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Although we had a taste of Spring in February, the coming of warmer weather has been uneven at best, and our winter coats are not yet put away. We remain confident, however, that four or five months of rosé weather will soon arrive, and our first crop of pink wines, in all different shades, is ready and awaiting your perusal. Please note that quantities are very limited on many of these wines, and that some of our favorite wines (Guion, Bart and many others) were not produced in 2016 due to frost damage in the vineyards. Happier news is that rosés from the south of France seem particularly delightful in 2016, a bit brighter and more refreshing than the 2015s. And of course, our rosé selections are predominantly organic and fermented with wild yeasts, giving them more subtle, pure aromas and a lively minerality, making them superb pairings with a wide variety of cuisines...
As with most serious rosés, Roc d'Aubaga is really coming into its own with some time to evolve in the bottle. Dominik Huber of Terroir al Limit continues to defy expectations with bold, unique, yet relatively light wines from the sun-baked Priorat, famous for dense and powerful reds. Roc d'Aubaga is a whole cluster co-fermentation of Grenache Noir, Grenache Gris, and Grenache Blanc, with aromas of red currant, wild rose, and hibiscus, flowing onto the subtle yet exuberant palate of wild cherry and creamy berries, with watermelon pith, cherry pits, rose hips, tea leaf, chiseled minerality, fresh acid, and lots of length. Technically a clarete (blend of red and white grapes), this is a beautiful all-season rose, shining with richer duck dishes as well as grilled shrimp and summer vegetables. Ariana Rolich
I heartily recommend drinking more deeply pigmented rosés throughout winter (especially at holiday feasts). This is an addictive, fuschia-hued, slightly off-dry rosado of Garnacha from Maldivinas' prime vineyards in Cebreros, the heart of the Sierra de Gredos. Two-thirds of the fruit comes from vineyards on schist and one-third from granitic soils. The perfumed nose of hibiscus, wild flowers, and damp brown earth continues onto the wild, juicy palate of strawberry preserves, raspberry patch, and black tea. Lots of bright, tangy acidity is present to balance the rich, wild fruit and the touch of sugar that remains in the wine. An explosively delicious rosé for sipping and an inspired pairing for any cured or smoked pork products, dark poultry (like turkey or duck), Asian fare, cheeses, and fruity or chocolatey desserts. One barrel produced. Ariana Rolich
From a small parcel in the southern Beaujolais on clay and silica soils over limestone. Direct press, one day maceration, wild yeast fermentation, no chaptalization, minimal SO2. The 2014 Les Griottes shows light herbal raspberry, rose and stone aromas. The palate is light but long with stone, raspberry and citrus fruit, crisp acidity and a nice mouth-coating finish. A lovely dry rose with enough depth and character to accompany anything from oysters to chicken!
A perennial favorite is back! This is a classic Provencal rosé made from Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Rolle, and Mourvedre. Very pale pink color with aromas of peach, orange blossom, strawberry, and hints of cucumber. The wine is dry and mineral-driven on the palate with delicate peach skin and sweet spice. It’s fresh, delicious, and a fantastic value! Tim Gagnon
This is a consistently lovely Provencal rosé from a wonderful estate near Les Baux, certified organic for more than 30 years. (www.gourgonnier.com) Lovely aromas of berry fruits, peach and citrus. Refreshing, light-bodied palate with raspberry, citrus and mineral flavors finishing with crisp acidity. Showing well already, this should improve throughout the summer and will accompany a salade nicoise, chicken, lighter grilled meats.
This wine has a wonderful ability to combine elegance, power, class, and distinction. A blend of Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Grenache, the wine shows peach-y and stone fruit notes on the nose, mingling with the savory earth and iodine character of good Bandol Rosé. The palate offers silky textures, a certain voluptuousness, and a lovely balance of acidity to full ripe fruit. I drank this upon first release with very good results. It's bound to improve over the next few months, not to mention the next few years!
Domaine Saladin is an organic estate in the southern part of the Cotes du Rhône, and proudly states that their soils and vines have never been treated with herbicides or pesticides. Vinifications are with wild yeasts and minimal SO2 is used. The Tralala Rose is a lovely wine with superb, pure red fruit aromas of raspberry and strawberry. The palate is round but balanced with good acidity and the finish is long with pretty red fruits continuing at the end. A really well-made rose that drinks beautifully now and should improve over the next 12 months.
"The Crochet 2016 is shaping up to be among the finest vintages we’ve yet encountered. Gilles produces this wine from younger Pinot Noir vines in the “La Croix du Roy” vineyard, reserving those vines over 25 years of age for his exemplary Sancerre Rouge. Made via direct pressing with no maceration, it offers a similarly chiseled limestone character as Crochet’s white wines, but with fruit pitched toward the vibrant-red zone of the spectrum. While 2016 was a challenging growing season in many parts of northern France, Crochet was fortunate to have harvested decent quantities of very healthy grapes. Compared to the rich, broad-shouldered 2015, this 2016 is similarly dense and concentrated, but with more vibrant acidity and a more energetic personality. " Importer's Notes
From Pinot Noir grown on the limestone hills of Chavignol. Lovely very pale pink color, pretty aromas of red raspberry, tart strawberry, citrus and melon. The palate is very crisp and fresh with candied red fruits, citrus and stony acids that continue in the juicy and very mineral finish. This is one of the raciest rosés you can find, very elegant and refreshing - serve quite cool on a hot day with anything grilled, or just sip and enjoy....
The wines of Denis Jamain at the Domaine de Reuilly are getting better and better - his 2016 Rosé of Pinot Gris is from vines in conversion to organic and biodynamic certification, fermented with wild yeasts. The color is a lovely pale onion skin, the aromas are floral and pretty with gooseberry, peach and citrus. Light berry, peach and stone flavors on the palate are framed in firm acidity. With good ripeness, but subtle and balanced, this unique rosé will accompany a wide variety of foods, from fish to grilled meats and Asian foods, and it's lovely to sip by itself!
This Pinot Noir rosé is a blend of the saignée from villages and 1er cru fruit in Maranges, a straight pressing of Hautes Côtes de Beaune fruit, and pellicular maceration of fruit from Hautes Côtes de Beaune. Pale salmon in color and oh-so-fresh, the 2016 Sakura is a bit lighter than the very ripe 2015, with racy minerality, bright acidity, and vivid fruit. The nose combines fresh strawberry, cherry, and crushed herbs, while the refreshing palate features wild strawberry, savory minerality, and a lively, somewhat spicy finish. Try this perfect summer quaffer with marinated goat cheese, grilled chicken, or a salad made with heirloom tomatoes and fresh local greens. John McIlwain
Another delicious wine from the affable and talented Eric Laguerre, from organic Syrah, Carignan and Grenache vines grown on granite soils high in the mountains of the Roussillon. The 2016 EOS Rosé is a bit lighter and brighter than the 2015 with a lighter pink color and subtle aromas of raspberry, rose, peach and earth. The palate is refreshing and dry with hints of raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, almond and stone. Eric's great farming, his natural vinifications and the high-altitude granite terroir produce this lovely, inexpensive rosé. Highly recommended! DL
Matthiasson's 2016 rose is a familiar blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Counoise, with the surprising addition of a splash of Sauvignon Blanc to brighten and ripen up the flavors of this dry and nuanced rose, full of tart red berry fruit, with chewy cherry and raspberry skins and a refreshing bolt of orange and lime. Fermented and aged in stainless steel (malo was blocked to retain freshness) and landing at a cool 11.3% alcohol, this vintage of Matthiasson will have a seat at our patio table until it runs out! Ariana Rolich
Arnot-Roberts is always one of the first roses to arrive from California and, as such, our favorite harbinger of Spring! A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tempranillo, and Grenache (from Lake County, Amador, and Russian River Valley, respectively), full of breezy tropical guava, and passion fruit, fresh grapefruit, orange pith, bright acidity, and a touch of salt. A fun rose to pour all summer, particularly next to sauteed squid with olives, garlic and orange zest. Ariana Rolich
Idlewild's always-delicious rose of Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, and Barbera from Mendocino is more exciting every year! The grapes are co-fermented with native yeasts and aged in neutral oak on the lees for 4 months, lending textural complexity to complement the fresh fragrance and flavors of blood orange, watermelon, salty strawberry, and meadow flowers. Among roses, The Flower embodies a rare combination: yummy and complex. Ariana Rolich
A quite firm and crunchy rosé, the palate resonates with flavors of blood orange, red grapefruit, macerated strawberries and dried tarragon, along with meaty and savory undertones. The Mourvedre comes from old plantings at Bedrock Vineyard and Pagani Ranch in Sonoma Valley; the Grenache was planted in the 1880s at Gibson Ranch in McDowell Valley; the Carignane planted in the 1950s in Ukiah. A rosé that you could pound on the porch or have with a steak. Jonas Mendoza
Steve Edmunds has a way with Gamay, confirmed each year by the energy and depth of his red and rosé Bone Jolly wines. 2016 is light-bodied and fresh, taut and bright, with tingly acidity, tart cranberry, juicy sour cherry and citrus, and salty mineral earth. We look forward to every new vintage from Edmunds St. John. Let the adventure continue! Ariana Rolich
Gros Ventre inaugurated 2016 with a brand new rosé in their lineup. The pale salmon flesh hue of this Gamay and Pinot Noir blend hides a quite voluptuous wine on the palate with macerated strawberry, strawberry tops, and hibiscus flavors. The granite and volcanic soils the grapes were planted on magnify the texture and juiciness on the palate considerably. Jonas Mendoza
A 21st century rose made from very old vines of Mourvedre and Cinsault, blended with juicy Grenache and Vermentino, Birichino's 2016 Vin Gris is driven by savory, stony, salty (and even a hint smoky) dimensions, balanced by bright citrus, tangy stone fruits, and spicy florals. A highlight among the 2016 rose class and serious pairing for squid or grilled fish and invigorating aperitif. Ariana Rolich
Winemaker Angela Osborne of A Tribute to Grace is the master of varietal Grenache wines from California, admired for her skill in eliciting clear and elegant expressions from diverse single vineyards from north to south. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that her rose is one of the most respectful and delicious Grenache roses we have tasted. Freshness and finesse is achieved without sacrificing Grenache's natural voluptuousness and warmth, combining tangelo, roses, watermelon, strawberry, and cherry with delicate hibiscus, minerals, and spice, for an essential experience of the grape, brought to you by the best Grenache whisperer in the business. Ariana Rolich
Swick’s Pinot Noir rosé is one of the most complex rosés I’ve tasted from the Willamette Valley (let alone the rest of the United States). The rosé is a blend of organically farmed grapes from the Cancilla and Roots vineyards, which are cooler, higher altitude sites. With a light cherry robe, this wine has a kaleidoscopic range of flavors: blood orange, wild cherry, umeboshi plum, dried tarragon, and cured meats. A sumptuous rosé to have with Christmas dinner and to brighten even the darkest winter months! Jonas Mendoza
Zweigelt and (starting with this vintage) Pinot Noir sourced from Jutta's plots in Gumpoldskirchen, located about a thirty-minute drive south from Vienna in the Thermenregion of Austria. Limestone soils and old vines upwards of 50 years in age make for an elegant and lifted rosé: high-toned with notes of wild green strawberries, kumquat zest, and lemon oil. Cari Bernard
Direct press Pinot Noir rosé from the Pfalz! The 2016 vintage is just a touch lighter in body than 2015 with even more mineral cut; flavors of wild strawberry, white cherry, green melon, raspberry seed, and blood orange are vibrant and punched up by the mouth-watering acidity. Cari Bernard
Pale, peachy-pink in the glass, the nose hints at a stony minerality confirmed on the palate. This blend of Zweigelt, St. Laurent, and Pinot Noir is crisp with scintillating acidity and flavors of fresh green and red strawberries, white stone, and lemon juice. A touch more linear than the 2015 vintage, brisk and bright! Cari Bernard
Revisiting last year's vintage of rosé can at times be more rewarding than drinking the rosé when it's first released; and lucky for us, the 2015 BioRosé (100% Blaufränkisch) from Erwin Tinhof has been worth the wait. Re-tasted just this month (04/2017) the wine is showing no signs of fatigue: youthful, almost spritzig upon first opening, and more expressive than when it was first tasted last year. Fresh and forward on the palate with vibrant juicy strawberries and raspberries, orange zest, bracing acidity and a core of stony minerality. Cari Bernard
The first estate of the Dão to receive organic certification, Casa de Mouraz had since fully converted to biodynamic farming and remains committed to making wines which are pure expressions of the region’s terroir. Notes of cool papaya and mouthwatering sea salt surge forth in this blend of 40 year old Touriga Nacional, Portugal's noble and sturdy structure lending variety, Jaen, aka Mencia in neighboring Galicia, and the peppery Tinta Roriz grape raised in the granite soil of a single vineyard site. After just a few sips of this racy and electric rosé, you’ll be longing to hear the sweet, sweet sounds of crashing surf and fresh, juicy shrimp marinated in lime sizzling on a hot grill. Sydney Snyder
Provence, eat your heart out. This pale, refreshing rose is 100% Listán Negro from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, grown at the bottom of painstakingly-tended hoyos (the local name for the craters dug into the crunchy, black topsoil that coated the island of Lanzarote following a series of volcanic eruptions that started in 1730). One vine is planted at the bottom of each hoyo, which protect the plant from Lanzarote's relentless trade winds, along with stone walls of volcanic rock rimming the hoyos to prevent the sandy soil from blowing onto the vines. (In reality, the walls are constantly blown down and rebuilt. This is high-maintenance viticulture!) Bermejos' visionary winemaker, Ignacio Valdera, produces crystal-clear expressions of this unique and mystical vinescape. The rosado is pale, dry, and refreshing, with flavors of salty citrus, grapefruit, cherry skins, blood orange, rhubarb, and brine, with ash, orange oil and grapefruit rind on the finish. Complex yet crowd-pleasing. Ariana Rolich
Agustín García Farrais is the third generation grower and meticulous force behind Tajinaste, located on the Canary Island of Tenerife in the highlands of the DO Valle de La Orotava. For his rosado, Agustín uses Listán Negro grown at 600m. The elevation along with the constant Atlantic trade winds help to amplify freshness. The 2015 rosado is a stand out at an incredibly good value. Tantalizing aromas of tart blackberries, red cherries and ashy minerals leap from the glass and lead to persistent flavors of lush strawberries, crisp rhubarb and textured with flinty minerals. This rose drinks like a light red and would make an excellent match for flavorful grilled or smoked fish from Blue Moon. Amanda Bowman
Salmonido is a tart, supple, and sultry rosado of Pinot Noir, from a single hectare vineyard on poor, stony soils in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Granada. Savory, oxidative, and acidic, with tension between red currant and sour cherry with softer strawberry and musky raspberry fruit, with mineral, smoky depth. Pair with smoked salmon or tuna steaks with roasted red peppers. Ariana Rolich
Last call for Ameztoi's Rosé Txakolina! Rubentis combines old-vine Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza for a tart, tingly, and thirst-quenching rosé that is an exhilarating aperitif or pairing for fresh fish and salads. Red currant, rhubarb, lime zest, and strawberry fruit are heightened by abundant minerality, a touch of spritz, and that transportative salty streak that makes us misty for San Sebastian. Ariana Rolich
Viña Zorzal offers some seriously delicious wines from old vines for very little money (as fans of their delightful red Graciano can attest). This one honors the traditional wine of the Navarra region - rosado of Garnacha. The 2016 is lighter and fresher than ever, while retaining traditional deep hue and Garnacha spice! Fragrant red currant, raspberry, and pink peppercorn aromas lead to crunchy cranberry and strawberry fruit flavors, with zesty pink grapefruit and tropical and herbal undertones on the finish. The label features a popcorn kernel pattern because Xabi Sanz of Zorzal recommends it as an accompaniment to popcorn and a movie. We look forward to giving that pairing a try! Ariana Rolich
It is hard to overstate how awesome Sara Perez and Rene Barbier Jr. are at making rosé! We fell in love with their "clarete" for Venus La Universal, a blend of red and white grapes from the Montsant, co-fermented and aged in very old barrels. Now we have the pleasure of receiving their first rosé from the Priorat: Partida Pedrer Rosat. These are rosé wines to dine with and dream about, with ample depth and elegance to negate any concerns about 14% alcohol rosé. An unusual blend of Garnacha and Monastrell from a single vineyard, fermented for 6 months and aged in 10+ year-old barrels for 9 months. Aromas of watermelon, choke cherries, cinnamon, slate, and rose petals wash onto the palate of raspberry and dark, wild herbs, spicy rose, and soft, rosey cherry. Never has a big rose from a hot region tasted so long, mineral, and cooling. I would love this wine with a curried fish dish or hearty steamed clams with chorizo, chard, and pink peppercorns. Ariana Rolich
I fell in love with the Bonavita estate originally through their indomitable red wine, which is delicate, spicy, and intense. It is continuously one of the most fascinating reds I’ve tasted from Sicily. Happily, the rosato holds as much allure while being even more accessible. Fairly deep ruby for its quick maceration of 12 hours, the nose is packed with rich red fruit, purple florals, notes of cardamom and allspice or cinnamon with an undeniable freshness and lift. The wine is effusive on the palate with fresh strawberries, ripe cherries, and red apple skin, a persistent spiciness, and just a whisper of ripe tannin quickly relieved by bracing acidity. I find the wine mesmerizing and stellar with all kinds of food. Andy Paynter
Produced in the historic DOC of Botticino near Bresica, Grace is a delicious still rosato from one of our favorite producers of Italian bubbles. Made from a blend of Barbera, Schiava, Marzemino, and Sangiovese it is very pale and delicate in the glass with aromas of juicy orchard fruit and tart strawberries with rose petals and woody herbs. The palate has a fairly rich texture with mouth watering acidity and a crisp mineral finish, refreshing with fresh fruit and a savory cut. Pair with grilled chicken, herbed potato salad, soft cheese or simply drink on a nice hot summer day. Andy Paynter
A truly exciting discovery from eastern Georgia. In Tibaani, Khaketi, a rare clone of Rkatsiteli grows in John Wurdeman's vineyards of brown alluvial soil with sandstone and quartz. Aged in qvevri buried in the earth with one month skin maceration, the wine shows an electric raspberry robe in the glass. Aromas of dried apricot mingle with walnuts and wildflower honey. A crunchy acidity gives lip-smacking texture to flavors of red cherries, almond skin and ripe strawberries. Fine, grippy tannins make this rose perfect for a cool summer evening with grilled chicken or as a serious aperitif. Amanda Bowman