Summer is here (officially) and it's time for a side-by-side blind tasting of summer's perfect partner: Rosé. In this go-round we have the 2019 Kirkland Signature Côtes de Provence ($9.99) and the 2019 Whispering Angel Côtes de Provence ($17.89) going Mano a Mano.
Here's what this group of three tasters observed in these wines:
Wine #1: Poured a pure salmon hue in the glass that had richness and depth. The nose was extroverted with an abundance of berries and a touch of stone fruit coming through. On the palate, this wine was refreshing, direct, and somewhat angular. There was a sour/tart/bitter quality that we all detected in the wine initially after opening, which seemed to round out quite a bit with more time in the glass - it wasn't unpleasant, just present. At first, the long finish also carried this same sourness through to the end of the taste, but this also dissipated with time. Lots of expressiveness throughout this wine.
Wine #2: Poured a more pale pink/salmon color in the glass. The nose was very subtle and muted in comparison to wine #1 - we really had to search for much of anything in the fragrance. On the palate, this wine was simple, clean, and bright - a very pleasing combination that allowed this wine to achieve a nice balance. Alcohol seemed higher in this wine relative to the first. The finish was also long-lasting but simple in flavor. In a way, this wine did taste "cheaper" in comparison to the first Rosé tasted.
Two out of three tasters preferred wine #1, which was revealed to be the Kirkland Signature Rosé. Why? For the 2 of the tasters that preferred this wine, it seemed to come down to the wine's personality, and expressing that personality from start to the finish. The Kirkland wine seemed to give us a clear directive of where it was going, and then brought you exactly to that place with no surprise "re-routing" notifications along the way. The Whispering Angel wine is also a high quality wine that is very good, but it makes you work to figure out where it's going and then never really gives you that "arrived" alert to let you know that you've reached your destination. Interestingly enough, the "outlier" of our group who preferred the Whispering Angel wine, did note that after some time in the glass, the Kirkland wine closed the gap between the two wines to make for a difficult call.
Is it worth the extra $?
Despite the slight disagreement over wine preference, all three of us agreed that the Kirkland wine was of a very high quality, and that there is no need to spend the extra $7.89 on the Whispering Angel. Both are great wines, but for our money, the Kirkland packs a lot of punch and personality for only $10.
Quick side note here - if you approach either of these wines expecting something rich and sweet(ish), you won't find it here. Look to American producers for that style of Rosé. These two styles definitely have their place, just know what to expect before you plunk down the cash and pop the cork. We would suggest that these two French Rosé are more in the vein of "thinking wines" versus a "drinking wine" like many of their American counterparts that
we have tasted.
What do you think? French Rosé vs. American Rosé? Let us know.