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In Search of a Good Rose
Jul 17th, 2009 by

Michael Beier of Ruby Wines held a wine tasting at Brix Wine Shop this month.

Michael Beier of Ruby Wines held a wine tasting at Brix Wine Shop last night..

There’s a lot of talk in the wine world these days about roses. These pale pink concoctions used to be snubbed by many because of the bad rep they got from cheap, jug versions that were often bubble-gum sweet and left you with a pucker worthy of biting into a raw, tart lemon.

But no more: Gourmet Magazine recommends eight great rose wines this year. And a Los Angeles Times critic wrote in May that “there is simply nothing better on a warm afternoon, a salve for sun-drenched, heat-driven thirst.”

Free Wine Tasting

So with that in mind, I decided to get re-educated in rose by attending a wine tasting at the fashionable Brix Wine Shop on Broad Street in Boston. Four roses, all from France and all 2008 vintages, were available for tasting:

  1. Sancerre, Pinot Rose, made by Lucien Crochet for $34.99 a bottle.
  2. Cassis, made by Domaine Du Bagnol for $26.99 a bottle.
  3. Cotes du Ventuoux, made by Chateau Valcombe for $16.99 a bottle.
  4. And Syrah, made by Yves Cuilleron for $17.99 a bottle.

My favorite was one of the cheapest at $17.99 a bottle. Still, I wouldn't call it a bargain.

My favorite was one of the cheapest at $17.99 a bottle. Still, I wouldn't call it a bargain.

Surprisingly, the most expensive ones were not my favorites. They were very tart and without a clean finish. The cheapest Cotes du Ventuoux made with cinsault, grenache, and counoise grapes was mellow and not too tart. But my favorite was the next cheapest, the Syrah: medium-bodied, yet light and refreshing, with no pucker.

Does Price Equal Nice?

So does my love for cheaper wine mean my palate is off or not yet perfected? Certainly not.

“One of the enduring myths of wine appreciation is the idea that price is the greatest measure of quality. I can say with utter confidence that you don’t always get what you pay for - sometimes you get more!,” wine critic Robert Whitley wrote this month.

I’m still looking for more. Although the Syrah was decent, I know I can find better. I’ll continue to look over the summer. Meanwhile, if you have found an exceptional rose, please let me know.

(All photos by Mark Micheli)

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