This is so different to the last Pinot Noir Rosé I tried that it’s almost hard to believe it’s the same beast.
But I suppose a few hundred miles and a slightly different cultivation/growing/winemaking technique can make all the difference.
And the terroir, perhaps, too: this bottle doesn’t give much away to Google, (other than that it has an almost-namesake in Illinois, USA), but it seems to be a product of West Germany.
Specifically, it seems to hail from the Mosel region (if my map-reading skills are up to scratch), which is internationally acclaimed mainly for its flowery, low-alcohol Riesling wines. This is closer to Riesling than Sauvignon Blanc, if one had to compare it to a completely different white grape; I only say this because the sharp, crisp edge that dominated the Sancerre Pinot Noir Rosé is pretty much entirely absent here. There’s a little more colour (and therefore skin) which would lead me to believe it had more exposure to the tannins therein and might be a little sharper, but that just goes to show what I know about rosé.
Contrary to its very boiled-sweety appearance, this wine was reminiscent of hedgerows and wildflowers in aroma, of country lanes and – yes – even farmyards. A world away from the biscuity Champagne-stylings of the French one. In fact, it reminded me a little of the last German (non-rosé) Pinot Noir I tried: not a million miles away from a Burgundy, cherry-rich and low on alcohol.
Small wonder, perhaps, as the vineyards are less than two hours apart by car.
It had less spice in its body than that wine, though, and much more residual sugariness; in fact, its chief flavours were cherries (some regular, some glacé) and (believe it or not) red grapes – with only a hint of that pleasant sourness that usually comes from the alcohol and tannins.
In terms of a spiritual home, though – knowing little about its actual home, as I do – I could definitely place this alongside Alsace Rieslings and Gewurztraminers, with its heavy, heady, floral aromas and light, sweet, delicate taste. The finish barely lasts three seconds, and this is definitely a wine for those who appreciate the off-dry Northeast French and German wines. I count myself among their number, fortunately.
I can’t imagine how much longer it could last in the bottle – 2007 seems like a long time ago for a Pinot Noir rosé, but I couldn’t detect anything wrong with it, and it put on a good show for the under-ten-pounds asking price.
Available from J Wadsworth of St. Ives, and possibly via mail order, if you can find it on a website, which I can’t.