Poolside wines: What balance

Will Jancis topple over without my support? Is drinking four glasses of wine before lunch on Tuesdays part of a well-balanced lifestyle? Do cheap-o rosés have any poise, elegance or integrity to them at all?

jancis robinson in white bikini sipping wines by the pool in summer rosésVin de piscine or "poolside wines" -- the theme of the final lunchhour wine tasting at the Cour Mont-Royal SAQ -- is the focus of this entry. While that may be focus, the focal point is Jancis Robinson's superimposed face on a summer babe body because the photos I took at this event (which was staged in a mock backyard setting rather showily constructed in the tasting corner of this "gants blancs" store) were entirely deleted in less than a second. They were deleted by me. I was buzzed.

The wine that inspires you will only defy you, especially if it's before noon, which is when these lunchtime midi conseils typically get under way. More proof that cheap wines, thanks to inelegant use of sugar, will get you blitzed quicker? Or, beneath it all, it is really that I secretly miss Jancis so much (in a rather disturbed and unhealthy way!) since my membership to her subscription site expired last month? Perhaps I need a new way to get her attention now that that gated online forum of hers is off limits to me.


rose #1 cours mont-royal sag tasting vins de piscine 2007So now that I've admitted to incompetence, here are my mini reviews of the four cheap-o rosés the SAQ opened for guzzling (so cheap in fact that they did not charge the usual five dollars to participate in the weekly tasting):

First up was Mousseux Rosé J.P. Chenet, a wine entirely made of Bobal grapes, typically a Spanish variety. This isn't at all a bad Languedoc-Roussillon wine, but it is not promoted as a Vin de Pays d'Oc, nor does it indicate a vintage, as is the wont of many reputable sparkling wines. The distributed notes say that the J.P. Chenet brand sells a bottle and a half every second of every day. Total global export domination! It's actually not too shabby what all these people are buying for $12, if a bit gregarious with added sugar and no shortage of yeasty toastiness.

rose #2 cours mont-royal sag tasting vins de piscine 2007The second position was not a good one to be in after the heaps of sweetness of the Chenet. Bounding around the room was Cerasuolo Colle Cavalieri Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2006. It's funny how much of this stuff you seem to get poured into your glass (when the tasting is poolside rosé rather than Pouilly-Fuissé or something else more treasured you really get treated like a king). Anyway this $10 bottle is standard Italian pink to me: hard candy notes with a lightly bitter finish. In comparison to the sparkling before it, it's bone bone dry. Suffered from a bad transition in a tasting room with no palate cleansers.

rose #3 cours mont-royal sag tasting vins de piscine 2007From Chile, the PKNT Rosé 2006 with a big hot pepper picture on its label was up next. Was I too easily suggestible, too drunk, or totally correct in thinking this wine tastes exactly like hot peppers? Buzzing grapefruit notes reigned in by thoroughly green tannins from the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes gives this wine a startling flavour profile similar to a bag of jalapeño-flavoured potato chips. Oddity. $12.75. I bet the PKNT Carmenère with its green pepper tasting note is equally as bizarre.

rose #4 cours mont-royal sag tasting vins de piscine 2007It was at this point I recall snapping a picture of the woman next to me who had pulled out an SAQ plastic water bottle. That's right! SAQ H20. It looked like one of those Tim Hortons bottled waters but with Société des Alcools du Québec written on it in trademark colours and typeface. I thought it was hilarious to make an effort to stay hydrated at a lunchhour tasting. Or maybe she knew about the hot pepper wine and came prepared. Ay, caramba!

While I realize rosés are cheap, this tasting definitely was bottom-of-the-barrel, even for pink wine, until the final bottle. Was everyone wasted by the time it flowed? The Domaine du Vieil Aven Tavel 2006 was $20 and better than the others yet I would counter to suggest you get a better deal on this blended style of pink wine with Michel Gassier's $14 Château de Nages from Costières de Nîmes. Sure, it's no Tavel, but it's not far off from the exclusively pink A.O.C. zone known as Tavel. This rosé is said to be age-worthy for five years. Maybe that what's the extra $5 are for?

So there it is -- just in time for this week's approaching heatwave. (Also please refer to these always-dependable rosé wines and this article on heatwave wining and dining.) And this also all comes just in time for the return of Joe of Joe's Wine. He's back in Montreal after some time in France and the wealth of posts he's accumulated and brought back with him is impressive. This post is for Joe, who always reported all the other SAQ noon tastings that I sadly could not attend.

Until next time, enjoy the heat folks!


Joe said...

1) Welcome back!
2) That photo is very disturbing...I will let you decide which one I am referring to
3) I love the Viel Aven, but I would also take the Pink Nages and spend the 5 bucks elsewhere
4) Had the Cavalieri and thought it was pretty good for the price (a Malcolm Anderson pick last year, I think - by the way, you saw he is retiring?)
Thanks for the tip o' the hat - it is great to be back. Fancy shmancy Bordeaux tasting coming up this month, plus other juicy treats. Cheers!

Marcus said...

1) Thanks and same to you
2) Disembodied Jancis was found on her very own site if you can believe it!
3) Just saw the 2006 Nages this afternoon -- 2005 was widely well reviewed
4) Quite nice for $10 indeed. I never read Malcolm but one during the strike and he did dep wine reviews which were cool.

I look forward to the Bordeaux event.

Brooklynguy said...

That is pretty sick. I can't believe the way they altered Janis' hairstyle like that.

Welcome back pal!

Marcus said...

People are going to start doing that with my online pic soon too.

You're smart to go "mysterious" Bguy. They'd mess with your hair because they're all so jealous of your wine expertise.

Culinary Fool said...

Hey, Marcus!
Thanks for stopping by. It certainly sounds like you had an, uhm, interesting time at this tasting.

I recently had a bottle of the Tavel and liked it, too. I'm really glad to see roses becoming more readily available in North America - even if you do have to weed through a few questionable bottles to find the good ones.

That's what tasting is all about - right? ;-)