Earlier this year we reviewed the Chateau Ballan-Larquette Bordeaux, and while it wasn’t quite my cup of tea, I still say you cannot beat this house for sheer value. We’re talking about multiple French wines under $20 being sold in America, a feat readers of this site will appreciate.
Roses are usually at one of two extremes: Way too light to the point of sweet water (think White Zinfandel: Ugh) or far too strong so that you are robbed of the bouncy fruit and crisp, acidic sweetness. For the roses that are too dark (like Syrah roses or many from California) I sometimes feel cheated. They make me think the fruit that went into them just wasn’t up to snuff for a red wine. For my palate, a rose should be what it’s name suggests: Rose-colored. Not cranberry juice or a light pink water.
The Ballan-Larquette Rose is neither of those. 45% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Cabernet Franc. It’s balanced and delicious, and because of that, it is a strong contender for our Best of 2010 voting/tasting. Read on to see why and be sure to pick up a bottle ASAP.
Proper pink. Nothing too light or too dark.
Strawberry fields. Not just strawberries, but the dirt and dust that you smell along with them in the fields on a hot day. Some freshly cut cherry as well.
Medium-bodied, not too light, which I like very much. Very good fruit on the attack, the strawberry and cherry flavors from the nose are intact and give a nice brightness to the wine. There is a hint of sweetness as well, but not too much that you wouldn’t want to enjoy this with something more savory. The barnyard is present as well in this in the form of a soil and stink element that is tough to pin down. Great finish with a pleasing dryness.
A very versatile food wine. I’ve most often had roses with chicken or salads that have fruit in them. One of the best pairings has been with a chicken and berry salad. Any berry will work, though I’d aim for strawberries. I light vinegarette with some garlic in it will help. For some reason I’ve always found that strawberries and garlic go well together. I probably just made all chefs everywhere cringe.