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Tasting Rosé with Gillian Balance M.S.

Southern Glazer brought in Gillian Balance to teach a Rosé Masterclass at their tasting in Houston last week which featured 100 rosé wines from around the world. The class focused on six wines in a New World vs Old World format.

Balance reminded attendees that rosé was not only the original red wine for the world's earliest wine makers, it is also one of the fastest growing styles of wine today. It has always been universally loved for its versatility with food. Served chilled, the weight, freshness and slight bit of tannic structure make it an excellent pairing partner for an array of food options.

While wine drinkers can find some typicity in the rosé wines of Provence, when they venture into New World regions, they may encounter a wider range of styles. Grape variety, climate and winemaking practices will all affect a wine's flavor profile.

The Wine:
Matua 2016 - This pale salmon colored wine is made from Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand. It is fresh with crisp acidity, fruit-driven with cherry aromas and tart cherry flavors with rose petals and an herbaciousness in the finish. A steal at $13 a bottle.

Chateau St Jean Bijou 2015 - This North Coast California wine is a blend of Barbera, Pinot Noir and Grenache which gives very fruity red berry/cherry aromas and flavors, soft tannins and a rounder feel. This wine has a higher level of residual sugar adding to the ripe watermelon finish. Balance called it the perfect rosé for Thai curry, only $13 a bottle.

A by Acacia 2015 - This blend of Barbera, Grenache, Syrah, Tannat and Tempranillo is a deeper salmon color than the previous two wines. It is offering up a mix of baking spice, dried fruit, apricot and citrus with a slightly smoky, lightly oxidized note in the long finish. A bit fuller bodied than than previous two, Balance said she would enjoy this wine with roasted pork and root vegetables, only $12.

The next three are from the same 19th century chateau in St Tropez in Southern France and shared a paler onion skin pink color. Chateau Minuty is located by a protected woodland area and farms without pesticides or herbicides.

Minuty M 2015 - Dry, medium body, slightly spicy with subtle peach and floral rose notes and a fresh
saline minerality in the lingering finish. Balance suggested this wine be served with crudites and tapas. Deliciously affordable at $17.

Minuty et Or 2014 - This wine is Grenache and Tibouren and shows more depth with bold sweet citrus aromas with subtle berry and citrus flavors, baking spice and a savoriness in the lingering saline laced finish. Also dry with a medium body, Balance thought this wine to be an excellent pairing for bouillabaisse or sushi. A step up in price at $36 a bottle, elegant, interesting and worth it.

Minuty 281 Rosé 2015 - This luxury offering has subtle aromas of white peach with mixed red berries with baking spice and an iodine laced finish. This wine is dry, rounder feeling with more weight, a slightly fuller body with a richer textural component making it a good partner for grilled tuna or octopus. Only $56 for this top tier bottle from a classic producer.

All six of these wines are highly recommended for springtime sipping and beyond.

*Tasted on February 20, 2017.

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