Friday, April 13, 2012

Rosé Elevated

Sales for rosé wines are on the rise yet sadly too many wine drinkers still associate blush wines as either overly feminine or unsophisticated (the later excuse being ripe with sexist undertones). Personally, I am not afraid to say that I love rosé wines and don't think twice about ordering it in a restaurant in plain sight of other patrons. Does this mean I'm more in-touch with my feminine side or more comfortable with my masculinity? No, of course not. To say 'yes' would be to lend credence to the concept that the light cherry, cranberry or salmon coloured wines are exclusively feminine to begin with. I simply enjoy the unique body, texture and refreshing qualities a good rosé can offer and I hope to encourage others to put aside their prejudices and explore its wonderful ability to pair with (nearly) all foods.

Decent, satisfying and food-friendly rosé wines are produced all over BC but three producers have managed to elevate its production to an art form. The much anticipated release and quick sell-out of said wines speaks to the quality that consumers have grown accustomed to from Stag's Hollow, Tinhorn Creek and JoieFarm, the latter perhaps being the most responsible for the style's rebirth at the till.

Partially, what makes these three wines so special is the fact that all are planned, not happened upon. There is no "well, this Cabernet block is crap and under ripe, maybe we can make a rosé out of it" conversation at these wineries. But rather they ask, "What will make our rosé better this year?"

For Stag's Hollow it's a specific block of Syrah that defines the characters of the wine. For Tinhorn Creek it's a rotating block of Cabernet Franc that is picked during the summer for its rosé friendly qualities. And for JoieFarm it's always the final blend of multiple varieties that makes the wine unique and special. Three rather different approaches to making rosé all with the same goal in mind: delivering a delicious wine that can pair with a wide variety of foods or be enjoyed on its own.

Stag's Hollow 2011 Syrah Rosé - $18
The cheerfully sublime nose of this rosé from Okanagan Falls producer Stag's Hollow offers strawberry, rose petal and light rhubarb notes with the comforting aromas of Peek Freans' Fruit Cream cookies. How can you resist that?
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Tinhorn Creek 2011 Oldfield Series 2Bench Rosé - $23
The 2011 version builds on the fruit and aromatic success of the 2010 vintage with extra attention paid to mineral aromas and flavours adding both depth and intrigue. There is a sense of place with this rosé and that is welcomed and rewarding.
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JoieFarm 2011 Rosé - $21
This rosé starts juicy, almost sweet in its concentration then reveals layers of flavours that are finished with lingering tartness. A true beginning, middle and end.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2012


  1. What's your take on the Quail's Gate 2011 Rose? Value pick?

  2. I haven't had the 2011 vintage yet. In the past I've enjoyed it, as you suggested, a good value pick. But sometimes have found it a pick tart in the balance.

    Also recommended are the blush wines from Averil Creek and River Stone, but those are a bit harder to find.

  3. Thanks so much for your reply. I am looking forward to hunting down those recommendations.