“They’re both the same grape but they taste completely different,” exclaimed my friend, Kelli, as we tasted through a few 2016 rosés at her Mother’s Day gathering this past weekend.
I was beaming at her ‘aha’ moment. It is one of the most wonderful things about the world of wine; the many expressions of even a single varietal let alone winemaking technique, what the year had to offer and a host of other factors that go into what teetotalers might claim is ‘just grape juice.’ Egads!
Without further ado, I give you three 2016 rosés—each of them splendid in their own right.
Long Shadows Vintners Julia’s Dazzle Rosé 2016
We have to start with the bottle; it’s pretty, feminine and just screams of Provence. The soft, almost watermelon color mirrors this observation and the winemaker’s experience in Provence puts an exclamation mark on the entire package. Made of Pinot Gris from a special block of The Benches vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills, this dry rosé has notes of watermelon, citrus and cranberry. Hints of herbaceousness (strawberry leaf) mid-palate with a mineral salinity on the finish. Food recommendations: Scallops, smoked mussels or a fresh goat cheese salad with crisp butter lettuce, sliced strawberries and a citrus dressing. $20
Ponzi Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
A blend of Pinot Noir from three different sites— one being from 45 year-old estate vines— this rosé is cherry at first whiff followed by pink peppercorn and vanilla. The palate is a combination of cherry and strawberry with a hint of crab apple and warm citrus. The ample acidity is perfect for, again, summer salads accented with goat cheese and fresh fruit like strawberries or orange segments. This little number would also pour well next to grilled meats (yes, a lovely plus one for a bbq), and paella. $22
Stoller Family Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Ever the trend setter, Stoller has been crafting rosé wines for over a decade now. Sourced from their estate in the Dundee Hills AVA, the 2016 vintage presents with a light salmon hue that’s as pretty as a bow. Aromas of pink grapefruit, lime and rose petals follow with mouth-watering stone fruit notes and a finish of cranberry with a flirt of black pepper. This wine would showcase as nicely with pizza as it would a summer salmon bake, Salade Niçoise, grilled shellfish or cheese platter of goat cheese, gruyere and manchego. $26