Pinot or Cabernet?

Last week I published reviews of some varied roses currently on the market. At the same time as I tasted those wines I also tasted these examples. I’ve chosen to publish the results separately for two reason. First off there is the pricing issue, the Pinot Noir Based examples were simply much more expensive than all the rest, and there there was the simple fact that being produced from Pinot or Cabernet, these wines have a bit of an advantage in the marketplace.

We know Pinot and cabernet and are in all likelihood somewhat predisposed to buying wines with familiar names on the label. So my sort of follow up question was a simple one. Is it worth spending more on Pinot Noir based roses when rose wines tend, for my palate at least, to be more similar than they are different?

It’s not the fault of the producer of course, but rather of the process. Almost all of the delicious complexity we enjoy in red wines is found in the skins, and when you limit the time the juice is in contact with the skins, as is the case with rose, you also limit the extraction of all those delicious flavors and aromas. Pinot Noir though has a bit of an advantage. You see their skins are relatively low in coloring so a winemaker can keep his Pinot Noir juice in contact for a longer period of time than say would be the case with Cabernet and he still will get a pleasantly lightly colored finished wine, though one with potentially more complexity and intensity of flavor on the palate.


That’s the theory at least. The truth of the matter is that, like with all wine categories, there are those who exceed expectations, and then there is everyone else. The best wines of my tasting were indeed the relatively expensive Pinot Noirs, though the fair cheaper Cabernet based wines were not terribly far behind. For my money I would probably choose one of the Cabernet based wines to serve this summer. Unless I was planning on a dinner with true wine geeks. It’s also worth noting the great values I discovered last week 5 FAVORITE ROSES FOR SUMMER 2014. As you can see the Mulderbosch made both lists, it’s a great value wine and a terrific rose as well. 


It’s also worth noting that even though the Pinot based roses may have a bit more nuance and complexity, those based on Cabernet tend to be more obviously varietal, with the intensity of Cabernet’s currant fruit and herbaceous character being decidedly obvious. It’s a combination of flavors that I find attractive, and pairing with the relative intensity of the wine makes for a rose that is well suited to being paired with food, from grilled salmon to burgers and almost anything in between. Another factor in its favor. 





Floral and dusty and vaguely of the sea, there’s nice subtlety and soft suggestions of red berry and citrus fruit on the nose. Bright and vivid one entry, this delivers lovely purity on the palate. It’s not a powerful or terribly complex wine but it does deliver intense raspberry and slightly pear tinged flavors on the palate backed up by lovely acidity and just enough sugar to add a tinge of power to the fruit on the finish. the finish is long and shows an engaging minerality that adds some steely depth to the fruit on the finale. Fabulous stuff. what more can you want from a rose? 91pts



Spicy on the nose with lightly candied suggestions of red cherry and strawberry fruit that show excellent intensity and purity. Nice acids open on the palate, which shows a hint of richness and lovely, pure, and slightly savory flavors of strawberry, forest floor, and a hint of spice. Moderately large scaled and fleshy, this is beautiful with a hint of earthy minerality and some herbal shadings emerging on the moderately long and succulent finish. 90pts



Soft red cherry fruit on the nose shows subtle hints of woodsy spice and perhaps an incipient note of spicy mushroom. Round and a bit soft on entry, this is nicely balanced but shows a slightly richer, softer side of rose. The mineral tinged flavors of red cherry and hibiscus show nicely on the palate and glide onto a fresh and juicy finish where the acids do pop nicely. 88pts



Red cherry, red currant and lightly floral green herb notes greet the nose. Smooth, supple and seamless in the mouth, this is slinky and focused with a nice array of slightly jammy red fruits but for my palate it trades in refreshing drinkability for some of that suppleness. there’s a lovely pop of minerality and detail on the backend, with just a hint of spice leading to the modest finish. 87pts





All cabernet all the time here with great complexity to the herbaceous aromas of cut grass, dried herbs and bell peppers that are layered over a base of red fruit. Supple and fairly full in the mouth, there’s a hint of sweetness here that is well balanced by the solid acidity, yielding a moderately large scaled rose with relatively dark berry fruit, hints of blackberry and blackcurrant fill the palate and fade gently on the modest finish that ends with an attractive hint of blackberry jamminess. 87pts 



Very Cabernet driven on the nose with obvious notes of roasted chilies and red currant fruit. A hint of sweetness on entry is quickly balanced by plenty of juicy acidity here. A fairly big and slightly chewy rose, this delivers tons of slightly jammy strawberry and red currant fruit on the palate with a hint of herbaceousness adding complexity. texturally very well knit and supple, this finishes a bit on the short side with simple and pure notes of red currants. 87pts



Spicy and herbal on the nose with suggestions of mint, sweet tomato and ginseng framing faint, earthy red fruit. Bright on the palate, this has nice body and a hint of sugar but remains acid driven with light and lively flavors of red currant and strawberry fruit. A bit simple in the mouth, I do like the zesty character here and the rather elegant texture. Tart, somewhat dusty and dry and a bit short on the finish, which does show a lovely flash of black currant fruit, this is nicely done and distinctive. 86pts 



A bit buttery on the nose with lots of black fruit that shows a jammy quality and a fairly spicy and vaguely meaty quality to the nose. A hint on the sweet side though with good, well integrated acids helping to keep this balanced. this is rather fruit, black currant and boysenberry fruits show a bit of jaminess and a subtle cocoa and tree bark shading adding some complexity. It’s large scaled and powerful for a rose and would work well with BBQ or burgers but it is a bit more like a light red wine, with a hint of powdery tannin, rather than a true rose. 86pts


Hat Tip To: Snooth – Articles


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