Posted by: tomciocco | August 31, 2008


Far be it for me to become a rose` wine wet blanket – no way – just the opposite – I LOVE rose`(and rosado and the occasional rosato and pink wine too). A central theme regarding rose` that has been repeated many times, but bears repeating nonetheless, is that rose` goes with everything – anything from poached fish (with a strawberry soda-colored Loire Cabernet Franc rose` for example) right up to and maybe even including a grilled T-bone (with a muscular, first-rate Monastrell-dominated, Carignan-singing-backup rosado from Spain?).

But if the obverse says that rose`does indeed go with any food, then the reverse is that its amazing versatility can also make rose` a sort of oenological “jack of all trades and master of none”, which is perhaps one reason why rose`is rarely considered to be a “great” wine style, even by those who rightly drink the stuff by the case-load and push it on every other Summer partymaker that will listen…

Think about it – “great” wine styles: Dry red? Bordeaux, Barolo, Burgundy, Rioja. No need to continue there. Sweet red? Port and Banyuls. Dry white? Burgundy again, multiple Rhein Riesling zones, Savennieres. Sweet whites? Like dry reds, almost too many to name: Trockenbeerenausleses, Moscato di Pantelleria, Picolit, Malmsey Madeira, etc. Sparkling wines? Duh.

But rose`? Many folks, including yours truly, will sing the praises of Spanish Garnacha rosados and Provencal rose` blends, but ask any pink advocate to name even one great rose` wine, and you will hear a whole lotta nuthin’, almost guaranteed (the late, great Edoardo Valentini’s roses do come to mind but these roses can just as easily be called bizarre as great).

And this situation sets one to thinking…If dry reds AND dry whites AND sweet reds AND sweet white wines all have among their ranks wines that some if not many drinkers consider to be “great” styles, why is rose` out of the club? Is there something about rose` wines’ uncanny versatility, as I suggested above – an unwillingness to “commit” that limits them – or is it that no one has ever actually tried to make a “world-class” rose`? Or something else entirely?

Listen, I’m not in any way saying that the world is howling for a potentially life-changing, $60 bottle of rose`, or that making one is possible, remotely saleable, or even desirable, but it still strikes me a bit odd that to my knowledge, no one has ever even tried it. Why not? It makes more sense than pet rocks or paying money for cellullar ring tones, but that’s just me…

But all kidding aside, I don’t really have an answer for my question – Why isn’t  there at least one mind-blowing rose` out there somewhere? Is it because the notion of mind-blowing rose` can be likened to the idea of manufacturing a absolutely sublime stick of chewing gum, or am I just ignorant of the Domaine Romanee-Conti of roses? If anyone has a theory, actually knows why, or just wants to fling poo, write to me below…

What brought the all the above to mind was the fairly innocent construction of a dinner of a chilled rice and vegetable salad, and chicken breasts in a cream/dried tomato/shallot/tarragon sauce and braised radishes that I served with a certain little pinky called the J. Mourat “Collection” Rose` 2007. This VERY cool blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Negrette springs from the southwestern-most slice of what can be called the greater Loire Valley, namely the Lay Valley in the Fiefs Vendeens.

I’m not going to hit you with any surprises here – I invented the recipes to match the wine, which I had had several times before, so everything went together swimmingly, – VERY nicely – the wine is unique, fresh, quite complex, and a great value – Don’t not get me wrong, I REALLY DIG THIS WINE, but like every other rose` ever(?) no real “WOWS” either from the wine directly, or even as a result of a perfect food match…Again, why? Not possible? Not necessary? Never been tried? While we hammer out an answer to this question that plunges to the very core of humanity here are the tasting notes and some of Jen’s best camera work to date:


J. Mourat “Collection” Rose` Fiefs des Vendeens 2007 J. Mourat "Collection" Rose` 2007

Color of lightly smoked salmon. Fresh and pretty nose of strawberries, white flowers, almonds, beeswax, and blue curacao. The mouthfeel shows a discreet and clean, round acidity, and the first motions of swallowing bring an olfactory explosion of crisp sour cherry flavors, watermelon juice and a touch of fresh grass. A VERY charming wine.

a cold rice salad

a cold rice salad




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