Muga Rioja Rosado 2018 -This one just rolled in, making it a little late to the ‘party’ but the distinctive styling and lifted freshness make this a fine summer quaff and the pricing has made it a consistent favorite over the last few seasons. This is made as a rose (as opposed to being the result of a saignee or bleeding of red grapes) and the blend is 60% Garnacha,
30% Viura and 10% Tempranillo. The usage of the white Viura gives this rose some impressions of white stone fruits like white peach to go along with the more traditional berry flavors. Lifted, fresh, and very food-friendly, this is another value performer.
Terrebrune Bandol Rosé 2018 –As we spoke about the Pradeaux in part 1 of this rosé focused piece, we mentioned that the 2017 may have been our favorite of the lot for that vintage. In the 2018 lineup, this could well be the MVP (Most Valuable Pink). These folks have been doing great work for a while but the 2018 just seems to have a little bit more ‘pop’ and vigorous yet engaging fruit. As is the norm, Mourvedre (50%) is the star of this show with the other half of the wine is split roughly equally between Grenache and Cinsault. Half of the juice is saignee (bled from the red grapes) while the other half is made directly into rosé. Limestone and organic farming are key elements in this story, with this pink as the happy ending. Equal impressions of both berries and yellow stone fruits like peach and apricot, that cool, funky little twist is the Mourvedre speaking its piece, and there’s a nice touch of minerality to the finish.
La Mordoree Cotes du Rhone Rosé 2018-This family winery has been a Winex favorite for a long time and this is the entry-level bottling among 4-5 different rosés that can range up to $50. We like this one because it gives the Mordoree experience at the most attractive price, and this 2018 is the most engaging we have had in some time. Their pinks have a huge following and for good reason. This version is made up of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 10% Carignan, and 5% Mourvedre. In the glass the Grenache appears to be the lead singer, delivering a broad, juicy blast of decidedly red berry fruit. It’s rounder in the mouth than some but still maintains plenty of freshness and finishes with a touch of garrigue. Far too easy to drink and a strong choice for under $20.
Leoube Rosé Cotes De Provence 2018 –Our lineup of pinks changes every year based on our tastings, so it is important to note that Leoube has been on the roster five of the last six vintages since we first discovered it. Though it doesn’t make much of a point of it, the folks that bought the Chateau in 1997 made their money in organic groceries. Also the property is located next to one of the top sites for the famous Domaine Ott. As a matter of fact, Jean-Jacques Ott of Domaine Ott wanted to sell his property but still wanted to stay in the business. The new owners of Leoube just so happened to be looking for a winemaker at the exact same moment. So, Jean-Jacques and his son Romain head over to Leoube after selling their eponymous property to Roederer Champagne and boom, magic. Now, father and son Ott work the vineyards and make the wine at their next-door neighbor. A crisper and more delicate style with a pale salmon hue, it is mainly Grenache and Cinsault with bits of Syrah and Mourvedre. Light, dry, fresh, berries, apricot, and citrus, and a touch of salinity in the finish, it is quite civilized.
Nervi Conterno Il Rosato Piedmont 2018-You can make rose out of anything, as the market continues to prove. But not all of those efforts are compelling. But there are a few cases where a non-mainstream example shines brightly. We have seen rose of Nebbiolo before, but not very many and not very often. The way this one came out, there might be a lot more folks trying their hand at it, though hitting this mark will be no picnic. The grapes come from the Nervi estate in Gattinara that was acquired by the Giacomo Conterno estate, hand-harvested with the intent to make a pink wine, fermented in stainless steel and then exposed to the lies for four months. Made from 90% Nebbiolo and 10% Uva Rara, this has an inviting nose of melon, berry, wild herbs and that perfumy floral aspect that is Nebbiolo. Deceptively broad on the palate, with plenty of energy underneath, this delivers in an aperitif scenario but has enough substance to play with some meat and sausage dishes. A 91 score from vinous. A cool diversion in pinks.