While in the Loire Valley I tasted many excellent examples of rosé. One that particularly stuck in my mind was the 2011 Les Caprices d'Inès from Les Caves de La Loire co-operative.
Delicate pale salmon color, with persistent yet dainty aromas of bright Bing cherries, redcurrants and freshly picked strawberries. Tangy and citrussy with a veritable medley of red, orchard fruit flavors. The residual sweetness in the wine is perfectly balanced, adding softness and roundness to the crisp backbone of acidity. Simple, easy drinking and fruity - a perfect summer sipper.
At the Table - being fruity and off-dry, this Rosé d'Anjou works really well as an apéritif or with simple nibbles. It is especially good with creamy paté, even foie gras as the tanginess cuts right through the rich foie. Also great with an array of summer salads such as Caesar, crispy squid or Niçoise as well spicy Asian dishes, even spicy spare ribs where the juxtaposition of tanginess and sweetness provides both a compliment and contrast to the heat and spiciness.
About Rosé d'Anjou, Les Caprices d'Inès and Les Caves de La Loire co-operative.
Les Caves de la Loire is a local wine co-operative that was founded in 1950. It has around 350 members who cultivate about 4,400 acres of vineyard. Rosé is their focus, particularly Rosé d'Anjou. The Anjou area in the Loire (located around the famous city of Angers) is famed for its off-dry rosé wines. Being so northerly, a little residual sugar was traditionally needed to balance the high levels of natural acidity in the wines.
Rosé d'Anjou is one of the three designated appellations for off-dry rosé wines. Rosé d'Anjou is made predominantly from the local Grolleau grape. Small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay and Malbec (which is called Côt here) are also permitted. Wines must be minimum of 10% abv. and contain at least 7g/l residual sugar but the general residual sugar level is about 15g/.
Les Caprices d'Inès is one of a number of Rosé d'Anjou produced by this co-op. Other excellent ones to seek out include the 2011 Au Fil des Lignes and 2001 Château Mauny.
• 2011 Les Caprices d'Inès, Rosé D'Anjou, $12 retail
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant.
(Image: Monogramme Marketing)