June 2004
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Day June 20, 2004

Rose Tasting Notes

Last night we had a rose tasting at the house, and tried a number of the current releases, along with a retrospective of Tempier Bandol Rose from 1999-2003. Here are some quick notes.

Chinook Cabernet Franc Rose 1999 & 2002: the best domestic rose I’ve had. The young wine is juicy and fruity without being oaky or over-balanced, with a good hit of minerality from the Cab Franc. The wine at 5 years old had faded to a salmon pink, and was still lovely with an herbal, rather than fruity, nose. It shouldn’t be stored too much longer but it’s lovely right now.

Barnard Griffin 2003 Rose of Sangiovese: nice Washington rose, good color and flavors, without a ton of astringency one normally sees in young Sangiovese (think young Chianti…).

Torres 2003 De Casta Catalunya: a nice cheap Spanish rose my friendly wine merchant recommended. Nice, a bit of a smoky edge, then a nice Rhone-ish flavor (it’s produced from grenache and carignan, which are spanish as well as french grapes).

Chateau de Aqueria Tavel 2002: beautiful deep red color, lots of extraction and power. Many people who like dark reds love this rose since it’s refreshing but still has the body and power. Normally the “luxury” Tavel from Mordoree beats this by a bit, but this year I wasn’t as fond of the Mordoree, thinking it a bit thin and tart for a Tavel.

Tempier Bandol Rose: of the five years 1999-2003, the 2000 is definitely the weakest wine, with a bitter note on the palate and finish. The 2002 was the consensus favorite, then the 1999 (which is holding up beautifully, and tasting “mature”). The 2001 is very tasty, and suffers only in comparison, because I really enjoy the wine itself. The 2003, as I wrote in a previous post, is tasty but atypically light and pale. The consensus seemed to be that the 2003 will pick up some weight in the bottle, so we’re all glad I snagged a couple of cases of it.

The roses were served with a variety of dishes: a Syrian olive salad, a couscous salad with almonds and dates, a Mediterranean bread salad, and a green salad of home-grown lettuces, and my Provencal olive tapenade. This was followed by spicy lamb kebabs, dry-rubbed with a Uighur-style cumin hot pepper mixture, accompanied by a mint yoghurt garlic sauce from Afghanistan, grilled asparagus and vegetables, and grilled goat cheeses wrapped in grape leaves and served on tomato slices with an olive balsamic sauce. This was followed by some of the most incredible strawberries, grapes, and fresh fruits I’ve had in a long time, and dessert was my friend Wayland’s brilliant berry cheesecake.

Not on the menu last night but superb (and gone from the market): Syncline from Washington State. Coming on strong and could challenge the Chinook in my mind.