Tablas Creek 2009 Rosé



Courtesy Tablas Creek Vineyards


Type: Dry rosé
Made with: Mourvedre, Grenache, Counoise
Plays well with: duck, figs, cheese, nuts and picnic fare.

Let’s be clear.  This is not a sweet wine.  Alas, US rosés, in particular, have that bad rep from the cheap box wines that were so popular in the 1960s and ’70s.  But this ain’t your daddy’s Lancers.  The Tablas Creek 2009 Rosé was pink, as in the color a fresh rosé should have. The nose was fruity with watermelon and strawberry, and the fruitiness continued into the taste, even though it is very dry without any residual sweetness. It also had that yummy, thirst-quenching cleansing effect on our palates.  Alcohol was a decent fourteen and half percent.

Keep in mind, we drank this at the Hospice du Rhone Rosé Lunch, along with about five other Tavels – rosés from the Tavel region of France, near the south of the Rhone Valley.  The Tablas Creek rosé stood out among the Tavels because it was more fruit forward.  But that’s the California style. And did we say it was dry?  It is.  Really.

You can find out more Tablas Creek Vineyard at their website,

Twisted Oak 2006 Grenache

So why are we posting tasting notes on a single wine? Because we really liked it!


It’s Wednesday night – our dedicated mid-week break. It’s a tradition we started when we had a junior member in the house (who has since graduated from college, gotten a job and her own place and calls us voluntarily, not that we’re bragging). We made up a simple beef semi-stroganoff – semi because Anne couldn’t quite remember the recipe for a full-on traditional stroganoff and was too tired to look it up. Add some brown rice noodles, steamed broccoli, a basic green salad with herb vinaigrette.

Yowza! Seriously, the wine was the perfect coda. The meal would have been good without it or a lesser wine. But with the Twisted Oak Grenache, the meal sang. It popped. It did everything a good meal should do. Which you need in the middle of a long, hard, busy week.

The garnet color led to the traditional strawberry nose with hints of vanilla, earth and blueberry. The taste had some spice and just enough fruitiness. The acids cut through the richness of the sour cream of the stroganoff beautifully and still maintained a fruit profile. Add a nice finish (or coda) and you have one tasty glass of wine on its own. With a good meal, well, that’s the whole reason we do this wine thing.
You can check out this and other Twisted Oak wines out at their website, Please note that we consider owner Jeff Stai a friend of ours. Whether he considers us friends, he’s just twisted enough…

Coral Mustang 2006 Tempranillo Rosé

When you’re ready to drink this rosé, pull it from the fridge about half an hour to an hour before you drink it.  You want it chilled, but not too cold or you’ll miss all the lovely complexities in the wine.

It’s light in color with a strawberry nose.  There are none of the herbs, leather or smoke that you normally associate with tempranillo.  That’s because those elements, along with the color, come from the skins of the grapes.  Red wines are red because they are initially fermented after the whole grape berry has been crushed to release some of the juice, but before that juice is pressed out of the grape. Roses are usually made from juice that’s been in contact with the grape skins for a short time before being bled off a larger red wine batch or pressed out of the skins.

Whe you taste the Coral Mustang rose, you should get dry lighter fruit with some acidity to cleanse the palate. Modest in alcohol, it’s an excellent summer sipper on its own or a best friend to a salad of any kind. This was one of the first Roses we tried and it still stands out as one of the best against French, Spanish and our own home made.