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Southern Rhône shines in rosé shoot-out

Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, Christopher Coronel, Kelley O’Neill, Jay Reed, Travis Mordus, Jason Wentworth

As wine consumption in the U.S. continues to grow, sales of certain types of wine have fared better than others. A surprising trend has been the increase in sales of imported rosé. According to a recent study by the Nielsen Company, in the year ending on September 19, 2009, imported rosé sales were up a walloping 28% over the previous year. During this same period total wine sales increased by less than 4%.

It is significant that most imported rosés are dry wines. It would appear that Americans have finally discovered not all rosé is sweet. In fact, dry rosé is an excellent accompaniment to the Mediterranean and Asian cuisines that have become so popular in recent years. In yet another Nielsen study, sales of dry rosé increased by 27% from 2006 to 2007, while sales of sweet blush wines decreased by 5.4% during the same period.

The staff at Northside Wine & Spirits recently blind tasted a group of 22 dry European rosés, all priced under $20 per bottle. It is European wines that are primarily responsible for driving the increased demand for dry rosé. The majority of the wines tasted were from France, a country in which rosé outsells white wine.

Not surprisingly, most of the wines favored by the staff were French. What was surprising, however, was that the first place wine sells for a mere $7 per 750 ml bottle. La Vieille Ferme 2009 Ventoux rosé is marketed by the Perrin family, owners of the renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate Château de Beaucastel. This inexpensive but delicious wine is made primarily from Grenache and Cinsault grapes grown in the Côtes du Ventoux area in the southern Rhône valley.

La Vieille Ferme (old farm) was described by one taster as “mouth-fillingly enjoyable.” It is bursting with raspberry fruit and spice, and several staff members noted its balance and long finish. Try this affordable beauty with grilled foods of all sorts, sausages and pâtés, or salad Niçoise and other composed salads. It would also be an excellent choice for a Thai or Indian meal.

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