Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rosé Rumble

On the one hand, summer in the south is a time for BBQ. And BBQ means big flavor which convention says requires bold red wines (think Zinfandel, etc.) for pairing. On the other hand, for me and most others the summer heat and humidity of the south make a big, warm (i.e., room temp) red wine just unpleasant drinking. Because of the summer weather people typically drink a chilled white wine. The problem with this summer custom is that white wine just doesn't stand up to the bold flavors of BBQ. So we’re faced with the following frustrating and seemingly inescapable dilemma: either we eat BBQ or drink white wine. Right? Wrong—drink rosé with summer BBQ! Many rosés have just enough body to stand up to BBQ and are served chilled so it isn't unpleasant to drink in the summer. (Note: there are light red wines that are more compatible with the summer heat. If you insist on drinking one of these light red wines in the summer heat, throw it in the refrigerator for a half-hour to give it a slight chill will make it easier to drink.) Therefore I've purchased two rosé wines that are available in local Tallahassee wine merchants for under $20. Each wine was purchased at different local merchants. One good thing about rosé is that typically it isn’t as expensive as red wine. (The most expensive rosé sold at the Wine Warehouse right now is only $13!) I’ve chosen French rosés (each coincidentally from Provence) because in my experience they tend to have complexity, i.e., showing a variety of aromas and flavors. Furthermore, the French have been making these wines for decades. So the stage is set for Battle Rosé!

Here are the wines:

1. 2008 Mas de Gourgonnier Rosé (Les Baux-de-Provence, Red Blend) Purchased at
Market Square Liquor Timberlane , $17 + tax (pictured left, above)
  • Color: Scarlet. Beautiful color.
  • Nose: Cranberries, orange peel. Nice nose.
  • Taste: Cranberry, blood orange; some alcohol shows up on the finish; full-bodied rosé.
  • Taste with BBQ: Pairs well with simple dry rub on the pork & chicken, and hides some of the alcohol on the finish.
2. 2007 Atmosphere Vin de Pays du Var (Provence, Provence blend) Available at the Wine Warehouse $12 + tax (pictured right, above)
  • Color: Pastel pink.
  • Nose: watermelon (evolving into pink grapefruit over time), steely.
  • Taste: Pink grapefruit; chalky; balanced; easy drinking.
  • Taste with BBQ: quenches the heat of the chili; refreshes the mouth.
The Gourgonnier is clearly the bigger rosé of the two. Just after opening, the Atmosphere is ready to drink and is refreshing. On day 1 the Atmosphere wins Battle Rosé.

UPDATE, Day 2:
The Gourgonnie
r has lost the alcohol on the finish and really developed into a clean, focused and seamless integration of strawberry, minerals and saline. One of the best ros
és I've ever had..... Wine is a moving target!

The Atmosphere has begun to fall apart just slightly, but is still drinkable.

In round 2 the winner is clearly the Gourgonnier.

Leave a comment: what’s your favorite local pink wine that you’ve had recently?


  1. Great match up. I googled that the Gourgonnier is made from a blend of mostly Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon. I got nothing on the Atmosphere. What are the grapes used for it?

    After watching WLTV episode #673, I got the 2 Grenache Rosés GV tasted. I want to see how my palate matches up with his. I'm waiting for the bottle shock to wear off & for ep673 to fade from my memory before the showdown.

  2. Although I can't find a website for the Atmosphere, it is produced by Domaine Saint Andre de Figuiere (owner Alain Combard) in AOC Côtes de Provence, where the main grape varieties are Carignan, Cinsaut, Grenache, Mourvedre and Tibouren with the use of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah increasing.

    The website for Domaine Saint Andre de Figuiere can be found here:

  3. Hey Wine Guy,
    other than a being shill for the Wine Warehouse what are your credentials?

    ps The Atmosphere Rose is an '07 and gourgonnier '08. I prefer my rose to be a bit fresher than dated, close-out vintages.

  4. Ha-Ha. I've only made 2 posts--don't know how you can infer that I'm secretly promoting Wine Warehouse (WW). I've bought plenty of wines from WW that I didn't like. (Note: in my first post I described the wines at the WW tasting as ranging from “average”, i.e., 70-80, to “above average”, i.e., 80-85. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.) There will be non-WW-related posts coming soon--I'm going to try to make it to the New Leaf tasting this Friday. Hope to see you there.

    Like many people in wine (food, music, business, technology, etc.) I'm self taught. I've been an enthusiast for over a decade studying the main resource books, doing wine travel, and tasting as many different types of wines as possible to expand and train my palate. If I think it will be useful, I'll enroll in the Wine Spectator Course being offered at the Wine Loft (when it opens).

  5. For 12 bones, The Atmosphere may be worth getting just to add the Tibouren grape to my tasted list.

  6. mrzitro, I'd recommend both...for different occasions. The Atmosphere is lighter and refreshing--perfect for summer quaffing. The Gourgonnier is really an amazing rose, if you give it a day (see update, above).

    Let me know what you think if you get a chance to taste either.

  7. Thanks for featuring roses. Absolutely the most delightful summer beverage. And, in fact, I drink roses most of the year. I also love the Atmosphere rose for its remarkable value and clean, crisp taste.