I’m hoping that by the time this column goes to print, I will have shed some of the layers that are keeping me from having frostbite in July.
If you can’t stand the cold, get out of the fridge, right? No more complaining.
Instead, I’m going to use my imagination and see if I can instantly warm up by pretending it is 80 degrees and sunny and I have my pick of rosés waiting to be opened in the backyard.
Which rosés would I choose to have at my beck and calling? That’s a hard one; there are so many I’d be happy to drink.
Good rosé is no longer just from the province of Provence. Several weeks ago, I wrote about rosés from Rioja. Today, I want to stick closer to home with some of my favorite domestic examples.
Even this is not as easy as it sounds, so instead of narrowing it down to three, here are six in two different categories.
Pinot noir instinctively makes fruity wines, and as it is light-colored to begin with, one might think it would be easy to make rosé from this grape. But pinot noir is also a notoriously difficult grape to cultivate and is pretty easy to mess up in the winery, so even with little ole rosé, you need to be careful.
Some of my favorites are Saintsbury Vin Gris 2010 ($14.99); Handley Cellars Pinot Noir Rosé, Estate Vineyard 2010 ($20); and Keller Estate Rosé, Sonoma Coast 2009 ($30).
Saintsbury is always fresh and lively, and relishes Carneros’ signature cherry character. Handley has more of a wild strawberry quality. Keller is a little pricy, but it has good complexity with an array of berry, citrus and mineral notes, so if you don’t mind surrendering a few extra bucks, give the winery a call and try a bottle before the 180 cases that were made disappear.
The Rhône varietals syrah, grenache and mourvedre are often used separately or in combination with each (or other grapes) to make rosés that have fruit and a little spice.
The Trium Grenache Rosé, Pheasant Hill Vineyard 2009 ($18) from the Rogue Valley in Oregon is one such gem. With white pepper, rhubarb, watermelon and strawberry tones, it is supremely refreshing.
Back in California, Meyer Family Cellars Dry Rosé of Syrah 2010 ($18) from the Yorkville Highlands is chock full of juicy black cherry, raspberry fruit invigorated by pinches of cinnamon, and black pepper. It has more body than you might expect — an influence no doubt from the addition of 15 percent petite sirah. Now in its fourth vintage, Dragonette Cellars Rosé 2010 ($19) — a blend of grenache (40 percent), mourvedre (40 percent) and syrah (20 percent) from the Santa Ynez Valley — has really hit its stride with a vibrant melange of red berries, spice and a touch of blood orange.
If you have difficulty finding any of these wines, try contacting the wineries, as many are available for direct sale.
Pamela S. Busch is the owner of Skrewcap.com, founder of CAV Wine Bar and a Bay Area wine consultant. Please submit your questions to Pamela@Skrewcap.com.