Saturday, August 11, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Rosés...

Everyone who knows me, knows I love love love Rosé! And, everyone who knows me also knows how I am always complaining I can never find any... I recently took a trip to California and my goal was to sample and bring home as many bottles of Rosé because now is the time you should be enjoying them! It's hot and it's the middle of Summer and nothing says "Summertime" like Rosé!

But what is Rosé and why is it so scarce in other parts of the country. First, I would like to say that NO, Rosé is not White Zinfandel. White Zinfandel was an accident that happened in Napa Valley in the 1970s and if that is your beverage of choice, great--however, I'm here to give you a small tutorial why you should embrace Rosé. Rosé is dry--usually but not necessarily over 13% alcohol. They are often small production and not often distributed nationwide which makes them a lot harder to find!

There are several ways a winemaker makes Rosé. If their primary purpose is to do this and this only, they will allow the juice to come in contact with the skins for a brief amount of time, enough to provide a pink color. The longer the skin contact, the deeper the color. Rosé can be made from almost any red varietal and the more I explore this category the more I am finding more and more interesting ones to choose from. The second way is Saignée method. This method is when a winemaker decides, while making red wine, that he or she needs to remove some of the pink juice in order to impart more color or tannin to their reds. The resulting juice is fermented making Rosé . The third way is to blend white wine with red wine. I wouldn't concern myself too much with this method. Rarely happens enough to mention...

California is a virtual smorgasbord of Rosé especially this time of year! I found many appealing and I have chosen just a fraction of them to discuss here...Please seek these wines out. They are delicious and enjoyable on hot days like today:

2011 Pink Girl Rosé of Syrah--Last Fall I had the pleasure of meeting Tina Carpenter in Napa. Tina is the wife of Chris Carpenter, winemaker for Cardinale in Napa Valley. "Pink Girl" is her project. The wine comes from grapes sourced in the Coombsville AVA (Napa Valley's newest AVA) and Tina designs the beautiful label (even adding a Swarovski crystal to it). She had a larger than life, awesome personality which made the whole room light up! She handed me a bottle of the 2010 which I tried recently before I had the chance to retry it again when a friend brought it to dinner. This time, it was the 2011. I love it. The flavors were subtle (cranberry, pomegranate) and refreshing! Two hours of skin contact for this one. Under $20. Found at many retailers in the bay area. Delicious!

2011 Cline Cellars Contra Costa County Mourvedre Rosé---OK, it was a frantic Tuesday all around and Cellarmistress was about an hour late to her appointment at Cline Cellars. Stuff happens, phones quit working, where was technology when I needed it? But I was focused and I knew when I got there, I would want to purchase this wine. Why? Because it is one of the BEST value Rosés in the state of California. For under $15, you are getting a mouth full of flavors---plummy pomegranate and then some. At this price, I want more more more!! I hope they make a lot. This wine could definitely be a staple in my collection!

2011 Acorn Winery Rosato---As you can see from the photo above, the hue on this wine is absolutely gorgeous and stunning! A bright bright red and the flavors coming out of this wine will wow you! This comes from overnight skin contact! Part of this wine is made using the Saignée method. This wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Cabernet Franc and Viognier. Bet you've never had one like this!! If you haven't discovered this tucked away, small family winery in Sonoma County (Healdsburg), I highly recommend you do. They are wonderful and the wines they make from their Alegria Vineyard (which I feel blessed and fortunate to have toured) will make you smile. A small labor of love and a lot of great wines! This one hails for $22 and pairs nicely with just about anything! Thank you to Bill and Betsy Nachbaur, the winery's proprietors for turning me on to such a nice wine!

2011 Cornerstone Cellars Stepping Stone Corallina Rosé--I can't say enough great things about this winery, located in Yountville. This Rosé is the one that got the ball rolling for me! I received a sample of this from my friend Craig Camp, managing partner of the winery, right before I went on vacation and it rocked my world! This Syrah Rosé is blended with a little bit of Grenache and even undergoes a few months of barrel fermentation to smooth it out. Bone dry with creamy strawberry flavor and a fuller mouthfeel. It is simply amazing and you must get some! $20.

2011 Waterstone Winery Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon---On the last day of my trip, I sat in this cute little tasting room called Taste At Oxbow in Napa and sipped this pretty wine all afternoon. The bottle sold for $18 and was floral and fruity at the same time! Bone dry and flavorful--lots of stawberry and rhubarb...I would have purchased more and taken it with me if I'd have had room in my shipper box. But alas, I didn't. So I'll hopefully get more on my next trip!

For my last
Rosé, I wanted to write about something I hold very near and dear to my heart. Sometimes a varietal comes along that you've never tried before and it becomes sort of a quest to find it. How many of you have heard of Charbono? I didn't think so. But I found some up in Calistoga, the northern most part of Napa Valley, at a small family-owned winery called Summers Estate Wines. This varietal is rustic and hearty and this Rosé is a perfect match with spicy foods! (I had mine with fish tacos--muy bueno!!). The flavors are reminiscent of a cherry-berry explosion! They also make a red varietal Charbono which would stand up to stews and Italian foods really well. But folks, this one is winery only, so you'll have to visit them and you should!! $22.

So there you have it! These are some of my favorite recommended Rosés of the season! Get them while you can and enjoy the last days of Summer with these treats!!

For more information on these wineries and wines, please visit the following websites:

"You Saw It Here First!" This post was written solely for Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk. Cellarmistress is an Italian-born, American-bred wine blogger/educator with a huge passion for wine and everything it encompasses!

1 comment:

  1. If you have a chance to visit the southern Rhone region of France, consider a trip to the Tavel AOC. The only type of wine made there is Rosé, so they have elevated the style there for a long time. One winemaker said that the pretenders stopped making "pink wine", which has allowed the better artesans to become more well known. It's funny and serious all at once.