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2011 Vintage Rosé Round-up

Friday, June 29, 2012

Well folks, summer is finally upon us (right?). Yes, I know for wetsiders in Washington the season doesn’t officially begin until July 5th, but our eastern Washington counterparts have been baking in the summer sun for some time. The equinox has already passed, and besides, July 4th is almost upon us! So it’s time to break out the barbeque and serve up some pink wine. Let’s get to it.

Below are reviews from a number of rosés I have sampled from the 2011 vintage. Overall, this was an interesting vintage with a number of wineries making their first pink wines, including Gramercy Cellars, Maison Bleue, and Kerloo Cellars. In general, the cool growing season lent itself well to making rosés. As usual, I found wines crafted from grapes picked deliberately with rosé in mind to be the standouts.

As I’ve written before, pink wines get snapped up quickly in the Northwest – often before the summer season is even upon us – so make haste in stocking up your cellar for the warm days ahead. Summer is officially here!

Gramercy Cellars Rosé Olsen Vineyard Columbia Valley 2011 $25

(Excellent/Exceptional) Pale salmon with a slight pink tinge, slightly cloudy as the wine is unfined and unfiltered. An aromatically appealing wine with watermelon, raspberry, and cherry. The palate is incredibly textured and drawn out with a lingering, sour cherry-filled finish. 50% Cinsault, 25% Grenache, 25% Syrah. Olsen Vineyard. Fermented and aged in stainless steel with 100% malolactic fermentation. Unfined and unfiltered. 13.2% alcohol. 97 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed April 25, 2012

Maison Bleue La Famille Rosé of Mourvedre Yakima Valley 2011 $20

(Excellent/Exceptional) Pale salmon colored with a slight copper tone. Lightly aromatic but with great complexity with orange zest, strawberry, and spice. Palate is medium bodied and textured, drawing out for such a long time it’s impossible to separate where the palate stops and the finish begins. As compelling a rosé to come out of Washington to date. 90% Mourvedre (Olsen) and 10% Grenache (Boushey). Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 12.5% alcohol. 420 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed April 25, 2012

Cote Bonneville Cabernet Franc Rosé Yakima Valley 2011 $30

(Excellent) Pale salmon colored. An aromatically fascinating wine with pepper, spice, earth, and tomato leaf. The palate is dry and tart with a drawn out feel. 120 cases produced.

Fjellene Cellars Rosé Columbia Valley 2011 $18

(Excellent) The 2011 Fjellene Cellars Rosé is easily one of my favorites from the 2011 season, displaying intense fruit flavors while still remaining light on its feet. Pale pink, this is an aromatically generous wine with bubble gum, spice, orange peel, and a light herbal note. The palate is shimmers with intensity, absolutely loaded with fruit flavors, so much so that it almost comes off as sweet – but it’s not. 100% Syrah. Art Den Hoed Vineyard. 12.1% alcohol. 150 cases produced.

Gilbert Cellars Rosé
of Mourvedre Columbia Valley 2011 $14
(Excellent) A very pretty, pale salmon color. An aromatically pleasing wine with spice and abundant sour cherry notes. The palate is tart, crisp, and bone dry with a white pepper filled finish. 100% Mourvedre. 80% 24K and 20% Chukar Vineyard. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 100% malolactic fermentation. 790 cases produced. Reviewed April 30, 2012

Juliette’s Dazzle Rosé Columbia Valley 2011 $15
(Excellent) An aromatic wine with watermelon, strawberry, and apple blossom. The palate starts out broad and fruit filled with cherry and orange rind then pulls back for a tart, crisp finish. An extremely enjoyable wine at an excellent price. 98 Pinot Grigio, 2% Sangiovese. The Benches. 13.3% alcohol, TA 0.7, Residual Sugar 1%. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed May 21, 2012

Kerloo Cellars Grenache Rosé Yakima Valley 2011 $19

(Excellent) This is the first rosé release from this upstart Walla Walla winery and it’s a winner – although production is microscopic. Pale salmon colored, this is an aromatic wine with lilacs, red fruit, white pepper, and a light gamey note. The palate is dry and broad, full of red fruit flavors. 100% Grenache. Angiolina Farms. 12.1% alcohol. 22 cases produced.

Barnard Griffin Rosé of Sangiovese Columbia Valley 2011 $12
(Good) Electric pink. A moderately aromatic wine with watermelon, candied cherry, and spice. The palate is tart and fruit filled, a bit weighty at times, with strawberry and rhubarb flavors with mouthwatering acidity. Wallula, Va Batavia, Gunkel, Lonesome Spring Ranch, and Crawford vineyards. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 12.1% alcohol, 0.85 TA, trace residual sugar. 6,950 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Recommended Reviewed May 21, 2012

Brian Carter Cellars Abracadabra Rosé Columbia Valley 2011 $20

(Good) No surprise that this pink wine from Brian Carter’s eponymous winery boasts a diverse lineup of grapes, true to his dedication to blending. Pale salmon colored, this is a moderately aromatic wine with watermelon and cherry. The palate is full of red fruit flavors and spice. 44% Sangiovese, 20% Syrah, 18% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, and 8% Cinsault. Fermented in neutral barrels. 196 cases produced.

Charles & Charles Rosé Columbia Valley 2011 $11
(Good) Pale salmon colored. Lightly aromatic with watermelon, spice, herbal notes, and a very light game note. The palate is crisp and clean, medium weight with abundant fruit flavors. Drinks just a hair off-dry. 100% Syrah. 37% Don Talcott, 23% Art Den Hoed, 17% Nate Den Hoed, 11% Clifton Bluff, 10% Suholdonik, and 2% Clifton vineyards. 13% alcohol. Recommended Reviewed May 21, 2012

DeLille Doyenne Rosé Yakima Valley 2011 $23

(Good) DeLille’s 2011 rosé is made up of 63% Grenache and 37% Mourvedre. Pale copper colored with a slight orange tinge, it is a moderately aromatic wine with orange peel, red fruit, and spice. The palate is dry and drawn out with alcohol showing through at times. 14.1% alcohol.

Goedhart Family Rosé of Syrah Bel’ Villa Vineyard Red Mountain 2011 $NA

(Good) Red Mountain is known for its bold, tannic reds. Rosés? Somewhat rare beasts. Here the Goedhart Family, which dedicates itself to the production of Syrah from Bel’ Villa Vineyard, shows that it can be done and done well. Pale pink, this is an aromatically appealing wine with bubble gum, strawberry, and watermelon. The palate is dry and fruit filled. Recommended

L’Ecole No 41 Grenache Rosé Alder Ridge Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2011 $19

(Good) An aromatic wine full of red fruit, orange peel, and citrus. The palate is medium bodied, full of red fruit flavors with the alcohol occasionally making its presence felt. 100% Grenache. Fermented in neutral barrels and then moved to stainless steel. 1.0% Residual Sugar. 6.8g/L TA. 14.5% alcohol. 190 cases produced.

Northwest Wine Academy Rosé Wine Yakima Valley 2011 $13

(Good) This is a blend of grapes that seems almost inconceivable to believe it would work but it does. Pale copper colored, this a very lightly aromatic wine with cherry, spice, and apple aromas. The palate is dry, tart, and drawn out with a whole lot of acid. 51% Nebbiolo, 23% Mourvedre, 15% Cinsault, 11% Cabernet Franc. 89% Gilbert, 11% Lubin vineyards. 12.3% alcohol.

Renegade Rosé Columbia Valley 2011 $10

(Good) Very pale salmon colored. Brightly aromatic with floral notes, watermelon, and cherry. The palate is just a hair off dry, full of spice and cherry flavors. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre. 12.5% alcohol. 500 cases produced. Recommended

Robert Ramsay Rosé Columbia Valley 2011 $18

(Good) Pale copper colored. Lightly aromatic with strawberry and spice. The palate is just a hair off dry with plump fruit flavors. Alcohol shows through at times. 62% Grenache, 19% Cinsault, 18% Syrah, and 1% Viognier. Upland, McKinley Springs, and Red Heaven vineyards. 14.1% alcohol. 129 cases produced.

Sleight of Hand Cellars Magician’s Assistant Columbia Valley 2011 $18

(Good) Pale salmon colored. Lightly aromatic with cherry and spice. The palate drinks dry with a textured mouthfeel and tart fruit flavors. 100% Cabernet Franc. Blackrock Vineyard. Fermented in stainless steel and neutral oak. 12.7% alcohol. 0.19% Residual Sugar. Recommended

Syncline Wine Cellars Rosé Columbia Valley 2011 $18
(Good) A very pretty pale salmon colored. A lightly aromatic wine with strawberry, spice, and grapefruit notes. The palate is tart and crisp full of citrus flavors. 35% Cinsault, 32% Mourvèdre, 21% Grenache, 7% Counoise, 5% Carignan. Milbrandt, McKinley Springs, Coyote Canyon, Alder Ridge, Ciel du Cheval, and Heart of the Hill. Whole cluster pressed, fermented and aged in stainless steel. No malolactic fermentation. 13.8% alcohol. 630 cases produced. Recommended Reviewed June 27, 2012

Tranche Cellars Pink Pape Dry Rosé Wine Columbia Valley 2011 $16

(Good) Tranche’s inaugural rosé in 2010 was a runaway success and was gone in the blink of an eye. The 2011 offering will do doubt suffer the same fate on both accounts. A very pretty, pale salmon color, this is an aromatically restrained wine with strawberry, cherry, and bubblegum notes. The palate is fruit filled with a broad feel with watermelon flavors and a crisp finish. Counoise, Cinsault, and Syrah. Blackrock Estate Vineyard. Recommended

Waterbrook Sangiovese Rosé Columbia Valley 2011 $12
(Good) Pale cherry red. A little reductive initially this wine opens to reveal candied strawberry, cherry, and spice. The palate drinks dry and is light bodied with tart, sour cherry flavors that turn to raspberry toward the finish. 100% Sangiovese. Oasis and Canyon Ranch vineyards. Aged 3 months in stainless steel. 12.0% alcohol. 1.1% Residual Sugar. TA 0.75. 1,657 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed May 21, 2012

Trust Cellars Cabernet Franc Rosé Columbia Valley 2011 $18

(Good) Fruit for this wine comes from Sagemoor Vineyard and is grown specifically for rosé each year. This pale orange/pink wine is aromatically appealing with orange peel, watermelon, and spice. The palate is just off dry, tart and medium bodied with abundant cherry flavors and mouthwatering acidity. 100% Cabernet Franc. 219 cases produced. Recommended

Dusted Valley Ramblin’ Rosé Stoney Vine Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2011 $24

(Decent/Good) This is the second release of Dusted Valley’s Ramblin’ Rosé from their Stoney Vineyard Estate in the Rocks region of the Walla Walla Valley and is mostly a southern Rhone-style pink wine with a dash of Petite Sirah. Aromatically it shows some of the Rocks earthy funk along with bubble gum and strawberry. The palate is broad and drawn out with red fruit flavors. 46% Grenache, 18% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, 5% Petite Sirah, 1% Viognier. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 7.6g/L TA. 14.2% alcohol. 390 cases produced.

CAVU Cellars Barbera Rosé Alder Ridge Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2011 $20

(Decent) Pale salmon colored with a slight cherry tinge. A moderately aromatic wine with orange peel and cherry. The palate is just off dry and fleshy with the alcohol bleeding through. 14.6% alcohol. 157 cases produced.

Pondera Rosé Columbia Valley 2011 $15

(Decent) Medium salmon colored. A lightly aromatic wine with abundant cherry aromas and flavors. The alcohol gets a bit heavy. 14.4% alcohol.

Teftt Cellars Rosata d’ Sangiovese Rattlesnake Hills 2011 $23

(Decent) A vibrant, medium cherry color with aromas of toasty spices along with cherry. The palate is off-dry with cherry flavors. 13.4% alcohol. 2% Residual Sugar.

Wind Rose Cellars Rosado Dry Rose Washington State 2011 $12
(Decent) Medium cherry colored. A lightly aromatic wine with bubblegum, strawberry and sour cherry. The palate is medium bodied with abundant tart cherry flavors. 60% Barbera, 20% Primitivo, and 20% Dolcetto. 13% alcohol. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed June 27 2012


Rating System

Please note, my rating system was revised at the beginning of 2012 as follows. Read additional details here.
(Exceptional)
(Excellent)
(Good)
(Decent)
(Not recommended/Flawed)

Readers, please note that Blogger, where this site is hosted, has upgraded to a new version which has significant bugs and formatting issues. There are, at present, no work arounds, so you may see significant formatting errors within the posts.

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3 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. I love a good Rose this time of year thanks for the post Sean.I need to get out there and start drinking some. We just released a Pinot Gris Rose at Goose Ridge and it is pretty interesting, could use a little more acid but not bad for our first try. It is light colored with raspberry and strawberry flavors.
    Justin M

     
  3. Nick Webb Says:
  4. Very nice list. I also enjoyed Amavi Cellars 2011 Cab Franc Rose--but see that it's already sold out. Looks like you're right on in that these pink wines go quickly.

    Nick

     
  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. I recently visited Woodhouse Family Estates' 2011 Kennedy Shah Rosé of Mourvèdre. I thought it was stunning with intensely flavored fruit and pepper notes. I would like to see what you think.
    Regards,
    Bill
    ps) I don't have a goggle account, sorry about that.

     

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