Rosés With a Sip of Intrigue

When you think of rosé, your first thought is probably light pink drink. It turns out rosés have a lot more mystery than even we expected.

When you think of rosé, you probably imagine a salmon-hued glass of refreshing, acidic wine, meant for sunny beach days or with a hot dog at your backyard BBQ. It turns out that rosé is more complex than this.

Enter the darker hued rosés.

These rosés can vary considerably in color – from a much darker pink to decidedly ruby color. However, what the darker color does not mean is that these wines are at all rich or full bodied. They might certainly have more structure than the vins de soif that most people are used to. But many feature the signature acidity, reduced tannins and mouthwatering fruit that define our expectations of a rosé.

This week we drank three of these darker hued delights and discovered just how much these wines showcased the endless versatility of this style of wine. We are true believers that every season can (and should) be rosé season. And we hope you will soon believe the same thing.

Susucaru 2018

Frank Cornelissen – Susucaru Rosato 2018

We wanted to start with Susucaru because it’s likely the one that you’ve heard of and tasted if you’ve followed natural wine over the last few years. Allocations tend to fly off shelves, with people venturing from Jersey or Long Island to pick up multiple bottles. And it’s hard not to see why people go crazy for it: it’s 100% clean glou glou that can appeal to just about anyone.

At 11.5%, it is the on the lighter end of the spectrum. Cornelissen, who manages vineyards quite high on the slopes of Mount Etna, infuses his rosé with an unmistakable floral nose and delicately soft textural quality upfront. This is nicely balanced with bursts of tart cherries and an integrated acidity in the mid palette. Perhaps the best quality of this wine is that avoids becoming too ethereal by grounding itself in slightly toothsome herbal tannins on the finish. It’s perfect for a late season BBQ or with a generous charcuterie plate.

Minimus 2018

Nicolas Carmarans – Minimus 2018

Next up is Nicolas Carmarans’ Minimus, a 2018 rosé from Aveyron in Southern France. Like Susucaru, his rosé is a remarkably clean wine that holds up well with both generous and light chills, making it versatile for a number of occasions and cuisines into the fall season. This vintage is particularly fresh, with brambly blackberries and other darker fruits intermingling with green pepper notes to zesty effect throughout a glass.

Though it features the same 11.5% ABV as Susucaru, this is a much more structured wine, though not in terms of tannins. Instead, Carmarans manages to balance a high toned acidity with a laser focused mineral depth to create a rosé that has broader elegance than you might typically expect. (Or you know you needed!) Without much in the way of tannins, this is very drinkable, making it difficult to share. As such, we know it would be perfect with just you, a glass and your next Netflix binge session.

Levat 2018

Ad Vinum – Levat 2017

Last, but certainly not least, is Ad Vinum’s Levat rosé, again from Southern France in Gard. This is by far the darkest of the rosés we tasted, with an impenetrable ruby red color that nods to Grenache and Cinsault being used. This wine is also significantly higher in ABV at 14%, which might make you wonder: why is this a rosé at all?

When you take a sip for the first time, you understand.

This wine has notes of overripe and dried red fruits in the beginning but the richness upfront is quickly counterbalanced by a dense acidity and fluttering notes of orange zest. All of these dance between fruit and acid is anchored by gentle tannins into a contemplative, long finish. This is a complex wine that thrills with each sip. The more it opens up, the more its driving power is apparent. Even if it is a brawny wine, tannins never overwhelm its movement, owing to the addition of white grapes and their vital lift that is common in Tavel-style rosés.

We wouldn’t recommend bringing this to a BBQ but it would be perfect for heartier winter fare and some cellar aging.

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