Giaconda's Rose catalog was a bit of a surprise when it came out a few months ago, going as it did after a potential niche that wasn't obviously there, with the local scene still leaning towards heavier, headier wines and fostering malignant memories of atrocious roses heaved upon the public by previous incarnations of Carmel and its like. I gather the local sommeliers are of a more open mind and that Giaconda is doing quite well with the restaurant trade, which pleases me. These wines do go well with food and would provide a welcome addition to the wine lists.
I was looking forward to trying these wines as I am on the lookout for interesting weekday wines. That is, not just Value For Money wines, but Interest For Money wines. And as this tasting proved, there is ample room for variety within the rose paradigm.
Domaine le Couroulu, Vacqueyras, Vin de Pays, 2007
The Couroulu roses turned out to be the lightest in color. The nose is blatantly cherry in character and, to be honest, little else. Crisp and offers just enough complexity to flesh out its frame. A nice enough wine for its price, though I'd personally shop higher up the food chain. 50 NIS.
Domaine le Couroulu, Vacqueyras, 2006
A tad darker in color, and almost visibly more complex. The nose offers more shades and nuances beyond the fruit - a bit of lime and earth. A fuller body and greater complexity that are at first thrown off-balance by an alcoholic streak. It just needs time in glass, though, for the palate to calm down and fully echo the appealing character of the nose. At 79 NIS, though, it offers just a bit less than the similarly priced Tavels, though I might eventually give it another chance. But it's a close enough call and anyone who find the Tavels a good value might want to try this one as well.
Chateau Belle-Rive, Loire, 2006
This is more in a raspberry/strawberry vein with an outgoing, perfumed nose. Round and harmonic with a pleasant, bitter note on the finish. I don't expect a rose to offer the same intellectual thrills as premium red or white, simple because it isn't cut from the same cloth, but I do expect it to give me some pause and this wine just doesn't do that to me. 63 NIS.
Chateau d'Aqueria, Tavel, 2007
Oh my, this is a step up. Maybe more than a single step. The nose is initially a rather monolithic slab of cherries but opens up to reveal minerals and pepper. There is a subtle vein of alcohol that is absorbed within the wine's structure. This is indeed meets the expectations I refered to before as it provides just enough of an intellectual challenge. 76 NIS and well worth it.
Mejan-Taulier, Canto Perdrix, Tavel, 2006
This lives up to my previous encounter so well, I feel entitled to just lay back and let you read this. 67 NIS and well worth it.
Chateau du Seuil, Bordeaux, 2006
This offers an honest-to-God red wine nose, though maybe a Bourgogne rather than a Bordeaux, with top-heavy red fruit and more than a hint of forest floor. I'm still undecided about the palate, though. It doesn't have the taut structure of the Tavels which rather forces the question just how much of a Rose it is, as opposed to a light red. I think I'll just call it a winter Rose. 63 NIS and a good value if you're not too hung up about a Rose being especially light.
Domaine du Closel, Chateau des Vaults "Le Tentation", Cabernet d'Anjou, 2006
This is no "food wine" Rose. This is an appertif for a romantic dinner, as it takes off in a semi-sweet direction that is totally unlike the dry, crispiness of (most of) the previous wines. I can't find a lot of complexity or interest in it, personally. I need more than its outright sultriness, appealing though it it is. 90 NIS.