I don’t know many people who do not like Lillet. The first time I tried Lillet Blanc was at French Roast, a shit hole 24 hour french bistro on 6th ave and 11nth st. in NYC. It was the first time I was consciously sipping an “Aperitif” and wondering what it was and why it was so delicious, elegant and sexy.
Lillet Rose, the newest mark from Lillet, is a French Aperitif wine made from a blend of the same Grand Cru wines as the Blanc and Rouge, blended with a secret recipe of fruit liqueurs and then traditionally matured in oak casks, clocking in at 17% Alc/vol. The Rose won the Chairman’s Trophy in the Aperitif category for the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in 2011.
The nose is ridiculous, in the best way possible. On first whiff it smells like a freshly popped bottle of Grand Cru Champagne, followed by macerated concord grape skins. The Aperitif has a humidity to it which is palpable within the nose. Very appetizing. The smell of Rose wine grows out of the humidity along with floral notes of primrose, rose water, honeysuckle and then fades into an earthy, dewy, after-a-rainfall finish. Overall the nose is refined, sophisticated, timeless and it was whispering to me in a deep female voice saying “go on and drink me already”.
To my shock and dismay, the Rose isn’t very true to the Nose. It begins with a bright burst of tart sweetness, citrus peel and a strong wine base that happens all at once and then fades into a flabby, juice boxey, cumbersome version of it’s former self. The finish dries out really quickly into a dynamic candied orange zest.
Lillet encourages you to consume the products well chilled, which is made clear on the bottle. So I poured another taste over ice and was happy to discover that the cold brought everything together a bit more and cut through the flabbiness I had experienced while sipping it at room temperature.
Lillet Rose is incredibly light and dry with simultaneous fruit notes, and certainly does it’s job as an Aperitif, stimulating the appetite and leaving you wanting more…of something else, at least for me. I just kept sipping it thinking I would discover more layers reminiscent of the nose, but it never happened.