It is no secret that the rosé category has grown exponentially in the last years in the U.S. creating a strong following in a style that is here to stay. Inevitably the warmer months of the year call for a refreshing sip, but rosé is slowly becoming an all-year affair.
For a wine drinker like myself who likes to experiment with out-of-the-box wines made from uncommon varietals for the educational purpos,e I have to admit I need to grow my rosé game at home.
Thanks to friends and family, I have tasted my fair share in the last couple weeks, from visiting family in New York City, to poolside gatherings in Napa, and also an invitation to Gott’s Roadside to learn about their rosé selections for the season.
Rosé comes in different shades of pink along with several sweetness or dryness levels, acidity and bitter components. Historically, I’ve been a big fan of a number of bottlings that I have served at several restaurants like Buoncristiani Vineyards Rosato, which delivers color, intensity and flavor with a blend of Syrah and Malbec ($22), On the crisp and sharp category nothing quenches the thirst like Azur Rosé of Syrah crafted by Julien Fayard delivering a savory acid and sharp wine($32).
L’ Artishasic, a powerful and elegant wine composed of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah from the Sierra Foothills, is quite a serious wine bringing elements of dried orange peel, green tea and rich finish ($38).
Another constant is the elegant Pret a Boire Rosé made by the artistic Heidi Barrett by blending Syrah and Grenache certainly a notch or two up on aromatics, intensity and price, worth $75? I think if you’re celebrating why not but you need to try it for yourself.
In the Pinot Noir category, we find an array of delicate, balanced and nuanced examples like ARNYCA Cellars Russian River Valley, a gem hitting all the markers watermelon flesh and rind, tangy and enticing ($35).
Another great Pinot Noir example I tried a couple days ago for the first time is Clo du Val. Sourced from their Carneros Estate, this wine was electric on the attack with a hint of stone fruit, rose petal and a cleansing finish ($30).
Cinsault or Cinsaut is a naturally spicy and zippy varietal with roots in the southern Rhône. Curiously enough, some of the oldest plantings in the world can be found in California.
A number of wineries have been experimenting with this varietal, which brings life to the party. Ernest Vineyards, for example, makes a great wine from Le Mistral Vineyard in the Central Coast expressing a blood orange, spicy wine with plenty of appeal ($22).
From the Kick Ranch Vineyard, located in Sonoma County, I had the pleasure of tasting Cellar Collection’s rendition to rosé offering a savory and mouthwatering approach, a jolt of acidity and minerals with a dried strawberry finish ($19).
Kanpai “Hi No Tori”, a newcomer into the market made by Steve Matthiasson from Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, delivers an herbal toned wine with a creamy texture. And all the proceeds go to the Napa Fire Relief Fund ($25).
Speaking of a great cause, The Monarch Challenge Rose ($24) aims to promote clean farming while delivering an epic wine worth drinking every day.
Another killer offering, this one from Valdiguie, is made by Jolie Laide, bringing a feminine tone with bright fruit ($28).
If you’re into minuscule production wines made with a lot of heart, look for Campesino ‘Isa’ Rosé, which rested six months in neutral French oak made of 100 percent Sonoma Coast Grenache and delivering, blood orange, thyme and ginger ($20).
From the Gott’s Roadside tasting, which highlighted international and domestic rosés, the following Californians stood out:
LIOCO Rosé of Carignan from Mendocino County with a wild factory of strawberry, lime zest and a long, dry finish with a light color profile ($20).
Cline Contra Costa County Rosé of Mourvèdre, which showed a rich and intense color flashy aromas of cotton candy, caramel and currant and a mouthful of flavor with plum and lime, a try California sunshine style ($18).
The iconic Lorenza celebrating over a decade of production delivering an exotic and vibrant style composed of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault and delivering a refreshing summer celebration of citrus, white peach and lime ($19).
Another wine that stood out during the tasting was Bedrock Ode to Lulu California rosé made of Mourvèdre and Grenache and offering a bold and muscular take with loads of fresh fruit punch, juicy mouthfeel and long finish that paired great with the featured Kimchi Burger with fried egg, American cheese and Zoe’s bacon with spicy Gochujang mayo.
We have to be thankful and remember that the rosé category is here to offer an everyday porch drinker to celebrate friendships, family and summer delivering memorable wines without breaking the piggy bank, at least in most cases.
Go out and find your favorite. Cheers!