Don’t get us wrong - wine doesn’t have to be serious, but we do think that Rosé can sometimes be treated as an unserious wine, and that’s just not fair. Over the course of our podcast, we have come to truly appreciate Rosé wines, and one of our very favorite types of Rosés is Rosé made from Pinot Noir. Rosé has gotten a bad rap in part because sometimes it is not made in an intentional way - what we mean by that is that there are methods of making Rosé where the wine is an afterthought rather than a wine that is intentionally and purposely made. In this episode, we talk about the different methods of making Rosé and why we believe one of the methods creates a more serious wine. And we talk about why Pinot Noir Rosé in particular is a wine that deserves some respect! We taste and review three reasonably priced Pinot Noir Rosé wines and let you know which of them we think is worth seeking out. And, yes, we have a great time while doing it because, afterall, wine should be fun! Being serious about wine doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, too! Wines reviewed in this episode: 2022 D'Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé, 2022 Conscious Pinot Noir Rosé, and 2021 Courtney Benham Rosé of Pinot Noir.
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Episode 90: Rosé of Pinot Noir is a Serious Wine! 00:00
Hello! And welcome to The Wine Pair Podcast. I’m Joe, your sommelier of reasonably priced wine, and this is my wife and my wine pairing partner in crime, Carmela. And we are The Wine Pair!
Ok, a quick orientation for those of you who may be new to the podcast - in each episode we learn about, taste and give our completely honest review of three wines that are reasonably priced - meaning under $20 each - that should be easy for you to find. And our podcast is made for people who want to learn more about wine, find new wines to enjoy, and just want someone to talk about wine in a fun way that normal people can understand. So, if that sounds like you, you are in the right place! And we are proud to say that we are recommended by the editors of Decanter Magazine who call us fun, irreverent, chatty, and entertaining
Carmela, today we are going to be taking on a very serious subject. I mean, usually we joke around and have fun, but today we are going to be all business. I mean it. No laughing. No joking. No sarcasm. Got it?
And, just to add to the seriousness, I have a new microphone that I am trying to break in and I am not sure yet if I like it. Ok?!?
Anyway, today we are serious because we are going to make the case that Rosé made from Pinot Noir is a serious wine. And, with just about a week left of summer, you are running out of time to enjoy what is typically a wonderful summer sipper in Rosé. But don’t worry, you can still drink Rosé of Pinot Noir even after summer is over. In fact, we think it is a great year round wine, and a great fall and Holiday wine.
Now, I figure there are a lot of those of you out there in listening land who are in one of two camps on this subject. And we’re going to find out what camp you are in Carmela.There are those of you who love Rosé and think it is an excellent wine, but are tired of people making fun of you for liking it. And, there are those of you who just think Rosé is not a serious wine, and that serious wine drinkers would never drink a Rosé, even one made from the noble Pinot Noir grape.
And, I do realize there are probably more than a few of you out there who either don’t really think about Rosé all that much, or who don’t really have a strong opinion about it, but that’s ok because it’s important for you to listen as well. Because this is a serious, important subject!
Carmela and I have been in situations where people flat out disparage Rosé wine as if it is nothing more than a cheap, unserious wine made from the refuse of red wine grapes. And while I will not deny that may happen, for winemakers, and I mean real, artisanal wine makers, Rosé is a serious wine.
Making a great Rosé is just as challenging and time consuming as making any other wine. And, like any other wine, there are winemakers who create beautiful Rosé wines, and those who just make crummy Rosé wines consistent with other wines they make.
I will also say a few other things. We used to be in the camp that felt that Rosé was not a serious wine. That does not mean that we did not enjoy an occasional glass, but we also know that very often wine snobs, or people who think they know wine, look down their nose at Rosé, and I will admit I did, too. In fact, one of our earliest episodes was an F that Wine episode where we made fun of Rosé. Can you believe it? We don’t even do those episodes anymore because there is just more nuance in wine than to say there is a particular type or style we don’t like.
Anyway, we were down on it until we started finding some Rosé wines that we really loved. One of those is what we are drinking today - Rosé made from Pinot Noir. And we have had some other Rosés made from Nebbiolo and Agiorgitiko that are fabulous. We also fell in love with Rosé when we started drinking sparkling Rosé, which is often made from Pinot Noir.
So, over the next several minutes, we are going to learn a bit more about what makes Rosé of Pinot Noir special, and we have 3 Rosé Pinot Noirs from the US and France that we are going to taste and review to see if they are worth your hard earned money . . .
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And, as we do every week, we’ll tell you someone we think you should tell about The Wine Pair Podcast. This week, we want you to ask someone in a conversation what they think about Rosé, just any random conversation we want you to throw in that question, and whatever they say - love it, hate it, don’t think about it - tell them about this episode of The Wine Pair Podcast, or better yet, send it to them via text or email.
ARTICLES and LINKS
Topic: How Can Rosé Be a Serious Wine? 008:35
So, Carmela, let’s start off by talking about what gave Rosé a questionable reputation before we talk about what makes Rosé great.
And let’s also remember that Rosé is a style of wine, and that style of wine will depend very much on how it is made and what grapes it is made from, which we will cover a bit in this episode, and we have links to articles where you can find out more the show notes for this episode if you go to our website. Just click on this episode and scroll down to find our show notes.
There are a few reasons that Rosé has had a bad wrap. One is something we talked several weeks ago in our episode about California Zinfandel being underrated. If you remember, we noted that Sutter Home winery in the 1970s started making a wine from runoff juice from Zinfandel which was sweet and low in alcohol, labeled it as White Zinfandel, even though it was pink and actually Rosé, and these wines are sometimes also known as blush wines, and it was a hit with customers who wanted something easy to drink that they could plop some ice cubes in.
It was a popular wine, in fact, in 1987 it was THE most popular domestic wine in the US. But it was not a serious wine by any stretch.
Another reason why some have a less than positive reaction to Rosé wine is because some producers make it as a byproduct of wine production, rather than as intentional wine from the start. According to an article from the LA Times and another from a blog called Last Bottle Wines which you can find in our show notes, many rosés are produced using a method called the saignée method in which juice is bled off of a fermenting tank early in the fermentation process. This is done to make the original wine more concentrated, and so the runoff wine is really a byproduct wine either gets thrown out or is made into a Rosé. These also tend to be sweet and sometimes cloying, but many would consider them not really serious wines, because they were not created with the original purpose of making a Rosé. They’re like, hey, we got some left over wine, so let’s just sell this shit.
So, what, then makes a Rosé a serious wine, you may ask?
There is a method of Rosé making called the Direct Press or Maceration method. This is used by winemakers who are intending to make a Rosé wine from the jump, and this is the more traditional method, too. When making Rosé wines this way, grapes are grown and selected specifically to make a Rosé wine, and they are crushed and pressed to create the color and flavor the winemaker is looking for - that is why they call it intentional. The process of keeping the juice in contact with the skin is called maceration, and the winemaker will choose the contact time, which runs between a few hours and up to 24 hours. The longer, the more color. So note that Rosé wine is made when using red wine grapes, because that is where the color and flavor comes from.
In this method, the grapes are picked at a specific time - earlier in the season in order to create a lower alcohol and higher acid wine, usually less sweet, and lighter in flavor than those made from the saignée method.
And so now the question is, why do we think Rosé made from Pinot Noir is special?
Well, first we love Pinot Noir anyway, but we find that Rosé that is made purposely from Pinot Noir grapes is dry, crisp and bright, and food friendly. It can also be slightly sweet in a gentle way, not a cloying way, if it is made well, and has fresh and juicy fruit flavors that I would sort of describe as mouth watering.
The key for us is that the Rosé, or any wine, has to be good with food. And so the highly acid and not overly sweet and vibrant aspect makes it like a crisp dry white wine, but often with more body or mouthfeel because of the grape skin contact.
Look for Pinot Noir Rosé that comes from good producers of red Pinot Noir wine. They will bring the most care to the Rosé, and will most often be looking for specific grapes for their Rosé. And I would look for wines that are macerated - or in other words, using that traditional method.
We’ll talk about the wines we chose for today in a minute, but I believe that at least one of them was made in the Direct Press or Maceration method because they talk about whole cluster pressing, which is indicative of that way of making Rosé. I also know that our friends at Compton Family Wines in Oregon have a beautiful Rosé Pinot Noir that is reasonably priced at $20 and also uses the Direct Press Method. I also believe our friends at Stoller use the same method for their Rosé of Pinot Noir.
So, on that note, I think it’s time to learn a little more about the specific wines we are drinking today - although overall, I will say there is not quite as much information about these wines as we usually have, and I’ll talk about that in a second.
ARTICLES and LINKS
Pinot Noir Rosé Wines We Chose for This Episode 15:25
As usual, all of the wines we have chosen for this episode are under $20, and all of them should be relatively easy to find because I bought them all at Total Wine, which I will admit is convenient, but every time I am there I kind of feel like I never want to go there again because I am a bit suspicious about their wine selection. They have a lot of wines, but I feel like they have a lot of shitty wines. They have all of these Winery Direct wines, and I am never quite sure about the quality of the wines or how they select them. I am also finding that Total Wine, like every other big wine distributor, just totally overdoes it on Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
But I digress. If you need to find these wines, you should be able to find them at Total Wine, and I know you can find them online, but I think you may need to dig around a bit for some of them.
Remember, while we love Rosé made from Pinot Noir, we may not love these specific wines, so stay tuned for our real and honest opinion when we taste the wines.
The first wine we are going to taste and review is made in the Pays d'Oc wine region of France, and is called D'Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé. Pays d’Oc is in the south eastern part of France and - now I am going to wine nerd out - is a large wine designation called IGP which is not as strict as the AOC designation, and mostly overlaps with the wine region called Languedoc-Roussillon which is on the Mediterranean sea, near the border of Spain. I won’t go into it a ton because it could take a while, but there are links in our show notes if you are interested in learning more. I will say that this area has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters.
However, on the label, the wine is called a Vin de France, and evidently that is the most basic quality tier of wine in France, and used to be called Vin de Table which just means table wine. In this designation, grapes can come from anywhere in France - and in this case, the grapes likely come from other areas of France because Pays d’Oc is not really a Pinot Noir growing region.
There is not a ton of other information about this wine that I could find. There were a lot of places online that sell the wine, but all of them basically had the same short descriptions and information. And I am not sure if this wine is made in the Direct Press method, but I have read that in this region of France the more traditional approach is preferred, so I am expecting that maybe it is.
The next wine we are going to try comes from the Willamette Valley of Oregon and is called Conscious Pinot Noir Rosé. Conscious is a label within the Samuel Robert Winery, and their wines are often sold at Total Wine and I have seen it around in grocery stores in our area as well.
This wine received a 90 point rating from Beverage Dynamics, and the 2020 vintage got a 90 rating from Wine Enthusiast.
Again, I am not sure if this wine is made in the Direct Press method or not, and again there was not a ton else I could find out about this wine, and as I was pulling together notes for this episode, their website was having trouble, so I guess all of you out there in listening land will need to be part of the Look It Up Club!
The last wine we are drinking is called Courtney Benham Rosé of Pinot Noir and is from the Los Carneros AVA of California which includes parts of both Napa and Sonoma in Northern California. This area is close to San Pablo Bay, and so is cooler than many other areas in Napa and Sonoma, and so is more suited to growing Burgundy grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
This wine got a 90 rating from Beverage Dynamics and a 92 from James Suckling for whatever that is worth.
There is a bit more about this wine that I could find on their website. They mention that the grapes are whole cluster pressed, which makes me believe this wine was made in the Direct Press method. They also say they use all native yeasts and ferment and age in 100% stainless steel.
So that’s it, and I think that is enough information - let’s get to drinking! We’ll take a quick break and be right back. And, if you have these wines or similar wines, drink along with us!
ARTICLES and LINKS
Pinot Noir Rosé Wine Pairing Tasting and Reviews 24:35
Wine: D'Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé
Region: France, Pays d’Oc
Retailer: Total Wine
Grapes: Pinot Noir
What we tasted and smelled in this D'Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé:
- On the nose: Watermelon candy, sweetness, floral, rose, citrus, strawberry candy
- In the mouth: Candy, sweet, Jolly Rancher, cotton candy, sugary, citrus, summer sipper
Food to pair with this D'Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé: Grilled foods, grilled shrimp, grilled fish, seafood, cheese board. Spicy foods. French fries. Fish and chips.
As a reminder on our rating scale, we rate on a scale of 1-10, where 7 and above means that we would buy it, and 4 and below means that we are likely to pour it down the sink, and a 5 or 6 means we are likely to drink it and finish it, but we are probably not going to buy it.
D'Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé Wine Rating:
- Joe: 6/10
- Carmela: 6/10
Wine: Conscious Pinot Noir Rosé
Region: Oregon, Willamette Valley
Retailer: Total Wine
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Professional Rating: BD (Beverage Dynamics) 90
What we tasted and smelled in this Conscious Pinot Noir Rosé:
- On the nose: Sweet cherry, sugary, hard cherry candy, red licorice, ripe strawberry skin, herb, grass, strawberry leaf
- In the mouth: A lot of depth and flavor, very fruity, citrus at the beginning and then berry, cherry juice. Very pretty wine. Some body to it. Good balance of acid and fruit.
Food to pair with this Conscious Pinot Noir Rosé: Spicy foods, Chinese food, fried fish, grilled foods, smoked foods, spicy smoked sausage, a good tailgating wine
Conscious Pinot Noir Rosé Wine Rating:
- Joe: 8/10
- Carmela: 8/10
Wine: Courtney Benham Rosé of Pinot Noir
Region: California, Los Carneros
Retailer: Total Wine
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Professional Rating: BD 90, JS 92
What we tasted and smelled in this Courtney Benham Rosé of Pinot Noir:
- On the nose: Barnyard, earthy, basement, farm, watermelon candy on the back end
- In the mouth: Citrusy, bitter, orange pith, sweet citrus, lemon lime, La Croix, slate, minerality, river rocks. Grassy. May not be a crowd pleaser. A serious wine you can ponder. Not a summer sipper. A bit austere
Food to pair with this Courtney Benham Rosé of Pinot Noir: Seafood pasta, white pizza, fall, Thanksgiving wine, white meat
Courtney Benham Rosé of Pinot Noir Wine Rating:
- Joe: 8/10
- Carmela: 7/10
Which one of these are you finishing tonight?
- Carmela: Conscious Pinot Noir Rosé
- Joe: Courtney Benham Rosé of Pinot Noir
Taste profiles expected from Pinot Noir Rosé 42:48
- WE: Pinot Noir rosé is typically fruity, fresh and elegant in style, with mild acidity to brace its cherry and light spice flavors. white cherry, and zesty citrus
- In Good Taste: crabapple, watermelon, strawberry, melon
- D'Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé
- Winery: This delightful dry Rose is filled with fresh strawberry and cherry aromas. A pleasant acidity balances the fruity palate
- Conscious Pinot Noir Rosé
- Winery: An elegant light ballet slipper pink in color, this is refreshingly crisp and complex. The nose is delicate with hints of stone fruit and white tropical flowers. Bright acidity delights the pallet with wild strawberries, nectarine, and a hint of guava
- BD: A bright watermelon pink that hints at how this Willamette Valley wine will taste. Its mouthfeel is more fulfilling and substantial for a rosé. There is a hint of sweetness at the finish, and the strawberry notes linger lovely.
- Petite Cellars: The ripe fruit flavors run from strawberry to maraschino cherry to kumquat to marmalade. Extraordinary richness for an inexpensive rose
- Courtney Benham Rosé of Pinot Noir
- BD: This wine is a lovely cotton candy pink color with bright notes of strawberry candy and lemon zest. Light and refreshing, easily paired with light hors d’oeuvres or equally enjoyable on its own
- Winery: A refreshing and complex Rosé full of ripe fruit and bright acidity. Candied Strawberry, Cherry, Apricot, Kumquat, Citrus Blossoms.
Outro and how to find The Wine Pair Podcast 45:34
Ok, so, Carmela, it is just about time for us to go, but before we do, we want to thank you very much for listening to us - and if you haven’t done so yet, now would be the perfect time to subscribe to our podcast and also a fantastic time to leave us a nice rating and review on our website or Apple podcasts or other podcast service - and it is an awesome and free way to support us and help us grow listeners.
We would also love to hear from you about a wine you would like us to taste and review. You can, leave a message for us on our website thewinepairpodcast.com and you can join our email newsletter there, too, or you can just email us at email@example.com and tell us about a wine you are curious about, or curious what we think of it. And, follow us on Instagram and Threads so you can see pictures of all of these wines we are tasting and reviewing.
And, next time you listen to an episode, drink along with us and see if you are tasting and experiencing the same things we are - it’s like a date night! And if you do that, we’d love to hear what you think!
Alright, with that, we are going to sign off, so thanks again, and we will see you next time. And, as we say, life is short, so stop drinking shitty wine.