Wine & Spirits

By Stef Schwalb

When it comes to rosés, prices can run the gamut from expensive to affordable and taste profiles can range from sweet to dry, light to full, and super fruity to mild fruit sensations. For the sake of readers planning a Valentine’s Day dinner accompanied by a delicious rosé, I took on the daunting task of sampling every modestly priced rosé on the shelves at Trader Joe’s. The 12 bottles I tried are priced from 5.99 to 11.99 a bottle (and no, I did not share nearly enough). My wine philosophy is simple: I like wine that tastes good without breaking the bank. And right now, I am in the mindset of being the Goldilocks of wine. To my mind reds can be a bit too serious and heavy for this special day (and red-stained teeth aren’t especially romantic), and I find white wine too light and summery this time of year. But a rosé? It’s just right.

Out of the twelve bottles, there were five definite duds, two maybes, and five I’d be happy to drink plenty more of. At the higher end of the price range, I especially enjoyed Charles de Fere Rosé and Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé. At the lower end, Goats do Roam Rosé and Le Rosé de Mouton Cadet from Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. were the highlights. Charles de Fere Rosé is a sparkling French wine from the Champagne region made from a blend of Groslot, Cot and Cabernet Franc with a nose that’s described as “fresh and fruity, appealing and seductive with a long, crisp and refreshing finish.” It is recommended as an aperitif. Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé from Burgundy is a Pinot Noir-based, medium to full-bodied sparkling wine with strawberry, raspberry, cherry and toasty bread notes. It’s noted that it pairs well with baked salmon marinated in ginger and soy. I found it was fine with chocolate-covered caramel popcorn as well. Goats do Roam Rosé from South Africa is a still wine described as “slightly sweet and fruit-driven, finishing on an intense yet refreshing note and surprisingly complex with a lingering aftertaste.” Another French wine, Le Rosé de Mouton Cadet is from Bordeaux. This full-bodied, dry still wine features aromas of morello cherry, crushed strawberry, red currant and a hint of acacia blossom. It pairs well with fish or chicken. Finally, with dessert or cheese I’d recommend Batasiolo Moscato Rosé Dolce, a very sweet wine from the Piemonte region of Italy. If you plan a multi-course Valentine’s dinner with a different wine for each course, it will help ensure a holiday that blooms with rosés—and in this case, all at an affordable price point.

Available at Trader Joe’s – for locations.

Originally published February 2012
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