Dining Review: War of the Rosés

The enduring pink wine is back, and here are some taste tests to reacquaint you with its unique character.

Joseph Hayes’ rosé lineup featured eight offerings. Most were impressive, but one was the unanimous favorite.

Roberto Gonzalez

Let us talk of rosé wine, that sometimes maligned, often celebrated summer quaff. The popularity of the pale pink child of red grapes and casual drinking can be traced not to twenty-teens brunches, but to 6th century B.C. France, 14th century nobility, and 1970s California. Then it faded like a coral sunset.

But those who think rosé is still passé haven’t been socializing lately, or perusing Instagram for pink pictures. Rosé is back.

I gathered some non-expert sippers to sample an assortment of wines, coincidently on National Rosé Day (June 9). To keep it as level as possible, I only revealed the names of the wines, with bottles kept out of close observation. Each of our samples range from $11 to $20 a bottle, with one exception, and are available at Total Wine, ABC and your local wine shop.


Barton and Guestier Passeport. Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah grapes go into this readily available bottle from Provence. The mixed berry flavor starts a bit tart, eliciting responses ranging from “nice fruit and balance” to “tasted a little thin.”

Besserat de Bellefon Brut Rosé. The costliest of our selection ($65-75), this Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend is a true Champagne from Champagne. Round and complex fermentation forward; one taster said, “I’d serve it before meals.” Bubbles positive; characteristic hints of yeast (“Tastes too sour” and “Boo!”) negative.

Le Charmel Rose, Tortoise Creek Wines. A multi-layered blend of Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Rolle from coastal Provence. Extremely pale and very fruity with an intense taste of raspberries and a “dry apple aftertaste,” it appealed as a “salad dinner” companion.

Mont Gravet Rosé. The south of France brings us a 100% Cinsault from Languedoc. Slightly sweet, it appealed in hue (“I want lipstick this color”) and origin (revealed as from France, a smiley face and “Ooh La La” appeared one critique sheet). An enjoyable berry taste.

Santa Julia Brut Rosé NV. Technically a rosado from Argentina’s Mendoza region, this light sparkler of Pinot Noir grapes has a delicate color and surprising aroma of vegetation, more like grape leaves than grapes. “I liked the bubbles,” said one, “and the apple-ish taste.”

Santa Julia Organica. Argentinian organic Malbec with a deep taste of red fruit, caramel and vanilla. “Blackberries and plums,” was a comment.

S. Pratsch Rosé. Unequivocally the favorite (including mine). From lower Austria, grown on tiny estates of organic Zweigelt grapes, it reminded me of the drier Reislings but with a fruitier taste and sweet aroma. “I’d serve with dinner,” was a comment. “Yes, please! Love this.”

Snowbirds Rosé. Certified organic Carignan grapes from a Russian River Valley vineyard, conceived by Orlando chef Jamie McFadden, and finished and bottled by local Quantum Leap Winery. With a rich, jewel-like color, and pronounced aroma of berries and noticeable alcohol (open it ahead). “I can’t identify it,” one of our panel said, “but very fruit forward.”

Thanks to all our hard-working tasters. And remember, rosé isn’t just for the summer.

Can Do 
For the outdoorsy sipper, rosé has hit the canned wine category. Francis Ford Coppola’s Sofia offers a sparkling brut aimed at the LaCroix crowd in single glass servings (4/$20). Sonoma’s Scribe Winery serves Una Lou rosé in 2-glass cans (4/$40), and the “not exactly a rosé” RAMONA revives the wine cooler with a bubbly made from Sicilian grapefruit juice and Italian wine (4-pack, $20).

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Top Doctors 2018

The Annual List of the Top Doctors in Orlando.

Best Doctors 2018

The Annual List of the Best Doctors in Orlando.

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2018

Check out our 2018 list of some of the best chiropractors in the Orlando area.

2018 Premier Veterinarians

The 2018 Pet Guide: Pet Resource Guide

Here are some of the places you can go in Central Florida when you need supplies, products and services for your best friends.

Premier Realtors 2018

Let Orlando's best realtors help you find your dream home!

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2018

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Second-Hand Santa

Harry Pecunia Jr. wants to top the 2,300 toys collected last year for kids less fortunate. Can you help?

Ultimate Cure Bowl Experience Sweepstakes

Enter today to win the ultimate bowl experience for you and three of your friends!

Kid Kontributor of the Month - Jake's Journey, Part 3

Read about Jake's Journey from the launch of Kid Kontributor of the Month "to infinity and beyond!"

Kid Kontributor of the Month - Jake's Journey, Part 2

Read about Jake's Journey from the launch of Kid Kontributor of the Month "to infinity and beyond!"

Kid Kontributor of the Month - Jake's Journey, Part 1

Read about Jake's Journey from the launch of Kid Kontributor of the Month "to infinity and beyond!"
Edit Module