This annual tradition is one of the highlights of spring when previous vintages rose wines hit markets.
Of the 80 wines provided (18 sparkling, and 62 still) there were samples from Washington State, Ontario, Provence, Languedoc, Bordeaux, Rhone Valley, Rioja, and Penedes.
Rose wines come in three variations – pelure doignon, rose, and rose de seigne.
Pelure d’oignon are almost white in colour, roses may be pink, salmon coloured or a shade darker, and rose de seigne are siphoned off from a fermenting red wine to concentrate the red wine’s colour. Seigne roses are the darkest and most intense of all.
Rose wines are most popular in warm climate regions, and in cooler climes people cherish them, starting spring well into autumn.
Only 40 years ago rose wines were considered to be for beginners only, and they were off dry verging on sweet and syrupy to satisfy young and inexperienced palates.
Now, many wineries produce subtle, elegant and refined dry to off dry roses that are refreshing, invigorating and elegant to please the palates of connoisseurs.
Of all the sparkling roses, my favourite was Piper Heidsieck from Champagne.
In the still category several roses captured my imagination, particularly those made using cabernet franc ad pinot noir.
Roses do not age well, and should be consumed within one year of the vintage, and in rare cases two.
Here is a list of wines that pleased my palate:
Brut Rose, Piper Heidsieck, Champagne
Scarlet red. Expressive fruity notes – blackcurrant, blackberry, cherry, strawberry and blood orange.
Lively, brisk mouth feel and refreshing.
Brachetto d’Aqui, Viticoltori Aquesi, Italy
A soft pale pink. Bouquet of summer fruits, cassis and redcurrant underlined by rose scents.
Refreshing mouth feel. Fine effervescence. Well balanced with a long finish
Cuvee Rose, 13th Street Winery, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Strawberry jam aromas burst out of the glass. Refreshing, light and elegant.
Beaurevoir Tavel, 2014, M. Chapoutier, Rhone Valley, France
Dark brilliant pink. Pronounced aromas of strawberries, and cherries waft out of the glass. Balanced, vivid fruit flavours on teh palate. Elegant and refined with a long aftertaste.
Rose, 2014, Faustino IV, Rioja, Spain
Red berry, apple and rose petal aromas dominate the nose. Layered flavours in the mouth. Well extracted. A substantial rose to enjoy with pizzas, pastas, tapas, sandwiches and sautéed chicken.
Akakies, 2014, Kir-Yanni, Greece
Pale cherry colour with violet nuances. Intense cherry aromas. Refreshing mouth feel, well balanced, with a long finish.
Rose, 2014, Charles and Charles, Washington State U.S.A.
A blend of syrah, mourvedre, grenache, cunoise, and cabernet sauvignon.
Dark salmon colour. Floral and fruity underlined with red fruit aromas and citrus zest.
Clean and balanced mouth feel. Powerful. Well extracted. Enjoy with hearty foods (cold cuts, pizzas, veal sandwiches, and pastas.
Rose, 2013, Pillitteri Estates Winery, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
Brilliant pink. Aromas of wild strawberries, rhubarb, fresh thyme, read apples, and ruby grapefruit dominate. Well balanced, refreshing and invigorating.
Bececca Rose, 2014, Kacaba, Niagara Peninsula Ontario, Canada
Aromas of blackberries, cherries and wild strawberries burst out of the glass.
Soft and round plate. Balanced. Long finish.
Sketches Rose, 2014, Tawse, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
Elegant rosewood colour. Cherry aromas underlined with strawberry and raspberry.
Fresh, juicy, mouth fell with lingering and refresh Gina acidity.
Rose, 2014, Pondview Winery, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
Light pink colour. Intense fruit aromas of strawberries, cherries, and raspberries dominate the nose. Fresh, generous, well balanced with an off dry zesty finish.
Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rose, 2014, Southbrook Winery, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
Brilliant salmon pink colour. Beautiful aromas of raspberries, rhubarbs and herbs with a rich palate full of tropical fruits and lip smacking crispness. Superlong finish.