Rose wines are the Rodney Dangerfields of American wine tastes and knowledge - they just don't get any respect. In Europe, good roses are seen as fine wines just like reds and whites. In the US, many ignorant wine drinkers (and I don't mean this as a term of insult - they simply don't know better) turn their nose at roses and consider it to be a lesser category of wine. For this, we can thank Bob Trinchero, the man who started the whole concept of White Zinfandel in California.
Trinchero's Sutter Home Winery was trying to make a rose or blush wine in the early 1970's when he had a problem with fermentation one year. His grapes underwent an incomplete fermentation, and the resulting wine was left with quite a bit of sugar from the fruit that never converted into alcohol. His winemaker was ready to dump it all, but Trinchero decided to try bottling and selling it to an American public that for the most part did not drink wine and liked sweeter drinks. This move, which was an insult to good winemaking, worked out pretty well for Mr. Trinchero from a marketing and sales standpoint. Unfortunately for many wine consumers, it gave rose a bad name in the US market.
The truth is that most roses are not sweet, and there are many delicious dry rose wines that are perfect with certain foods and absolutely great when chilled on those hot summer days when red wines just feel a little too warm and heavy.
The Chateau Mourgues du Gres Fleur d'Eglantine 2008 is a great example of a nice, dry rose that makes for some perfect summer drinking. Made with Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah and Carignan that is only left in contact with its skins for a very short time, this wine is light salmon in color with a quite complex and enjoyable bouquet. You get aromas ranging from strawberry and raspberry to ripe nectarine and a citrus element with some grapefruit. In your mouth you get much of the same with a wonderful combination of fruit flavors balanced by a crisp acidity. The finish is dry and clean with a little bit of length to it. I like this wine all the time, but I love it on a hot summer day. At a price around $13, it is also a very good value. If you like roses, go give this one a try. You won't be disappointed. If your not familiar with good, dry roses, Chateau Mourgues du Gres Fleur d'Eglantine would be a great introduction to this often misunderstood and under appreciated category.
Enjoy this with grilled salmon or swordfish, or pair with a hot sunny day in your yard.