A Rosé Is Still a Rosé

For better or for worse.

I’ve got about thirty bucks’ worth of perfectly good pink wine in my fridge, and whoever claims it first gets it. I’m totally serious — my phone number is 510-879-3738; give me a call and you’re welcome to come by the Express office and pick it up. Hopefully someone out there will like it more than I did.

I tried, I swear. I genuinely wanted to like rosé, and until I actually drank some, I did like rosé. I liked the color — which, among the three bottles I tried, ranged from a deep apricot to a faint blush — and on a 65-degree night, I liked that it’s meant to be consumed cold. As a cheap drunk, I liked the fact that medium-quality rosés tend to be less expensive than other wines, and that rosés tend to be both more alcoholic than whites and easier to drink than reds. As someone who’d previously only been exposed to rosés of the boxed variety, I was genuinely willing to have my mind blown by a mid-price one. And I liked the idea of championing a maligned beverage, of turning people on to something they’d likely dismissed.

But based on my taste test, I can’t do that — not in good conscience, at least. This is through no fault of the unbelievably knowledgeable David, who helped me make my selections at Wine Mine (5427 Telegraph Ave., Oakland), nor is it really the fault of the three local-ish vintners that produced said wines, though there was certainly a range among those we tried. I swear: It’s not them, it’s me.

We started with The Frog’s Leap Grenouille Rougante (2009, $12.50). Made with Zinfandel and Valdiguié grapes and pressed in the Napa Valley, it had an apricot nose, a fruity flavor, and a slight effervescence. It was crisp and refreshing, but altogether fairly boring, and way too sweet. Already I began to suspect that I was not cut out for rosé. (My notes: “NOT INTO IT,” all caps.)

Our second wine, the Rosatello Reserve out of Morgan Hill’s Guglielmo Winery (2010, $11) — made from a rare grape, the Grignolino, which is apparently grown by only one other winery in the state — had a nose that my partner-in-crime creatively described as “a combination of maraschino cherries and nail-polish remover.” It tasted like it smelled: at once cloyingly sweet and oddly dry, with a weirdly metallic aftertaste. Neither of us finished our sample-size portions.

The best of the bunch was the Atrea Skid Rosé (2010, $15), from a vineyard in Mendocino County. It was drier and more complex than the other two, with an earthy, funky, yeasty nose; a clean finish; and an altogether deeper flavor and mouthfeel than any of the others. If I were a rosé person, I would have liked it.

But I’m not. So give me a call.


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