Friday, May 15, 2009

Rosé, Rose B

It's an odd day here. Been inside most of the time but had to pop out around lunchtime on an errand. It's quite bright and everywhere is so incredibly green at the moment. It would have been a perfect day to sit outside tasting a couple of 2008 rosé wines that have recently arrived, but for the fact that its drizzling and a bit cold. So I'm indoors sipping the Raimat Abadia Cab Sauv/Tempranillo, Costers del Segre (£6.99) from Spain and the Explorers Vineyard Marlborough Rosé (£6.49 The Co-op) from New Zealand with the central heating on.

The Kiwi pink would be outlawed in much of Europe, since it's mostly Riesling with a splash of Merlot to give it colour - most European rosés have to be made exclusively from red grapes, although I've never heard a satisfactory explanation as to why this should be. It's gentle and juicy, just a shade off-dry and reminds me of my mum's apple and raspberry pie. Good picnic fodder, and ideal for those looking to wean themselves (or their chums) off White Zin.

As for the Raimat, I confess I've had a problem with their wines in the past. They've been correct, but have seldom shown anything beyond the merest hint of a Spanish accent. I visited the hi-tech estate a few years ago, and remember telling the winemaker that while there was nothing wrong with his wines, I thought that the typical Portuguese wine showed more of a sense of place. Unfortunately, this was mis-translated as, 'Your wines are not as good as Portuguese wines,' causing the winemaker to throw a hissy fit and storm out of the room. Thankfully there was someone on hand to calm the situation down and provide a more accurate version of what I'd said. Anyway, back to the wine. I can't remember the last vintage of this I tried, but this is pretty nice. It's richer than the Explorers, with generous plummy fruit and some red berry character chucked in for good measure. Drink the Explorers while watching the cricket, save the Raimat for Sunday lunch with Spring lamb.


Warren EDWARDES said...

I think you'll find more and more Spanish wines are going for "international" grapes and styles even (especially?) for the nuevo rico domestic trend following market. Shame.

As for Rosé if Pink Champagne can have red and white wines blended then that should be goo enough for all.

Ken Sternberg said...

Ah, the dreaded or sought after (take your pick) "international style." Your post pretty much nails it in terms of winemakers who love making wines that taste delicious vs: those boatloads of technically correct wines that almost, kind of, nearly get it right. The only thing missing from such wines are any enjoyable qualities.

I prefer wines made by honest, passionate winemakers willing to push the envelope over international style. Randall Graham comes to mind, among others.

Simon said...

Hi Warren, how was the op? It's funny how Spain at the moment is both embracing the international grapes and also rediscovering some of it's native treasures like Godello, Mencia and Bobal. Fully with you on the rosé front.

And hi Ken, the international style has it's pros and cons. I hate the idea of wines all speaking the same language, but sometimes the only way of getting someone to try a Portuguese Touriga Nacional is via a Portuguese Shiraz.

Andrew Halliwell said...

Hi Simon - If you went to Raimat a few years ago you will find that the winemaking team has changed, since Arthur O'Connor (ex Bonny Doon, Great Western etc.) took over as Director of Winemaking of Codorniu. The man in charge of Raimat for the last 2 years is Western Australian, Mark Nairn. I worked there for a couple of years and it's true that the style reference is pretty international. But the "Abadia" blend is pretty Spanish, with Tempranillo, Cab and Merlot. the sort of blend you could easily find in Navarra. Raimat also do a pure Albarino (the only Spanish one I know of outside Galicia), but yes they are pretty international. But for me that's a good thing. Living in Spain, I am bored of not being able to buy "international" wine and if a few standard bearers such as Raimat, Vinas del Vero, Enate, Enrique Mendoza etc. are offering up some decent oaked chardonnay at, say, 8 euros, I'm happy to buy it. From the perspective of someone living in England, I agree that some people might wish Spain would just do "Spanish" wines and leave the International style to the New World, but over here it's a breath of fresh air. And "STOP PRESS" Raimat even had the balls to launch some wines in....wait for it........"SCREW CAP"!