The kosher roses – so far – of 2017

It is almost Shavuoth, which means it is almost Summer, so that means it is Rose time! Rose wine in the non-kosher market is exploding – especially Rose wine from Provence; a wine region of France. Sadly, in the kosher wine market – that is not quite the case. I did not stress my previous statement with a suffix of AT ALL, even though I am not allowed to open a bottle of rose on my Shabbos table with guests – why? Well, that is simple – no one will drink it!!

Even worse, is that wine manufacturers may well have jumped the shark! There will be some 50 dry-ish kosher roses available in the USA this year! That may not sound like a lot, but when all you had was Herzog White Zinfandel 10 years ago – it is insane. The first high-end rose was Castel’s 2009 rose and that was only 7 years ago. Back then, there were few to no real Rose wine options, other than a handful of Israeli wines and almost no French Rose made it here. Now we will have tons of Rose, and I really think the real question here is will people drink it?

Wine Color

What is a rose wine? Well, simply said, a rose is a wine that can best be defined as the wine world’s chameleon. Where white wine is a pretty simple concept – take white grapes squeeze them and out comes clear to green colored juice. Yes, white grape juice is clear – well so is red grape juice, but more on that in a bit.

White wine is not about color – almost all color in a white wine comes from some oak influence of some sort. So, an unoaked Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris can sometimes look almost clear, depending on the region and how the wine was handled. Now oaked Chardonnay, of course, is what most people use as an example of a dark white wine. As the Wine Folly linked above states, different wine regions oak their Chardonnay differently and as such, they are sold with different hues from the start. With age, the wine changes color and the light gold moves to darker gold shades.

The only real exception to the stated rule above – that white grape juice without the influence of oak is somewhere in the clear to green color spectrum, is – orange wines. We have spoken about orange wines – mostly thanks to Yaacov Oryah. Outside of Yaacov’s work there really is no orange wine in the kosher world to speak about. Orange wine is made exactly like red wine, which means that the clear grape juice is left to sit on the yellowish to dark yellow grape skins (depending upon what varietal is used to make the orange wine).

Red wine juice – straight from the grape comes out the same color as white grapes. You see the juice from grapes is mostly clear to greenish in color. The red wine color comes from macerating the juice on the grape skins. The longer the juice sits on the grape skins (wine must) the redder in color the wine becomes until it reaches its maximum red color potential.

The only real exception to the rule of a grape’s juice color are the Teinturier varieties. The grapes are called Teinturier, a French language term meaning to dye or stain. The list of grapes whose juice is actually red are long – but the list of kosher wine options that is a wine made from these grapes – is the Herzog Alicante Bouschet. The Gamay de Bouze is not a normal Gamay grape, it is one of those grape mutations that are very red in nature.

Rose wines are the in between story – hence the chameleon term I used above.

Rose Wine

Rose wine is made in one of three ways. I will list the most dominant manners and leave the last one for last.

Maceration:

This is the first step of the first two options and the only difference is what you do with the rest of juice after you remove it? You see, as we stated above, the color of the juice from red grapes is clear to green and for one to get the lovely red hues we all love from red wine, it requires the juice to lie on the grape skins – AKA maceration.

The rose hue depends on how long the juice macerates. I have heard winemakers say 20 minutes gives them the color they like, and some say almost half a day or longer. The longer the juice macerates the darker the color. While the wine is macerating, the skins are contributing color by leaching phenolics – such as anthocyanins and tannins, and flavor components. The other important characteristic that the skins leach into the rose is – antioxidants that protect the wine from degrading. Sadly, because rose wines macerate for such a short period of time, the color and flavor components are less stable and as such, they lack shelf life – a VERY IMPORTANT fact we will talk about later. Either way, drinking rose wine early – like within the year – is a great approach for enjoying rose wine at its best!

Now once you remove the liquid, after letting it macerate for the desired length of time, the skins that are left are thrown out or placed in the field to feed organic material into the vines. This is a very expensive approach indeed because the grapes are being thrown away, instead of doing the Saignée process which is described in option #2. This approach is mostly used in regions where rose wine is as important as red wines, like Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon. Mind you, the grapes used in this method are most often picked early, as they are being solely used for making the rose.

Saignée:

The second approach for how Rose wine is made, is essentially the same as maceration – the only difference is that they do not remove all the juice. In the second method for making Rose wine, the Rose is the afterthought – in DRASTIC contrast to the first approach, where the rose is primary.

So in places like California and Rhone in France, winemakers will pick the grapes when they reach their appropriate phenolics. Then to concentrate the wine, the winemaker will bleed some of the juice – hence the term Saignée in French which means bleed. By removing this juice, after the juice has macerated long enough, the resulting wine is further intensified, because there is less juice lying on the same amount of grape skin surface.

The interesting thing here is that the grapes used to make this kind of rose are normally one with higher Brix, as the grapes are destined for red wine. So, when you bleed the juice out of the must, what is being pulled out is juice at a higher alcohol level than Rose wines made using the first method. So what do you do when you have a wine that is too high in alcohol so early in the game – well that is simple you water it down! Now remember this wine is already low on phenolics and color, so if you know that your rose will be high in alcohol when all is said and done, you have lots of options here. You can leave the juice to macerate for longer, yes the juice you finally pull out may well be darker than you desire. However, you will be watering it down, so it is all a question of numbers and winemakers who make these kinds of wines, are used to it and know how to handle it.

Now you ask what is wrong with high alcohol rose? Well, a rose is normally meant to be light and fruity wine, and higher alcohol wines are neither of those things.

Blending Method:

Finally, what do you get when you mix some white wine with some red wine – a rose by George a rose! This last method is the least common method for creating still rose wines. That said, it is very common in the world of Champagne and sparkling wines. Next time you enjoy sparkling rose wine, you can almost be sure that it is a blend of Chardonnay (white wine) and either Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier (red wine).

As stated before, in the pure rose still wine market, there really is very little of this kind of rose being made.

State of kosher rose wines

Types of Rose made:

  1. Red Rose wines: There are truly few examples of this, but they have been made and they are not a rose wine. They are billed as a rose at times, but t, me they are essentially a light red wine, much like a Gamay
  2. Sweet Rose wines: Sweet wines are created because either the winemaker could not get the wine to completely finish primary fermentation or because they stopped it. Sweet rose wines sometimes lack balance because they lack the screaming acid needed to make it all work. That said, sweeter rose wines are the gateway wines to get people to try drier wines. The best of the sweet wines IMHO are the 2016 Tura semi-sweet Rose and the 2016 Dalton Unoaked rose.
  3. Dry rose wines: Dry is not a subjective concept it is measurable in a lab and can be tasted as well. That said, what we as humans can perceive does seem to be subjective. Some of us will think a Sauvignon Blanc is sweet unless it is a Sancerre – you know who you are JR! Dr. Vinny was asked this question here, and essentially we can start perceiving sweetness at 0.5% residual sugar, but as the Doc says, sometimes a bone dry wine can be perceived as sweet because of its ripeness and/or lack of balancing acidity.
  4. Dark rose wines: Color in any rose or red wine is defined by the amount of maceration the wine goes through, as described above. Some people like that salmon color and some like that darker rose color. The 2016 Tabor Rose is a dark rose – but it is nice QPR wine indeed. There are so many colors in the rose spectrum, and no, the darker roses are not based on what grape is used in the making of the wine, unless it is based on a Teinturier grape – which I have yet to see.

So where does that leave us? To recap IMHO, rose wine is meant to be light, refreshing, tart, and low in alcohol. It can have a varying rose hue, from Gris (gray in French – light color) to Salmon, to rose, and all the way up to dark red. Yes, there have been wineries who tried making heavier rose wines, that were essentially red wines, whom I will not mention and they have all been epic disasters. If you want a red wine – make a Gamay and leave me alone! Rose is about summer, tart and refreshing wine.

White and Rose wine education

Royal Wines has done a great job in bringing these two wines in, but I must stress – we need more education! Any wine distributor today can sell a Cabernet Sauvignon in its sleep! Why? Because the kosher wine drinking public is programmed to drink big bold red wines! Nothing light and lithe, only sledgehammers! Now, who am I to disagree with what someone likes – if you like a wine enjoy it! What I would like to see is people finding a way to expand their palate – by doing so they will learn more about wines and maybe they will actually see why they like and dislike a wine more – education is the answer! Now to those who say – why bother, if they like it let them enjoy it? To that answer I say – sure, when u were three years old you liked mud, and you really liked spreading it all over your sister’s new white dress! Should we have let you enjoy it forever?? Of course not!

Now your reply will be – come on we are talking about wine – not personal growth and their humanity! Of course but like everything in this world – we should want to strive and learn more about what makes us happy and why! If you like a Monet painting – you owe it to yourself to learn why? What grabs you when you see 100+-year-old paint on a canvas? So what he painted a haystack – good for him? What makes you want to stare at it for hours? The answer is inside of you – and you need to learn the answer. I hope we can all find the answers about what makes us tick, why we all love some things and why we hate other things. That is called human evolution – it makes us what we are – human! Anyway, I am off my soapbox now, but I hope we can agree that growth is good – no matter the subject.

I beg distributors and wineries to get out and teach! Get out and go to wine stores and pour wines – pour wine to anyone that wants to taste or even to those that do not! Education is the foundation of this industry – and without it, we are doomed to stasis – something that terrifies me!

Temperature to enjoy Rose

Please do yourself a favor and enjoy rose wine at 60 degrees. Meaning if you leave a bottle of wine in your refrigerator and pull it out after half a day of fridge time or more, it will probably be at the refrigerator’s frigid temperature of 37 or so degrees Farenight – which is HORRIBLE for rose. Rose at room temperature of 70 or so degrees is also not fun. It needs to be a bit cold, but not over the top. Please do not think that it needs to be iced down in an ice bucket either, that is for sparkling wines.

Drink the rose before the end of the meal

Rose is NOT a long term drinking animal. It is not meant to be enjoyed for more than a meal. Why? Because as we explained above once it is fully oxygenated, it will go bad – really bad fast. The tart fruit notes and the acid will dissipate faster than air leaves a punctured tire. It is simply the life of Rose, drink it very young and fast. Never stock up on Rose, there is no purpose in that! Go to the store and buy a rose and drink it, if they have none, then no worries drink something else.

White and Rose wine drinking in the kosher wine world

I find that white and rose wines just do not sell to the kosher market. Sadly, they do not see the joy that I and much of Israel now sees. Six years ago, if you had said that Israel would be making epic white and rose wines and not so many great reds, wine aficionados would have looked at you askance. Well, that is exactly where we are today! Much of what Israel makes in the red wine world, is not very good, especially from the larger wineries. There are the usual suspects that are continuing to impress vintage after vintage, but the vast majority have sold out to the sweet-toothed date drinkers. However, they are creating wonderful white and rose wines! What is more – is that they are selling much of it in ISRAEL! Yes, that is right, Israelis are drinking far more white and rose wine than ever and the craze we are seeing here in the non-kosher world for Rose is happening in the kosher world in Israel!

Sadly, that craze has yet to find its way here. As I stated at the start, I have rose and whites, and I can never open them over Shabbos unless I am alone. If I open one I would need to drink the bottle on my own, as few in my community drink white wines. The exception is Four Gates Chardonnay, which to be fair is a great wine and it is so rich and intoxicating that it appeals to red wine drinkers.

I really hope that articles like this can start to pique people’s interest. Rose and tart refreshing white wines have so much to offer. They are meant to lithe and refreshing, but also complex and unique. They go well with so many great summer foods and yet, when summer comes around folks just continue drinking heavy reds or beer. Now, I like beer like most people, but between a lovely rose or beer, I choose rose!

State of affairs with rose 2017

So where are we in 2017 with Rose wines? Well, as I stated kosher wine manufacturers may well have jumped the shark. Why? Because there are MANY wine shops, even on the hallowed grounds of NYC, that still have Rose wines on their shelves, from the 2015 vintage, and even older lying around. Why is that a problem? As stated above, Rose wines are NOT meant for aging. Rose wines should NEVER be sold after their drink by date, which is the summer after the wine’s vintage. So, 2016 wines should be sold out by the summer of 2017 – simple! Sadly, I still see 2015 wines being sold all around, with so much 2016 coming in for sale, I honestly think next year will be a disaster! There is simply too much older rose lying around and too much new 2016 Rose wines coming in. What that will mean is someone is going to eat a lot of rose wines, or they will push them on to the unsuspecting public, who really does not understand roses at all.

I BEG the manufacturers to work with the stores and merchants to eat the 2015 wines, one way or the other, and get them OFF the shelves. Please DO NOT attempt to put them on sale, they are not wines that should be pushed to consumers, as it only ends up hurting the wineries and the companies selling them. Please remove them and figure out how to handle the loss. No one will be drinking Rose wines for Rosh Hashanah. That means there is a LOT of wine to sell in a very short period of time – PLEASE help yourselves – start selling the 2016 wines already and walk away from the 2015 wines!

Now, the title of this blog post says it all – it is almost June and most of the kosher rose wines that will be sold this year, are still not on the market! Where are they? Why are they not available? No idea! Hence my “so far” line in the title. There are still many rose wines I have not tasted at all. I hope that will change ASAP! Summer is here, where are the rose wines?

Best rose so far in 2017

In closing, most of these wines were tasted blind, some were tasted many times, and sadly, we do not yet have a great set of rose wines. in the end, I have yet to taste a rose this year that tasted as good as the 2015 Chateau Roubine tasted last year. Maybe we will be blessed with a great one – but as I have already bemoaned it is June – these wines should all be here already and I should be able to taste them all! So far, this is my list of the winners so far: Ramon Cardova Rose, Kos Yeshuos Rose (not publically available), Netofa Rose, Domaine du Castel Rose, Vitkin Rose, Chateau Dubois Rose, Recanati Gris de Marselan, Chateau Roubine, Chateau Laurier Rothschild Rose, Tabor Adama Rose, Covenant Red C Rose, Dalton Rose.

The wine notes of the wines I enjoyed can be found below:

2010 Yarden Rose, Brut – Score: A- to A
I have just stated above that rose wine should never be aged, but this is different, this is sparkling wine and it ages beautifully. This wine is still very young with an impressively aggressive mouth and mousse, it needs time to calm down and integrate, maybe best in a year or two. The nose on this lovely dark salmon colored wine is lovely and restrained with flint, dirt, smoke, and ripe quince. The mouth is intoxicating and demands your attention, the mousse attack is crazy, the small bubbles are lovely and well balanced with intense searing acid, that flows into cherry, raspberry, lovely gooseberry, pink grapefruit, and lovely spice. The finish is long with brioche, yeast, with more mousse attack, mineral, and sweet spices lingering long. BRAVO! Best from 2018 to 2024.

Psagot Rose so far this year – I have tasted it three times and I have had bottle variation. This is not only my opinion, others have seen it as well – I am not sure what is going on here.

2016 Psagot Rose – Score: A- (QPR)
Lovely nose with a great focus of spice and good raspberry, strawberry, and lovely grapefruit. Wow mouth, really impressive, super focused with crazy acid and spice, classy with orange and nectarines in the background, with good currant and white pepper in the foreground, with great focus and lovely cloves with tart fruit, pith, and red tea.

2016 Psagot Rose – Score: B to B+
We tasted this blind and when we saw what it was – we were shocked, as we had tasted this wine a few weeks earlier and it was lovely (note is above), clearly there is some bottle variation going on. The nose on this wine is nice with strawberry and mineral and not much else. The mouth is more focused, with a good pop, nice acid, good enough body to match, but lacking a balance, crazy manufactured rose, with so much acid and not much else. With raspberry and strawberry coulis.

2016 Tabor Rose Adama – Score: B+ to A- (QPR)
I need to stress something about this wine, it is NOT a wine that will have a long life. This wine dropped out after a few hours of being open, which we did when tasting it blind. This wine is super fragile, and I doubt it will last the summer.
The nose on this wine is a cotton candy madness, with a very fruity madness, lots of candied fruit, bubble gum, with mint, nectarine, and sugar-coated candied raspberry. The mouth is rich, layered, and really focused, showing good acid, intense fruit attack with lovely grapefruit, guava, lychee, candied kiwi, and intense mineral, slate, spice, crazy saline, and lovely long finish.

2016 Bat Shlomo Rose – Score: B to B+
The nose is really muted, not really alive, with some red fruit, and apples. The mouth is round and juicy, with nice tart fruit, really acidic and focused but with little to no fruit, with a bit of kiwi, and grapefruit. The finish is long and tart. The wine lacks complexity, the mouth is almost hollow, with bombastic acid, it is all acid and not much more.

2016 Dalton Rose – Score: B+ to A- (QPR)
This is their driest and best rose Dalton has released so far. The nose on this wine is a nice slightly sweet nose, with raspberry coulis, strawberry, and cream, with nice spice, cinnamon, earth, and floral. The mouth is nice and round, good acid, good red licorice, with great grapefruit, yellow citrus, cloves, crazy acid focus, well balanced, fun, easy drinking, with pith, spice, mineral, saline, tart red fruit lingering long.

2016 Chateau L’Oasis Rose, Cotes de Provence – Score: B to B+
Lovely green, earth, mineral nose, with great saline, lime, lemongrass, and citrus city. The mouth is lovely, medium body, but lacks the pop that I crave, it has basic acid, but not enough focus. The finish is long with pith, and mineral lingering long.

2016 Chateau Roubine Rose – Score: B+ to A-
OK, before the hate mail starts coming, this is a nice rose, but it pales in comparison to the 2015 vintage. Actually, having tasted most of the kosher rose out there this year, the 2015 Chateau Roubine has yet to be eclipsed this year. So, does that make this a bad wine, no? It simply makes it a wine that I will buy again, but one that is not as good as last year.

The nose starts off with all the right things, sick mineral, saline, saline, lovely gooseberry and great strawberry. The mouth is where things go astray, the wine is nice, but it lacks that focused acid, it has more weight than in 2015, showing more like an Israeli rose than a Provence rose, with good peach and pink grapefruit, good orange pith and nice spice. The finish is long and spicy with more mineral, tart strawberry, pith, and cloves lingering long.

2016 Covenant Red C Rose – Score: B+ to A-
Sadly, this time the RS (residual sugar) really bugged me, and it did not score as well. The nose on this wine is filled with strawberry heaven, with bright fruit, ripe grapefruit, heady lemongrass, and rich cloves. The mouth is lovely with good acid, but RS that bugs me too much this time, with great spice, rich lemon, and great citrus, giving way to ripe red fruit, life saver raspberry, with sweet notes of honeysuckle that is balanced by good acid and spice. Long, spicy, and tart finish with crazy tart citrus, nice citrus pith, sweet notes abound and lack that balance I had a month or two ago.

2016 Chateau Bellerives Dubois Rose Score: A- (Crazy QPR) (mevushal)
This nose is very nice, with pure gooseberry and kiwi heaven, guava, strawberry, and crazy fruit, with lovely mineral, and herb. The mouth is awesome, truly rich, layered, and controlled, with layers of dirt, saline, acid, and good fruit, like a sauvignon blanc but in a rose format. Awesome finish wit a crazy acid lingering, with good mineral, slate, and great tart fruit lingering long. Nice!

2016 Chateau Laurier Rothschild Rose: Score: B+ to A- (QPR)
Very interesting nose, crazy flint, tobacco, crazy smoke/charcoal, with hints of red berry, and lots of green notes, and herb. Wow, what a mouth, crazy acid, insane mineral, saline, nice flint, with rich grapefruit, currant, almost tannin like, dark cherry, almost like someone dropped a bit of red wine into this wine, with lovely balance, bracing acid, gripping, and enjoyable. Lovely pith lingers, with solid mineral, and some fruit.

2016 Ramon Cardova Rose: Score: A- (GREAT QPR)
Another reserved nose, but nice, with white pepper, floral notes, mounds of marzipan, showing flint, mineral, candied fruit, life saver, very nice. Good mouth, really nice, acid bound, not crazy, but very respectable, with perfect balance, lovely citrus, grapefruit, pineapple, nectarine, with good guava, tangerine, really nice, with good mineral, earth, good charcoal, flint, and currant, with pith lingering long.

2016 Borgo Reale Rose: Score: B+ (mevushal)
The nose is interesting, showing hand lemon soap, with candied lemon pie. The mouth on this wine is rich, layered, with lots of body, no huge pop of acid, but balanced, with good fruit focus, of strawberry, dirt, floral notes, good drinking and enjoyable wine, with nice grapefruit, candied red berry, with good fruit pith, gooseberry, and vanilla. The finish is long and tart, sweet, but balanced.

2016 Twin Suns Rose – Score: B (mevushal)
This is a red wine that is watered down, that is the best I can say. The mouth on this wine is manufactured, sorry, not for me. The acid is so over the top, with no balance to the fruit.

2016 Kos Yeshuos Rose: A- (Not publically available)
This vintage is very nice, but not akin to the epic 2015 vintage. Lovely nose, really ripe fruit, marzipan, flint, mineral, good earth, currant, and dried peach. Bravo! The mouth is balanced, nice, earthy, controlled, richer bodied, and nice ripping acid, with pineapple, lovely dried currant, intense fruit pith, drenched in tart cherry, with more lovely tart summer fruit. The finish is long and mineral-bound, saline, and lovely tart fruit lingering.

2016 Domaine du Castel Rose: Score: A-
This wine is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20% Malbec, and 20% Cabernet Franc. The nose is
lovely with lychee, guava, gooseberry, mounds of floral notes, with dirt, mineral city, slate. The mouth on this wine is layered, controlled, with good focus, not over the top, but really good acid that is popping, easy drinking, and it can go with lots of food from its fruit structure, lots of sauvignon blanc stylings, with vanilla, and strawberry, followed by earth, and mounds of pith. Bravo!! Fruit pith and acid lingering long.

2016 Dalton Alma Rose, Coral: Score: B
Lovely nose, sweet dill, lots of oak (not fun on rose), with mounds of vanilla, and good earth. The mouth is nice, but the oak overpowers, with good acid, with some fruit. People may like this, but not me. Unbalanced.

2016 Vitkin Rose – Score: A- (QPR)
This wine is a blend of Grenache Noir and Carignan. The nose on this wine is lovely,
very flinty, earthy, rich with strawberry, floral notes galore, peach, and lychee. The mouth is lovely, with crazy mineral, slate, saline, lovely acid, rich earthy, lovely tart gooseberry, with ripe fruit, but perfect control, lovely, showing peach, currant, nice rich slate, rock, with good flint and lovely kiwi, gooseberry, and grapefruit. Bravo!!! An elegant wine.

2016 Flam Rose – Score: B+
This wine is a blend of mostly Cabernet Franc with some Syrah. The nose on this wine starts with lovely strawberry, ripe raspberry, with gooseberry, and nice spice. The mouth on this wine is round, with good spice, but it lacks the needed acid to make the wine work, along with candied currant, dried quince, and peach. The finish is long and spicy with herb, orange pith, and Orangina.

Available only in Israel

2016 Recanati Gris de Marselan – Score: B+ to A-
Lovely rose hips, orange blossom, really nice with great tart fruit and gooseberry and grapefruit. Nice medium wine, but lacking the bracing acid, with good spice and lemon, with pepper and tart spicy notes, passion fruit and guava. Nice long finish with good acid and slate galore.

2016 Domaine Netofa Rose – Score: A- (Great QPR)
This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre. Yes, this is the new Grenache that came online this year, and I really hope it helps the Rose last longer.
The nose on this lovely Gris wine, s redolent with strawberry, crazy raspberry, peach, apricot, showing crazy bright notes, lovely floral notes, spice, with lavender, smoke, rose and flint. Wow, what a joy of a mouth, the medium bodied wine is popping with acid, with rich dried aromas, lovely currants, tart summer fruits, showing dried lychee, gooseberry that goes on and on, with pink grapefruit, and lovely tart juicy fruit. The finish is long and crazy tart, with rich flint and chalk. Lovely fruit pith. Bravo!!!

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Posted on May 29, 2017, in Israeli Wine, Kosher Rose Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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