All summer I was in search of the perfect rosé. I really enjoyed the Castell-Reynoard, although at $20, price-wise it was a bit steep for everyday consumption. I tried a bunch of other rosés over the past few months, none of which merit special mention. In general, I like rosés with some oomph and personality, rather than more delicate versions, and for that reason I tend to gravitate toward Spain. These pink wines are usually made from the Garnacha grape (known as Grenache in France and the U.S.), which produces high-alcohol, fuller bodied wines. At $12.99, this Valdemar Rosé from Rioja region seemed like a good call.
I wanted to love this wine. I really did. The color is beautiful — what my mother would call “shocking pink.” The nose of rose petals, raspberries, watermelon, and cherry candy is surprisingly intense and complex for a wine at this price. But on the palate it was out of balance. The alcohol — listed at 13% but it felt much higher — was overwhelming, and there wasn’t enough acidity to balance out the wine’s unmistakable sweetness. It wasn’t cloying, exactly, but it didn’t provide the kind of refreshment that’s a hallmark of good rosé.
Kind of a bummer, but I’m trying to look on the bright side: perhaps all this sub-par stuff will make the rosés we taste in Bandol (8 days and counting!) even better. Stay tuned.