Tips/Strategy on Blind Tasting Rose Wine?

Trying to strengthen blind tasting abilities for Rose.

Because so many countries and region use Garnacha (Rioja tends to use Garnacha as well as Navarra, more famous for Navarra rose wine from Garnacha) they are difficult to tell apart. Rioja might use some oak and age their garnacha rose longer... but what of Garnacha rose from Australia?

In terms of the global market, Pinot Noir rose from Sancerre seems to be popular, but lately it seems as if a lot of California winemakers are making Pinot Noir based rose wine.

Does anyone notice other trends?

  • Like with white/fortified/sparkling/red blind tasting, stick to classic regions and classic styles. 95% of producers in the New World will make rose for the simple reason that it gives them a quicker cash flow and (usually) improves the quality of their reds. That doesn't mean anyone would ever expect you to get Alexander Valley Pinot Rose on a blind.

    On the other hand, being able to navigate your way on sight, structure, and aroma between, for example:
    Rose d'Anjou
    Cabernet d'Anjou
    Tavel
    Cigales
    Cotes de Provence
    Sancerre Rose
    Beaujolais Rose

    Those are all wines with long-established histories and styles spanning the full range of body, acid, oak, sweetness, etc.. And don't forget your rose bubblies!
  • In reply to Mark Guillaudeu:

    Brilliant! Studying them now!
  • In reply to Mark Guillaudeu:

    Maybe not quite classic yet but I'd throw Rose of Pinot from Willamette and some Rhone varietal roses from CA. And just because its so darn delicious....Rose of Nebbiolo. The 100% ones from around Gattinara are my ace in the whole for warm weather pairings. And I've tried some with Vespolina added that have a beautiful floral character. As I said, maybe not classic but delicious.
  • It surprises me to see lists with a couple of Sancerre Rose's and no Tavel Rose's on so many lists. I guess because Sancerre sells like hotcakes?
  • In reply to Nathan Bihm:

    I think it's the double-whammy effect - sell a guest Sancerre Rose and you're selling them the triple threat of 1) Rose, 2) Sancerre, and 3) Pinot Noir. And its more recognizable as rose to most of the market while Tavel is a bit more...niche? No less delicious though...
  • Regarding other trends. Here in iceland there are two rosés that seem to have found a niche. One is a Tuscan Sangiovese and the other a Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé from Chile (personal favourite)
  • In reply to Mark Guillaudeu:

    I think that Mark brings up a good point here. When assessing any rose, keep in mind that you're going to get a very different product with a whole cluster direct press vs a rose made out of juice bled off of a red wine. This is not about the winemaking so much as it is about pick date. Grapes harvested specifically for rose are one of the first to be picked and will have a vastly different sugar/acid balance than grapes that were picked for a red wine, especially when you're making the style of wine where extraction is key. Producers that use this bled juice for rose as a secondary product, if they don't blend the saignee juice with a much higher proportion of must from early picked direct pressed juice, end up with rose that has higher alcohol (the same as their red wine), with noticeably less freshness.

    Sure they can further tinker with their saignee rose, but if you're really trying to squeeze every dollar out of your harvest, you probably aren't going to go through that trouble. This isn't really a problem in the old world, to the extant that I've seen in in new world rose. So I think the relevant question in blind tasting is, "does this reflect intentionality, or is this a secondary product?" Clearly I have a bias.
  • Sorry if this is off topic, but this thread has made me very curious. What's your motive for strengthening your blind tasting of rose, exactly? Are you having trouble judging quality? Having trouble understanding the variation in styles from grape to grape and place to place? I know the purpose of blind tasting is about more than passing exams, but being an expert in blinding rosé is so far off my radar that I hadn't ever really considered it. Very cool topic.

  • I'm seeing more and more Spätburgunder (pinot noir) rosés out there! And also I feel like in Los Angeles at least, I'm seeing more Zweigelt on menus--both rose and not. I am into the Spätburgunder ones--Riedlin makes an exceptional one. Other than that Tavel, for me sets the bar for robust and more complex rosé. And in California Dragonette is pretty killer. Those last two comments were not good advice about how to taste or trends--just rosé I get excited for!

  • In reply to Jeremy Eubanks:

    Cabernet d'Anjou is sweet and pyrazinic with unripe fruit flavors, Mateus Rosé tends to be sweet with a slight spritz (this is actually the subject of Neil Diamond's hit number "Cracklin' Rose"- at least this style of wine), and White Zinfandel tends to be sweet with ripeness of fruit.