Monday, June 4, 2007

Pretty in Pink

Domaine Tempier's Bandol Rosé is, as Robert Parker writes, one of the "rare rosés produced in the world today to actually have a cult following." And as such, it challenges the conventional notion of rosé as a mere summer quaffer, if only through its price tag (the 2006 costs around $30). Jamie Goode has written that rosés "are not wines to dwell over too long, but are best glugged joyfully," and that one ought not to devote extensive tasting notes to these wines which are drunk by the "tanker-load." I must admit that I have long avoided rosés as unfashionable and, worse, unmanly (bring me Mouton!) but have recently turned my attention to them as I pondered alternatives to the latest supermarket selections from The Washington Post.

Compared with the Mordorée Tavel Rosé I wrote on last week, the 2006 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé ($30; Kermit Lynch, importer) is a more refined, far prettier wine. The Mordorée is a big, aggressive wine for a rosé, with a heady alcohol level and relatively dark fruit flavors. It needs food to tame it -- and itself can tame big foods -- and never quite comes to rest on the palate. Meanwhile, the Tempier Rosé brings a sense of harmony to the table. Light salmon colored, the wine has a fresh, delicate nose of strawberry and watermelon. It is medium-bodied, with refined, almost mellow fruit, good lively acidity, and impeccable overall balance. It is a classy, poised yet refreshing effort from one of the most famous of Provence wineries. Is it worth the $30 tariff? Maybe not, but it is one of the best French rosés I've ever had, and properly savored, rather than quaffed, the Tempier Bandol Rosé isn't an unreasonable buy.

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