Thursday, April 29, 2010

When in Rhône... Syrah rosé from Vignerons Ardèchois

Spring is in the air, and the syrah rosé is worthy of whiff...and a swig

It's beginning to look a lot like summer here in the Rhône Valley.

Temperatures are heating up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit / 27 degrees Celcius and the barbecues are heating up too! So now starts the season for rosé wines here in southern France.

I stumbled upon a robust - if I can call it that - rosé from Ardèche that really went well with some grilled steak and white lentil cold salad. Its' from Vignerons Ardèchois, a local cooperative, that makes a variety of wines from the syrah varietal.

But this syrah rosé from Ardèche gave me a bit of a shock when putting down the first glass. This wine is the darkest rosé I have ever seen, looking more like cranberry juice than typical rosé that one normally drinks from further south near the Med. It didn't have that strawberry wine cooler taste to it, more of a syrah that wants to be light on the loafers - something you just expect from a Rhône Valley syrah.

It is all raspeberry. Razzamatazzy smazzamatazzy. No strawberry, no pinky McGoo, it was more than that.

But don't think it's a Vaynerchuk "fruitbomb". It's not. It has a roundness that you can expect from syrah. The finish left me saying "where's the paella?" The aromas make me want to stop working for a week and take a vacation to Séte or Frontignon and camp on the beach, hunt for clams and eat a heaping plate of paella every night.

Not gonna happen, but it takes me there nonetheless.

This wine has the freshness that all rosés have, but this rosé says: "I'm a syrah, so you're gonna get a little more grape, less finesse." So just keep that in mind if you go down this three euro path.

At just 2.99 a bottle here in France you can't go wrong. If you are heading to the French Riviera or heading further west towards Spain, stop in at an Intermarché food market and stock up. Six bottles should last you a while.

And don't forget to save room for paella.

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