Saturday, May 6, 2017

Cool Off With Rosé - A Dozen Pink Wines Reviewed

I love a crisp dry rosé any day of the year, but Spring and Summer are prime pink time for obvious reasons. Digging in to the first crop of last vintage’s rosé is fun yearly task, and I’ve got a whole bunch of (mostly) 2016 rosés to get your mouth watering as the weather heats up. 

Some of these are very widely available (like the Chronic Cellars, Kim Crawford and Laurent-Perrier Champagne), while some (like the smaller production pinks from Virginia) aren’t easy to find. But here are my notes on a bunch of rosés that were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2016 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Rosé - California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $30
Pale salmon color. Smells like nettle, rose hips and rhubarb along with white cherries and wild strawberries. Brisk and vibrant with medium-body and lip-smacking acidity. Bright white cherries and wild strawberries with notes of rose hips, flower stems, white pepper, chalk dust. Vibrant, clean, mineral-laden finish. Serious Pinot rosé, seriously delicious. Bring on Spring. From Dutton Ranch, Wat and Galante Vineyards. (90 points) 

2016 Cline Cellars Mourvedre Ancient Vines Rosado - California, San Francisco Bay, Contra Costa County
SRP: $13
Bright strawberry color. Nose shows white cherries and wild strawberries along with some white pepper and nettle. Medium-bodied with a fresh texture and bright acidity. Plump watermelon meets tart white cherries, and I get elements of baby’s breath, nettle and white pepper. Crisp, clean, refreshing, nice spicy kick on the finish. (87 points)

2016 Chronic Cellars Pink Pedals - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
SRP: $15
Medium watermelon color. Aromas of sweet red apples, white cherries and rose petals. Medium-bodied with a nice, plump texture and moderate acidity. Juicy watermelon and cantaloupe, with lemon and hints of baby’s breath. Fun stuff. Made from Grenache and 13% Syrah. (85 points) 

2016 M. Chapoutier Vin de Pays d'Oc Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rosé - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d’Oc
SRP: $15
Pale watermelon color. Aromas of sea salt, nettle and dandelion greens on top of wild strawberries and white cherries. Tart acidity makes this a lip-smacker, some creaminess and weight though. Tart white cherries and strawberries laced with nettle, lemon zest and fresh laundry. Vibrant, fresh, great for all kinds of occasions, foods and palates, this is a perennial performer for the money. 78% Grenache, 14% Cinsault, 8% Syrah. (87 points)

2015 Herdade do Esporão Alandra Rosé - Portugal
SRP: $8
Deep watermelon color. Fresh and bright on the nose with honeysuckle, rose petals, lime peel and white cherries. Crisp and dry and zesty with white cherries, sour red apple, watermelon rind, some white flower and cucumber water notes. Fresh, crowd-pleasing but shows surprising complexity. Delish and so solid for less than $10. A blend of Aragonês, Syrah and Touriga Nacional. (87 points)

2016 Kim Crawford Rosé - New Zealand, North Island, Hawke’s Bay
SRP: $18
Bright salmon color. Bursting aromas of strawberries and watermelon, lilies, white pepper and grapefruit. Medium-bodied palate with pleasant creaminess and zesty acidity. Tangy raspberry and strawberry fruit with a jolt of white pepper and jalapeno, some white flowers and rose hips. Lots going on here, crowd-pleasing and complex. A Merlot-based rosé. (88 points)

N.V. Laurent-Perrier Champagne Cuvée Rosé Brut - France, Champagne
SRP: $99
Bright salmon color. Nose shows chalky, dusty limestone, white flowers and pastry dough on top of some white cherries and wild strawberries. Brisk and bright and full of minerals and white and red flowers, I get lots of white cherries and tart strawberries. Chalky, limestone notes, sea salt and toasted baguette elements. Impressive complexity and depth, but it stays so lively and fresh. All Pinot Noir. (91 points)

2016 Early Mountain Vineyards Rosé - Virginia, Central Virginia, Madison County
SRP: $24
Pale strawberry color. Bright and brisk aromas of white and red flowers, white cherries, strawberries, some green herbs and perfume. Crisp and zesty on the palate with fresh strawberries and tart white cherry notes, a white tea, green herb and baby’s breath notes. A refreshing salinity and minerality. Lots going on here but so lip-smackingly delicious, too. 60% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec, alcohol 12.2%, whole-cluster pressed, stainless steel fermented. (89 points)

2016 King Family Vineyards Crosé - Virginia, Central Virginia, Monticello
SRP: $20
Rich watermelon color. Nose shows juicy peaches, nectarines and tart white cherries with white pepper, nettle and hyacinth. Bright and zesty palate, very perfumed (white flowers, perfume shop, a mass of honeysuckle, spiced floral tea), and some bright white cherry and watermelon rind fruit. Complex, generous texture, exciting yet straightforward and lively. 85% Merlot with some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. (87 points)

2016 Rosemont of Virginia Rosé - Virginia
SRP: $18
Color like watermelon Jolly ranchers. Nose of red apple, strawberry jam, rose petals, a note of cut flower stems. Medium-bodied with a fleshy texture and crisp, lip-smacking acid. This is a vibrant and crunchy dry wine with strawberries, juicy cherries and red apples, notes of honey, flowers, chalk dust, minerals and cheese rind. Wow, I am really surprised at how much I like this wine. Intensely fresh but also rich in fruit and flavor, very gluggable but showing solid complexity. All Chambourcin rose from a vineyard planted specifically for rosé. (89 points)

2016 Breaux Vineyards Rosé - Virginia, Northern Virginia, Loudoun County
SRP: $24
Pale watermelon color. Nose of McIntosh apple, sour cherry, raspberry leaf and bell pepper. A creamy, smooth, mouth-filling texture but dry and still very fresh. Red apple, strawberry, juicy fruit mixes with honeyed white tea, almond, white pepper, some Southern sweet tea (although tastes dry). Fun stuff. I like the combination of richness and spiciness in this wine. 38% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot. (87 points)

2016 Breaux Vineyards Cellar Selection Nebbiolo Rosé - Virginia, Northern Virginia, Loudoun County
SRP: $26
Medium copper color. Tons of white pepper and wild green herb aromas, lavender and roses on top of tart white cherry and strawberry fruit. Palate is 14.1% so there’s a creamy and even waxy texture but the acidity is lovely and supports white cherry, tart red plum and apple. Lots of white pepper and wild herbs and flowers, this is surprisingly complex, rich but vibrant, so delicious. All estate-grown Nebbiolo fermented in neutral oak and stainless steel. (90 points)

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

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