Rose Wine from Lodi and France: Pair With Grilled Tuna, Fruit for Taco Tues

Taco Tuesday! Rose Day! Judgment of Lodi! #WineStudio!

What do these have in common?

  1. Rose Day is the second Saturday of June; in 2017, that is Sat. June 10.
  2. Last weekend I was on a press trip to Lodi CA where I bought a case of wine, including four bottles of ROSE!
  3. Lodi Wine Commission recently did a blind tasting that compared Lodi wines with those from other parts of the world to see how they measured up; read Nancy Brazil’s report on it here. 
  4. We bought a whole tuna in May so that we could make tuna tacos for Taco Tuesday to pair with rose.
  5. #WineStudio this month features rose, and on June 6, we had three samples from Paul Mas.
  6. #WinePW has a grillables theme that got us going on the grill.
  7. The blind tasting we did of five rose wines from around the world was FUN!

So for this month’s Taco Tuesday post, we celebrated rose day early with a comparison of two rose wines from France with two rose wines from Lodi a las the Judgement of Paris aka the Judgement of Lodi and paired them with grilled ahi tuna with grilled fruit. Read on for the results!

yes that’s a tuna taco

The Menu

  • Chips, Salsa, and Homemade Guacamole with Cumin and Olive Drop Chile EVOO
  • Grilled Zucchini with Olive Drop Balsamic Vinegar and Lemon EVOO
  • Strawberries on Rosemary Skewers with Balsamic and Basil EVOO
  • Tacos: Grilled tuna, grilled stone fruit, blueberry goat cheese, Great Basin Bakery spiced walnuts, Olive Drop Chile EVOO, baby greens, folded into Trader Joe’s handmade corn tortillas.


The sweet, succulent, sensuous, and savory flavors of the grilled tuna with the grilled fruit were a fabulous match for these delicate, floral, fruity, fresh rose wines.

The Wines

2016 – Acquiesce – Grenache Rose – Lodi – 13.3% $24
2016 – Arrogant Frog – Rose (Lily Pad Pink: Syrah) – Sud De France – 13% alcohol – SRP $10
2016 –  Cote Mas – Rose Aurore (Rhone Blend) – Sud de France – 13% alcohol – SRP $10
2016 – McCay – Rose of Grenache – 12.5% alcohol SRP $18

We were sent the two French wines to participate in #WineStudio. As they are Grenache and Syrah wines, we went with the rose of Grenache wines from Lodi as opposed to the Zinfandel ones I bought. I also had a sample of M. Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone Belleruche Rose 2015 which retails for $15; I suspect this would have been a better match for the comparative tasting but as we already had three rose open for the twitter chat, and planned to open two from Lodi, we were a bit reluctant to open another and I lacked room to chill it in the fridge!

What wine glass should you use and what temperature should you serve your rose wine?

I’ve tried rose wine in every glass imaginable, and at every temperature from room to cellar temperature to icy cold from the fridge. Last weekend in Lodi, at least one winemaker said to serve rose at cellar temperature — that we should treat it more like the red wine that the grapes are sourced from than a white wine.  So during our June 6, 2017 #WineStudio twitter tasting, I asked #WineStudio folks and Paul Mas winemaker Jean-Claude Mas about his thoughts on wine temp as well as glasses. His response?

“Rose should be the same temp as white wine: start cooler than the cellar at refrigerator temp and let it come up on the table,” advises Jean-Claude Mas.

Temperature-wise, #WineStudio folks had a wide range of responses like mine, and one thing we all appreciated is that if it’s a bit cold, no worries with rose: let it sit out and warm up and enjoy the variances! This makes rose ideal for a party or picnic because no need to worry about the ice bucket!

I found that these wines were at their best in a Lennox Pinot Grigio glass.

Blind tasting Rose

Three of the four bottles were screw top; I had a pretty good idea which was the wine with the cork and the distinct bottle shape but Sue had no idea about any of them.

“Damn we are good sometimes,” said Sue. “We guessed right about which wines were French and which were from Lodi.”

#1 – 2016 – McCay – Rose of Grenache – 12.5% alcohol SRP $18 (sample)

When you talk about summer in a glass, this wine is redolent of summer fruit, peach and apricots with a lot of richness and fullness on the palate. It has a lot of body and character for a rose. This is a rich wine: as it rests on your palate it warms to it and embraces it.

You can see by the color that is a rose, i.e. a white wine made of red grapes; it’s a lovely rosey gold. On the palate, in addition to the stone fruit, it offers tropical fruit, melon, and banana with baking spices on the finish at the very end of the finish.

We both felt that this was the Lodi wine due to the big fruit forwardness and the boldness of the fruit.

This wine can stand up to our tuna, with all the oils and flavors that were going on in our tacos, fruit, pumpkin pie spice; this led us to believe this would be fantastic with ham. Our tacos brought out a salinity in the wine that was not prevalent prior to having this wine with food. This would also be a great brunch wine.

From the McKay website: This Dry Rose’ of Grenache exhibits notes of Strawberry, Stone Peach with hints of Red Ruby Grapefruit. Well balanced and round through the palate crafted in a traditional old world style using Native fermentation and produced in stainless steel. Appellation: Lodi  Alcohol: 12.5% Residual Sugar: Dry Bottling Date: 3/21/16, Production: 453 cases / Native Fermentation by Winemaker: Michael J McCay.

#2 -2016 –  Cote Mas – Rose Aurore – Sud de France – 13% alcohol SRP $11 for 1 liter (sample)
Blend of 30% Cinsault 20% Syrah, 50% Grenache Noir

Paler in color than #1, almost like a baby pink, a pastel, baby shower pink. It offers more minerals and citrus on the nose, slight cinnamon, and carnation.

We guessed this was a French rose even before we asked each other where it was from because it is very clean and crisp, with lots of minerals and citrus.

It is very light in body and just a tad bit of fruit and floral come out on the palate, but still citrus and mineral; fruit is not evident. This is a very light wine and may not stand up to bigger bolder flavors. Save it for your more subtle picnic fare like an egg or chicken salad sandwich. Seems like it would do well with fresh garden herbs.

A bit more minerality came out in the wine when paired with food but it did not stand up well with our tacos or even marry the flavors.

This is a fun friendly wine: a pool party wine, because you are not always eating when you are swimming!

Our food did not enhance this wine. If you pair food with this wine it needs foods that are not rich or fat with oil. I would be curious how it would go with oysters… and it is definitely better and more refreshing when it is cold!

Easy to drink and enjoy. Great for a party as long as people aren’t expecting it to taste sweet like white zin!

# 3 – 2016 – Arrogant Frog – Rose (Lily Pad Pink) – Sud De France – 13% alcohol – Under $10 (sample)
100% syrah

Very catchy label. Love the picture of the frog standing in the vineyard! For the price this is an amazing wine!

This wine is extremely subtle in character, in color, a pale pretty pink, on the nose, very delicate and slightly discernible, herbal nose and a hint of rose, but did not know if that was from the power of suggestion with the roses sitting on the table and the name of the wine! On the palate, this wine is light, fresh and clean. If we were to have put these in an order we should have placed this first.

Our guess was that this wine was French because of the crisp, subtle flavors.

This wine went very well with our tuna tacos with all of the crazy flavors going on, It worked. It would also go great with chicken and snapper, what a great summer sipper. Very nice wine with picnic food. Serve this wine with a watermelon, mint and feta salad

#4 – 2016 – Acquiesce – Grenache Rose – Lodi – 13.3% SRP $24 (purchase; industry discount) 

I met Acquiesce winemaker Sue Tipton on my recent trip to Lodi where I tasted this wine, fell in love, and knew I waned to write about it for Rose Day.

This is not as dark as the McKay but richer color than the French wines: deeper pink, yet still light like a rose.

“love this bottle, love this label, love this wine”

You might pay a bit more for this beautiful wine in this the beautiful bottle but it’s worth it.

We found that the Lodi roses were deeper in color,  but this wine is very different than the other three; it’s in a category all its own, and in fact it earned 90 Points plus Editor’s Choice from Wine Enthusiast and the wine sells out every year.

We noticed a slight bit of effervescence upon opening but that effervescence faded immediately; the bit of effervescence may be because of recent bottling of this wine.  Fruit in the mouth for us was cherry, particularly rainier cherries, plus minerality — more clay than stone, more silt and mud, than rock or sand.

We felt that this was also a Lodi wine, even though I felt that it was more French than other rose. There’s a fleshiness on the palate, and a beauty and a balance.

The lovely slight spiciness of the chili oil, the sweetness of the grilled fruit and the wine was so beautiful, It can handle complex foods, it brings out different complexities of the wine. You want to eat and sip then sip and eat and enjoy everything the food and the wine has to offer. Also went nicely with our grilled strawberries.

I can not wait to enjoy another bottle!

Happy Rose Day!

2 thoughts on “Rose Wine from Lodi and France: Pair With Grilled Tuna, Fruit for Taco Tues

  1. Pingback: On Grill: Salmon, Squash, Stone Fruit; In Glass: Square Peg Pinot Noir for #WinePW | wine predator

  2. Pingback: #RoséAllMay? #RoséAllDay! Three Rosé from Oregon with sushi, salad, seafood skewers for #AirportRules | wine predator

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