After two successive cooler vintages in 2010 and 2011, 2012 marked a return to warmer times in Washington’s vineyards. This is reflected in many of the vintage’s rosés.
While there are numerous exceptions, the 2012 rosés from Washington reviewed below – with a couple Oregon wines sprinkled in as well – tend to be richer and more fruit filled than their predecessors from the last two vintages. 2010 rosés in particular were often marked by higher levels of acidity. Some producers managed to retain good acidity in 2012 despite the warmer temperatures. Others did not.
Overall, this is a time for excitement about rosés from the Pacific Northwest. There has been an explosion in production in the last several years as interest in rosé in the U.S. rebounds. Once thought of as cheap, sweet, pink wine, winemakers are now exploring the use of a variety of different grapes and styles, and consumers are responding. While often the prices – and sometimes the quality – have a hard time matching many of the wines coming out of, say, Provence, as I am fond of saying, they do have a bit of head start!
In addition to the new reviews listed below, I have also included those previously published as well as a few reviews from my work at Wine Enthusiast. Summer grows short. Drink up!
Charles & Charles Rosé Columbia Valley 2010 $10
(Excellent) An aromatically appealing wine with strawberry and spice. The palate is rich, rounded, and fruit filled while retaining well balanced acidity. A superb value. 81% Syrah, 16% Mourvèdre, 2% Cinsault, 1% Grenache. 12.9% alcohol.
JM Cellars Cinsault Rosé Columbia Valley 2012 $25
(Excellent) Pale peach. An aromatic wine with bubble gum, strawberry, and watermelon. The palate is dry and medium bodied with rich fruit flavors. 13.8% alcohol.
Julia’s Dazzle Rosé Pinot Grigio Horse Heaven Hills 2012 $15
91 points. Brief skin contact during fermentation gives this appropriately named, single-vineyard (The Benches) rosé it’s pretty pale-salmon color. It’s immediately appealing, with notes of melon and strawberry, and just a hair off-dry, with a rich, textured feel. Wine Enthusiast 9/1/2013
Kerloo Cellars Angolina Farm Grenache Rosé Yakima Valley 2012 $24
(Excellent) Pale salmon colored. Lightly aromatic with strawberry and spice along with a citrus twist. The palate is on the lighter side of medium bodied with tart, citrusy fruit flavors and a persistent finish. 100% Grenache. 12.1% alcohol. 132 cases produced.
Lauren Ashton Cellars Rosé of Sangiovese Stillwater Creek Vineyard Washington 2012 $18
(Excellent) The vineyard has changed from the 2011 vintage – Stillwater Creek instead of Red Willow – but the grape remains the same. A pale salmon color, it’s directly appealing with notes of cherry, wet stone, and spice. It has richness and texture but – even with the listed alcohol level higher than often seen outside of saignee-style roses’ (this one is not) - still manages to move deftly. 14.0% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.
Maison Bleue La Famille Rosé of Mourvèdre Columbia Valley 2012 $20
(Excellent) A moderately aromatic, captivating wine with strawberries and cream, peppery spice, and abundant mineral notes. The palate is on the lighter side of medium bodied, dry with crisp, etched acidity that draws out on the finish. 100% Mourvèdre. Olsen Vineyard. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 12.5% alcohol. 365 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed July 17, 2013 NB: This wine only improves after a day of being open.
Brian Carter Cellars Abracadabra Magical Rosé Blend Columbia Valley 2012 $20
(Good) Pale pink. A moderately aromatic wine with cherry and peppery spice. It’s medium bodied and drinks dry with full, rich fruit flavors and well balanced acidity. 41% Sangiovese, 39% Grenache, 9% Syrah, 9% Mourvèdre, 2% Counoise 2%. 13.4% alcohol. 0.35% Residual Sugar.
Castillo de Feliciana Vino Verano ‘Summer Wine’ Columbia Valley 2012 $16
(Good) A moderately aromatic wine with apple, citrus, and grape skins. It’s dry and medium-plus bodied, full flavored with a textured feel. A deliciously enjoyable, appropriately named wine. 100% Pinot Gris. 13.8% alcohol. Recommended
Gilbert Cellars Rosé of Mourvèdre Columbia Valley 2012 $17
(Good) Pale salmon. A moderately aromatic wine full of grapefruit and peppery spice. The palate has medium bodied fruit flavors and wants a bit more acid to lift up the frame. 100% Mourvèdre. 24K and Sunland vineyards. Aged three months in neutral oak (70%) and stainless steel. 13.4% alcohol. 895 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Gramercy Cellars Rosé Olsen Vineyard Columbia Valley 2012 $25
(Good) Pale salmon colored, this is an aromatically expressive blend of Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah all coming from Yakima Valley’s Olsen Vineyard whose prominence continues to climb. It has notes of melon, fresh herbs, and spice. It’s medium bodied and still retains good acidity considering the warmth of the vintage. 46% Cinsault, 32% Grenache, and 22% Syrah. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 13.2% alcohol. 200 cases produced.
Renegade Wine Co Rosé Columbia Valley 2012 $10
(Good) Pale salmon colored. Subtle aromas of watermelon, strawberry, and citrus. The palate is dry and tart with a blast of acid that carries it through on the finish. 76% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, 4% Cinsault. 12.5% alcohol. Recommended Reviewed April 29, 2013
Robert Ramsay Rosé Columbia Valley 2012 $18
(Good) Pale salmon colored. An aromatic wine with strawberry and red cherries. It’s off-dry with sweet fruit flavors. 45% Grenache, 45% Cinsault, and 10% Viognier. Upland and McKinley vineyards. 316 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Ross Andrew Meadow Rosé Sangiovese Columbia Valley 2012 $15
87 points. Pale salmon in color, this mostly Sangiovese rosé drinks dry with notes of strawberry, bubblegum and melon. The flavor concentration isn’t all there but there’s still much to enjoy here. Wine Enthusiast 9/1/2013
Sleight of Hand Cellars The Magician’s Assistant Cabernet Franc Rosé Blackrock Vineyard Yakima Valley 2012 $18
(Good) Pale copper with a slight pink tinge. It’s moderately aromatic with spice and strawberry. The palate is medium bodied with a rounded feel and tart cherry flavors. 100% Cabernet Franc. Blackrock Vineyard. Fermented in stainless steel and barrel aged for five months in neutral French oak. 13.5% alcohol. 0.19% Residual Sugar. 225 cases produced. Published May 9, 2013
Stoller Estate Exclusive Tempranillo Rosé Dundee Hills 2012 $25
(Good) An aromatically intriguing wine with peanut shells, tangerine, strawberry, and cranberry. The palate is medium bodied, dry with a tart, lingering finish. Whole cluster pressed. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 13.1% alcohol. 225 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Syncline Rosé Columbia Valley 2012 $20
(Good) Pale salmon in color with a copper tinge. A lightly aromatic wine with strawberry, spice, wheat, and mineral notes. The palate is light bodied with mouthwatering acidity. 49% Mourvèdre, 39% Cinsault, 12% Grenache. 12.6% alcohol. 690 cases produced.
Tranche Cellars Pink Pape Dry Rosé Wine Columbia Valley 2012 $15
(Good) An aromatically intriguing wine with pink grapefruit, watermelon, and spice. The palate is medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and a zing of acid, finishing a touch bitter. 12.9% alcohol. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed March 26, 2013
Wysling Rosé Columbia Valley 2012 $13
(Good) A moderately aromatic wine with abundant herbs and melon. It’s bone dry with a textured feel and a tart, slightly bitter finish. 13% alcohol. 50 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Amavi Cellars Cabernet Franc Rosé Walla Walla Valley 2012 $21
(Decent/Good) A medium cherry color with a slight orange tinge. It’s moderately aromatic with strawberries, cherry, and braised green pepper. The palate is dry and medium bodied with abundant spice flavors, showing some heat on the finish. 100% Cabernet Franc. Waliser (70%) and Summit View vineyards. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 13.9% alcohol. 203 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Mannina Cellars Madily Rosé Walla Walla Valley 2012 $12
(Decent/Good) Medium cherry colored. Brightly aromatic with watermelon, cherry, and orange peel. It’s off-dry, medium bodied with a creamy feel. 100% Mourvèdre. 12.9% alcohol. 64 cases produced.
Stoller Estate Grown Pinot Noir Rosé Dundee Hills 2012 $20
(Decent) Medium cherry colored. Moderately aromatic with ripe cherry and bubblegum. The palate is medium bodied with the alcohol bleeding through considerably. Combination of saignee and whole cluster pressings. Fermented and aged in stainless steel and neutral oak. 14.1% alcohol. 500 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Waterbrook Sangiovese Rose Columbia Valley 2012 $11
85 points. Pale salmon colored, this is a straightforward summer sipper with notes of cherry, watermelon, and wet stone. It drinks dry with a hint of effervescence and tart flavors. Wine Enthusiast 7/1/2013
Wind Rose Cellars Rosato Dry Rosé Wine Washington State 2012 $15
(Decent) Medium salmon in color with rose petal, watermelon, bubblegum, and some reductive notes. The palate is medium-plus bodied with plump fruit flavors. 51% Nebbiolo, 18% Dolcetto, 17% Primitivo, and 14% Barbera. 13.2% alcohol. 120 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed May 9 2013