Vine Path Blog 6/19: Rose Season is Here!
Rose season is upon us! And contrary to popular belief, it’s always a great time to drink Rosé. This category of wine has been blowing up for the past few years, which I’m sure you noticed, and quality has been exploding as well with more and more producers taking their Rosé offering seriously. This means that for Rosé drinkers today there’s never been more diversity in quality and style than there is today. This month we’re highlighting some of the more exciting Rosé that we’ve discovered this season.
The best place to start is with a Rosé that we’ve been selling for years and years now, Château des Annibals Cuvée des Annibals Rosé. For Provincial Rosé, Château des Annibals is a pillar. The estate was established in 1772, which makes them the oldest standing winery in the region, and they now own over 30 hectares mainly in the Coteaux Varois en Provence AOP. For this particular village in Provence, nobody is more important. In fact, the AOP was enshrined into law at the Château! Today the winery is run by Nathalie Coquelle who works as both owner and winemaker. On top of producing spectacular examples of well made Provence Rosé she’s also firmly committed to sustainability. Under her stewardship the winery converted all of it’s agriculture to organics as well as re-designing the winery so that it could be 100% powered by renewable energy.
Cuvee des Annibals is a quintessential Provence Rosé and as such is made of a blend of grape varieties. Typically a Rosé is made from red grapes with limited amounts of skin contact such that the color only develops to a pale pink hue however in Provence it’s not uncommon to see Rosé blended with small amounts of various white grape varietals. For this cuvee, Cinsault and Grenache are blended with a touch of Rolle (otherwise known as Vermentino) and Ugni Blanc contribute to the freshness and aromatic intensity of the wine. Every year in the store this is our #1 best selling Rosé and for good reason!
Of all the Rosé that we bring in each year, the most coveted might be what we’re allowed to get from Martha Stoumen. This year we were lucky enough to get our hands on Martha's Teal Drops Rosé which is unique for a few reasons. Unlike most Rosé, Teal Drops is aged longer and released a year late, which is why this bottle is from 2017. It’s also aged for a period of time in neutral oak barrels, another odd choice for Rosé. Martha was inspired by the Rosé of R. Lopez de Heredia in Rioja who ages their Rosé like a Gran Reserva Tempranillo. It’s one of the most unique wines on earth and it’s one of the few wines that makes the case that Rosé can age with grace. Teal Drops is a champion’s effort to make a Rosé that can stand up against most privileged red wines.
A wine like Teal Drops exists in a weird spectrul of Rosé in which you’ll find all sorts of Rosé that don’t resemble your preconceived expectations of what a Rosé ought to be like. Another one we love in this space is Robert Sinskey’s Vin Gris. Also from 2017, this is a Rosé made entirely from Pinot Noir sourced from a single vineyard in their Carneros estate. Vin Gris is a special kind of Rosé made with little to no time macerating on the skins. As all crushed grapes release clean juice, the thing that give the color to a Rosé is the time that juice spends in contact with the grape skins. Like red wines, this extracts color as well as flavor and can be used to determine the finished hue of the wine. For Sinksey’s Vin Gris the wine is quickly racked off othe the skins after pressing resulting in a delicate pink hue but because of the provenance of the grapes and the protective method of production, this wine ends up more profound, intense, and textural than most Rosé found anywhere. This wine has incredibly diverse applications as it’s simultaneously great with a meal or a trip to the beach. It’s also another great example of why you should drink older Rosé!
Lastly comes the wildcard in our collection, Muscari Tomajoli’s Velca, a Rosé of Montepulciano from Lazio. This family estate is situated halfway between Rome and Florence on the Mediterranean coastline where they farm organic vineyards and produce beautiful wines without any wine making additions. For this Rosé they extend the maceration for 72 hours which not only gives the wine it’s intense color but also gives it body and structure not often found in Rosé. This is one hell of a wine and it desperately needs time in the bottle to develop. If you’ve got the patience, we encourage you to hold out on this one until September or October when it’ll really start to shine.
What makes Rosé so much fun is that of all wines it’s the least pretentious and the most fun to drink and serve. It gets everyone in a lighter mood and fit’s more perfectly with a warm summer’s day that anything you’ll ever drink. There’s a Rosé out there for everyone and it’s more depthful, complex, and satisfying than people realize. If you love Rosé, drink up! Don’t let anyone ever look down on you for loving pink wine, do what makes you happy, and pop open a bottle of pink fizz!