Cape Gazette
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Wine

Don’t drink Rosé very cold

By John McDonald | May 19, 2014

Still pounding the wine-tasting circuit as we surf into the summer season. To paraphrase Robert Duvall in “Apocalypse Now,” “I love the smell of Cabernet in the morning.” One whose smell I really enjoyed was a 2012 Central Coast gem named Mandolin made from Central Coast-sourced grapes. It’s 100 percent Cab, aged 11 months in French oak, and this review is one of the first in print. Priced less than $15, the Mandolin cab approaches 91 points due to 2 price points. You should be able to wangle a case for less than $144. Very dark garnet-colored, the wine opens to currant and cherry aromas with a hint of oak-driven vanillin (vanillin is a phenolic aldehyde) and spice. Nice fruit/acid balance but still a bit sharp with tannin. This tells me a few years in cellar will improve it, although it is very approachable now. Finishes medium long with more cherry, some spice and a clean ,astringent quality. This is a lot of wine for its price. Poggio il Castellare Rosso di Montalcino 2010 is not your average “Guinea Red.” Can a McDonald still say that if he’s half ”eyetalian”? Grandma wore black dresses and rolled-down stockings as her chef’s outfit while Papa was in the cellar drinking homemade wine from jelly glasses with his buddies. Anyhow, Rosso is the little sister of Brunello, so some say. Like many modern women, there is nothing feminine about Poggio 2010. This is a complex beauty. A lovely bouquet of plum, sour cherry, rhubarb and fresh herbs repeats on the palate and resolves into a clean, long finish, with hints of tobacco and spice.

WS gave it 90 points at $25, but smart shoppers will be able to find it priced well under $20. At that price, it gets a price point from McD. Summer and Rosé complement each other like strawberries and cream or hot days and porch hammocks. They are usually wonderful with sushi, ceviche, spring rolls with soy sauce and veal Francais. With that in mind and thanks to the good graces of Colangelo and a delightful young woman from Mouton, I have two completely different looks at the product. Remember friends, Rosé is not a varietal name but rather an eponymous pick to reflect the color of a rose. The descriptor is appropriate because, as you know, roses come in many colors and shades. Mulderbosch from South Africa, a name that you may remember, is usually attached to Riesling or Chardonnay in this column. This Cabernet Sauvignon rosé is slightly orange-tinted pink. It opens to blood orange, cherry and crème de cassis with spiced wood notes. On the palate, the fruit is balanced with a zesty acidity that allows a palate-cleansing finish. I rate it 88 points when found under $15. Longtimers will remember Barbara and I visited Chateau Mouton on our honeymoon trip to Europe, back in 1976. The trip is still one of our fondest memories due to the delightful folks we met at the chateau. We bought a case of Chateau Mouton for each of our children’s birth years. Sadly, the wine is now only a memory also. This week I was sent a bottle of le Rose de Mouton Cadet 2013, hot off the boat to review. Claimed to be made “saignée,” which means free run, from Cab Franc, Merlot and Cab Sauv. It is medium pinkish, pale reddish, tinted with orange. The nose is raspberry, strawberry and a bit floral. The 2013 are sourced from Bordeaux. Made in the dry European style. Try it with Asian, and please don’t drink it too cold.

The nose is key to enjoying most Rosé. Unfortunately many drink them ice cold, which kills the nose and makes the wines appear out of balance or vegetal. Remember, when you are served very cold wine that appears out of balance; cup the glass in your hands to warm the wine, and then sample it again. I think 55 degrees is usually a good temperature. Next week I will be reviewing some wine from Anderra.

These are a joint venture with Mouton produced in Chile. I will be introducing Carmenere, another varietal grape type that seems to have found a home in the cold Maipo Valley.

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