Rosé wine is one of my favorite warm-weather beverages. I lived in France for 13 years, and learned to love this coral-colored delight during a couple of summers spent in the Minervois region. My daughter was conceived there, and when she was a baby, we used to joke that the color of her cheeks was the exact color of the wine that we drank so much of. (Before you start clucking your tongues, I had no idea I was pregnant, and stopped drinking as soon as I found out. And my daughter has turned out to be an intelligent, beautiful creature). Rosé became a summer tradition for my family and friends. It's perfect on its own or with a meal.
The only thing I don't like in a rosé is too much sweetness. Don't even try to serve me a white zinfandel; I won't drink it (and I lurve wine). This isn't such an issue in France, although some rosés are sweeter than others. What I do like in a rosé is a deep color and a fruity nature. I want it to taste like a rosé; I want it to refresh me and lift my spirits.
While I can't discuss the different essences of wine — I'm unable to discern which fruit or berry flavors a wine might have — I can tell you how I perceive wine.
A few weeks ago I went to the local liquor store in search of rosé. It was sunny and warm, and I wanted to be reminded of those lazy summer lunches my friends and I used to eat on Sundays. Grilled food and chilled rosé, that's how we did it, and that's what I wanted.
As I said, I don't like a sweet rosé, so a white zin was out of the question. A white merlot, perhaps? That was a new wrinkle, and it went in the shopping basket. There were some French rosés, but the price was high (far higher than it would have been in France), so I passed. Then my shopping partner and I noticed a Spanish rosé, a 2005 Tres Ojos Rose Garnacha Tempranillo Calatayud. The color was lovely and the price was right (about $7), so it went into the basket with the white merlot.
Last night we drank the Tres Ojos wine with a shrimp and pasta dish. Remember how I said I can't distinguish essences, but I can tell you how I perceive a wine? Well, the Tres Ojos is Bold, and yes, that's a capital B. It's Bold and spicy. I felt it complemented the pasta; in addition to the shrimp, there was some red bell pepper, red onion, garlic, Roma tomatoes, and fresh basil.
Tres Ojos rosé is 50% garnacha (grenache, natch) and 50% tempranillo, which is one of Spain's more important red grapes. The Calatayud is a region of Spain which has denominación de origen, or denomination of origin, status. I don't know about you, but I'm inclined to choose a DO or AOC wine when I see one. The Tres Ojos didn't disappoint.
The wine does need to be well-chilled. It would probably go well with some of the spicier tapas -- chorizo comes to mind. It also packs quite a punch, with 14.5% alcohol. (No wonder it's called Three Eyes!) I've had California reds that had such a high alcohol content, and found them to be almost undrinkable to my wimpy French palate. Not so the Tres Ojos. It was delicious, both with the food and then again after dinner.
I see that our dear Beau has already sampled a Tres Ojos wine. I know he drinks pink wine (and yes, I stole that article). Now all he needs to do when he gets back from his European jaunt is pick up some of the Tres Ojos rosé. Actually, so do you. Take it from a rosé-lovin' former expat: this is one summer wine that fills the bill. ¡Salud!