For a long time, rosé was my Rodney Dangerfield of wines. As hard and as many as I tried, I just couldn’t find one that didn’t taste like the watermelon Jolly Ranchers that used to stick to my braces on the playground. That might have been fine in seventh grade (well except from my dentist’s perspective) but not a characteristic of the wine I was hoping to drink. A group of good friends, I’ll call them Team Rosé, went on a personal mission to show me what I had been missing and I’m happy to report that I saw the light several years ago.
So when #winestudio picked the theme of rosé , I knew that we’d have a combination of Old World and New World boutique wines that I was excited to try.
We started with the wines of Jean-Claude Mas from Mas Domaines in the Languedoc.
Domaines Paul Mas owns more than 600 hectares of vineyards and works in partnership with grape growers across an additional 1312 hectares of vines in the Languedoc. They are known for having a range of grape varieties and for the diverseness of the terroir in those vineyards. Jean-Claude Mas, the fourth-generation grower talked about how Langedoc has become a treasure for producing fine rosé due to the variety of soils and amount of varietals used. We tasted three of his rosés — all priced under $16. The NV Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux Rosé Brut St. Hilaire Languedoc (I loved this sparkling), the 2016 Coté Mas Rosé Aurore Sud de France and the 2016 Arrogant Frog Rosé. All delicious and a complete find for the price.
I already wrote about the Arinzano rosé , so I won’t spend time other than to say this is where the wine officially fit into the program.
We then moved to the 2016 Bonterra Rosé from Mendocino, a blend of Grenache, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and priced around $16. Bonterra is known for its organically farmed wines, its focus on the lands and the care and craftsmanship it puts into each wine. This dry Provencal-style rosé was delightful and got rave reviews, but appears to be completely sold out. Winemaker Sebastian Donosa talked in detail about the biodynamic approach and what makes Bonterra’s style different.
Our last wine was a 2016 Conn Creek Rosé of Malbec from Antica Vineyard, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, which my husband billed as the “favorite rosé that he has ever had,” a big compliment from a man who has drank a lot of bottles of wine.
Conn Creek winery was founded nearly 40 years ago in Napa, focused on Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varieties. Mike McGrath has been Conn Creek since the 1980s and holds one of the titles for being the longest tenured Napa Valley winemakers working for just one winery. I was familiar with Conn Creek, but I honestly did not understand the innovation and small lots of wine that happening. Rest assured I will be paying more attention in the future.