Warmer weather is around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with spring wines such as rosés and fruity reds? Vineyard Brands offers these wonderful suggestions to welcome spring. These three rosés and three reds provided us with tastings that tout the transition to a new season. Specifically, read on for details about these six wines we enjoyed over the last couple of weeks.
Spring Wines – Rosé
Why wait for National Rosé Day on June 12? There’s always an occasion to “rosé all day!” We love to drink pink on our lakeside deck, and watch its pretty color match the gorgeous Washington sunsets. What a wonderful way to celebrate spring. Above all, rosés are food-friendly and wallet-friendly wines. For instance, pour rosé with seafood, shellfish, smoked salmon, salads, pasta and Asian dishes. Or simply sip rosé without food.
Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé 2020 ($28)
First, we loved this Château Miraval Rosé last year, while we lounged on our lakeside deck. Not surprisingly, we felt the same way when we opened another bottle this spring. What a lively wine, which blends Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Rolle, grown on clay and limestone. Second, the rosé is fresh, crisp and clean, featuring aromas and flavors of red berries and citrus, laced with minerality and salinity. This pale-pink Miraval Rosé is elegant and refined, and a perfect example of why rosé is so popular these days. Château Miraval is partly owned by Brad Pitt, but the estate also gained a reputation when world-renowned Famille Perrin subsequently joined to provide guidance and expertise in the wine production.
Famille Perrin Côtes du Rhône Nature Rosé 2020 ($15)
The Famille Perrin is often referred to as the “first family of the Rhône Valley.” They are pioneers in their innovative approach to organic farming in 1950, and later biodynamic farming in 1974. Oh my, we enjoyed sipping this wine before dinner! Famille Perrin Nature Rosé is a beautiful, organic, salmon-colored Côtes-du-Rhône blend of Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre. Elegant yet delicate, smooth and well-balanced, its aromas of citrus and red fruit mirror the flavors. Serve with light cuisine, Mediterranean food or as an apéritif, like we did.
La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2020 ($15)
La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2020 is soft, smooth and easy-drinking. In other words, it’s a perfect deck wine, but it’s also refreshing all year round. This blend of classic Rhône grapes, Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah, reveals aromas of citrus and red fruit. With its pretty, soft-pink color, it’s not hard to imagine cherry sorbet. The sweetness of the fruit is balanced by good acidity and mineral notes. Consistency is also at its core, which we discovered by enjoying both the 2019 and 2020 vintages. And at $15, you can’t go wrong. Famille Perrin also produces La Vieille Ferme, which was introduced to the U.S. in 1970. Not surprisingly, critics and wine lovers alike call this popular rosé one of the best-value wines in the world.
Spring Wines – Reds
It’s time to ease the grill out of its winter hibernation. That is to say, spring has sprung. So pair your burgers, brats, steaks and other barbecued meals with these red wines from Spain, South Africa and France. We had not tasted any of these reds before, and bottle after bottle impressed us. One is 100% Syrah, while another is 100% Tempranillo. The third is an unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Cabernet Franc.
Finca La Capilla Crianza 2017 ($33)
Marqués de Cáceres now owns Finca La Capilla, located in the heart of Ribera del Duero. Finca La Capilla Crianza 2017 is 100% Tinta del Pais or Tinto Fino, which we know as Tempranillo. This rich, full-bodied, concentrated red wine opens with aromas of ripe fruit, barrel spices and toasted wood. It also features flavors of red berries, blueberries, graphite, dark chocolate and subtle wood nuances resulting from 15 months of aging in 50% new French oak. Elegant, structured and balanced, it’s very drinkable now after decanting or it can be aged for several years.
Lievland Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($19)
What a beautiful gem from South Africa. Lievland Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is an intriguing blend of 86% Cab Sauv, 8% Cinsault, and 6% Cabernet Franc. This is truly a unique South African style of Cabernet Sauvignon. The small amount of Cinsault lifts the aromatics and contributes vibrant fruit flavors, while the Cab Franc provides depth and dark fruit to the structure. The aromas of plums, cassis, blueberries and pencil shavings echo on the palate. In addition, the combination of high-altitude cooler Stellenbosch vineyards (80%) and dry-land warmer climate Paarl vineyards (20%) creates a balanced, complex wine. We paired it with a delicious roast, but it will also complement other beef dishes, lamb, poultry or spicy food. We are passionate about wines from South Africa, and this Cab Sauv is yet another reason why.
Maison Les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2019 ($33)
Maison Les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2019 is 100% Syrah, sourced from Crozes-Hermitage vineyards on the left bank of the Rhône river. Crozes-Hermitage are the biggest vineyards among the Northern Rhône appellations with more than 1,300 hectares. This is an old-world Syrah – the difference between it and our recently poured new-world Syrah is fascinating. The full-bodied Syrah is concentrated, balanced and smooth. It opens with aromas of red fruit, black cherries, blackberries, spices, and subtle smoky notes, leading into flavors of red fruit, blackberries, pepper, sour cherries and licorice. Decant it, or give it a few years in the cellar. Serve it with roast, grilled beef dishes or lamb. We could easily have polished off two bottles in one sitting!
Summary: Spring Wines
In conclusion, the warmer weather welcomes rosés and fruity reds. So, put away those heavy winter coats, bring out the deck chairs and barbecue, and celebrate with these six standout wines from France, Spain and South Africa.
Thank you, Vineyard Brands, for the samples.
Margot and Dave