranean climate in which the grapes are grown, the fruit ripens quickly. Limestone- and red clay–based soils composed of ancient shell creatures offer greater drainage and a higher pH (3.24), allowing more nutrient uptake into the roots. The grapes are blessed with natural high acidity, cooled by the dry Mistral winds. This blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan and other red Provençal varieties creates a lovely creature. Justin Chin, Beverage Director of Ju-Ni, guessed the Grenache and Cinsault components and commented on the mineral notes, stating, "This is a great example of a high quality Provençal rosé." Jordan Abraham, Sommelier at Mourad, also guessed correctly, admiring the "light floral tones, raspberries and cherry powder." Wine consultant Jerry Cooper said, "The texture is taut, lean and precise— the pretty girl at the party." ROSÉ REVEAL NUMBER TWO Love & Hope 2015 Rosé, Paso Robles ($20) Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah The first rosé from producer Austin Hope, who collaborated with Chef Tim Love to create a Mourvèdre-Grenache-Syrah blend from the drought-induced, cool 2015 vintage. Smaller cluster sizes plus a bit of shatter resulted in a concentrated salmon-amber- hued wine with wonderful acidity. While 25% of the juice was fermented in oak, 75% was fermented in stainless steel. Ceri Smith, owner of Biondivino and Wine Director at Tosca Café noted, "I believe this to be a California rosé: the nose is weighted with dark fruits and the palate offers pomegranate and acid-driven tropical fruit." "This wine shows so much depth," imparted Michael Ploetz. "It feels full and rich on the palate." AUSTIN HOPE COLLECTION Pat Dodd, Wine Educator for E&J Gallo. june 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  85

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