Living and Lifestyle

Wine of the week: Rosé has its day with wine drinkers

The wine of the week is La Chasse Prestige 2016 Cote du Rhone.
James Romanow

A few years ago, if I wanted a rosé, I had to spend my time searching the SLGA on my hands and knees. In 2000 there were exactly two in inventory (not counting white zinfandel), usually relegated to the bottom shelf in an unlit corner. Only the diligent got to drink them.

To my surprise pink wine is now in vogue. There are now so many in stock I probably could have spent the entire summer reviewing dry rosé. Quite how this happened I’m not sure, although it is vaguely possible that you, dear reader, realized that dry rosé is like champagne — a great wine that pairs with everything. What’s more, it just looks so darn pretty sitting there in the glass.

Properly made dry rosé was made throughout the Mediterranean of course, but the only appellation that got credit for it was Tavel, a Rhone AOC. Tavel is great, but the contents are not that hard to replicate. The stuff is now produced with gay abandon throughout the region. As a result, most of us can save a few bucks buying the knock-offs.

Wild Pig is a really nice Syrah rosé from the Pays D’Oc, made by Gabriel Meffre. It is somewhat atypical in that the more common cepage is Grenache, and Mourvedre or Cinsault. Grenache is a lovely fruity grape, and Mourvedre a rather stern, tannic addition providing herbaceous notes that back up a good rosé. Syrah is a darker fruit, more plum to the Grenache flavours of raspberry and strawberry.

Wild Pig delivers. The rosé is the darkest of the three reviewed here, showing off the dark blue colouring of the grapes. The flavour is brighter than you may expect, more berry-like and less intense due to the shorter time on the skins. It’s a round, fruity wine with enough acidity to give it some grip. If you’re looking for the right wine to accompany your Salade Nicoise or pasta salad this is it. There are some herbaceous notes to the aromatics, but generally the fruit overcomes them. This is not to say this wine is fruity; it’s bone dry.

Chateau D’Aigueville is a different take altogether on Rhone rosé. The blend is Grenache and Cinsault. Both of these grapes tend to light airy palates. Grenache here provides the raspberry and strawberry aromas and flavours, and the Cinsault the slightly perfumed fruit. The wine is slightly floral, a delight to both nose and tongue. There’s a crisp acidity to the palate and a bright, fruity finish.

La Chasse Prestige is another wine from Gabriel Meffre. As you’d expect from the labelling, the wine is considered more upscale, from better vineyards in the Languedoc. It’s a couple of bucks more than the other wines here, but I think it’s worth it.

The blend is Syrah and Grenache, and the combination here is a juicy, fruity mouthful with just a touch of herbs in the bouquet. It’s what I look for in a wine. It’s fresh, crisp and just tough enough to take on grilled meat.

You want to serve all of these wines around 10 degrees in the bottle because they’ll warm fairly quickly in the glass when it’s 30 outside. If you are feeling tight, Wild Pig is a fine choice. If you’ve got the money I buy La Chasse or D’Aigueville. Wild Pig and D’Aigueville are available at the SLGA.

Wine of the Week: La Chasse Prestige 2016 Cote du Rhone $22

Chateau D’Aigueville Cotes du Rhone 2016 $20

Wild Pig Syrah Rosé 2016 $15

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