Wine: Las Rocas Rose
Region: Calatayud, Northern Spain
Availability: Total Wine, Lee’s Discount Liquors
In the glass: Las Rocas Rose wine is a lovely, bright, clear antique-rose color with a translucent, clean deep pink core going out into a fine lightish-pink rim definition with quite high viscosity.
On the nose: The wine is just delightfully fresh with strawberry crush, raspberry sorbet, red currant juice, honeysuckle, red flowers like gardenias and sweet candied red apples, with underlying hints of rhubarb and light zippy minerals.
On the palate: This is such a delightful and refreshing wine, especially this time of the year, showing loads of crushed strawberries, really pretty and flowery even on the palate with soft yet dry red fruits, raspberry coulis and red currants. It is nicely balanced through the midpalate and into the absolutely charming finish. The perfect wine for summer!
Odds and ends: Las Rocas is the dominant winery in the small, but highly regarded appellation of Calatayud, near the city of Zaragoza, roughly in the northern part of central Spain. While it is a winery that manages vast tracts of vineyard land, the farming has traditionally been dry-farming with untrellised vines that have the appearance of large old spiders spread out on the dry gravelly ground. It is a sight worthy of a science-fiction movie. These old garnacha (grenache) vines yield very little fruit on an annual basis; perhaps as little as a single grape cluster, meaning the concentration in the wine is fabulous and very focused. Yolanda Diaz is the energetic and charming manager of what in reality is a semicooperative of more than 350 wine-growers and farmers who supply the fruit for the wines of Las Rocas. This wine is made by a method known as “tank bleed,” whereby the freshly free-run juice from the grapes following the crush is “bled” from the tanks after the grape skins have only been allowed to stay long enough in contact with the juice to create this soft pink color. It should drink well now through 2014. Make sure to serve this wine well-chilled to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but not as cool as you would a white wine and then just a bowl of strawberries to go along with it.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at email@example.com.