- 2017 Moonlight and Roses Coteaux d’ Aix-en- Provence Rosé $8.99 (@Trader Joe’s, California)
- 2017 La Coqueluche Vin de Pays d’Oc Rosé $5.99 (@Trader Joe’s, California)
Something about the month of May, and (call me a sexist) Mothers Day signals the start of the rosé wine season to me, although here is California, there are many that adhere to the rallying cry of “rosé, everyday!”
As temperatures here started to creep towards the 90 degree mark this past weekend, I headed to the French wine section at the local Trader Joe’s, and found these two near-identical twins and thought they were begging to be stacked up against each other.
Let’s start with what they have in common. They are both French rosés from the same 2017 vintage. (Vintage is important for rosés’ which are meant to be drunk young – 2017 is as young as they come – and well-chilled.) But the thing that first caught my eye was the identical bottle shape and the similar silver foil on the neck.
As for what is different about these two… The first thing that struck me was how different the color of the wines were, which suggests different production methods. More on that later. A close second was how different the prices of these two wines were, although both were under the $10 maximum we strive for. Also of note were that they came from two different appellations: the 2017 Moonlight and Roses was from Coteaux d’ Aix-en- Provence, world famous for its pink wines. The 2017 La Coqueluche Vin de Pays d’Oc is from a lesser appellation of wines from the Languedoc region.
The rosé from Provence is pretty typical for the region, both in terms of its color, aromas and flavor. In the mouth it has fresh, bright fruit notes of pear, apple and citrus and the herbaceous notes known as “garrique” (pronounced “gahr-reek”) that the region is famous for. Price: $8.99 per bottle.
The “redder” rendition from the Languedoc (almost certainly a blended rosé) is a different wine, but pleasant nonetheless. It is a fleshier, more tropical flavored wine, predominated by flavors of strawberries and peach. Price: $5.99 per bottle.
Since one of these bottles is 50% more expensive than the other, you may be asking yourself which is the better value. My suggestion: “plonk” down the $15 and enjoy deciding for yourself!
An important footnote: both of these wines are totally dry. The popularity of “White Zinfandel” wines in the recent past has lead many wine consumers (especially here in the United States) to expect pink wines to be “off-dry” and noticeably sweeter. These wines will not be confused with “white zin.”
Lastly, as promised, some perspectives on how winemakers craft rosé wines. From Wikipedia: a “rosé is a type of wine that incorporates some of the color from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. It may be the oldest known type of wine, as it is the most straightforward to make with the skin contact method. The pink color can range from a pale “onion-skin” orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the varietals used and winemaking techniques. There are three major ways to produce rosé wine: skin contact, saignée, and blending.”