time to wake up and smell the rosés

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

This spring I’ll check in with the rush of new rosés as they are released; no need to wait for newspaper publication deadlines. I’ve tasted a dozen or so in recent weeks and as usual, they come in all colors and a variety of blends, though it’s more and more difficult to find any that are not bone dry. Not that that’s a bad thing!

What I look for in any rosé is more than a pretty face. I want a rosé that is as expressive as any other good young wine, something with texture and lift, density and detail. I love the range of flavors that the different grapes and blends can show. Opening any unknown, untasted bottle is a guaranteed surprise. But as with most wines, the real superstars are the exception, not the rule.

Here are some early winners:

Ponzi 2012 Pinot Noir Rosé; $20. I’m a sucker for rosé from Pinot Noir, and this is as good as they get. Pricey, yes, but worth it. Roses, watermelon, grapefruit and a hint of toast. Great depth and detail.

Pedroncelli 2012 Dry Rosé of Zinfandel; $12. Dig this – one of California’s oldest Zin producers has now started labeling their pink Zin a Dry Rosé of Zinfandel. La Ti Da! But pinkie fingers may stay up; it’s a fine bottle, at a good price, and it would not surprise me at all if the vines had some age on them.

Barnard Griffin 2012 Rosé of Sangiovese; $12. B-G has won gold medals for this wine for several years running, and deservedly so. It’s bursting with fresh fruit, enhanced with fresh-baked aromas of brioche and croissant. A Yum-bah!

Wind Rose Cellars 2012 Rosato; $15. This small winery on the Olympic Peninsula specializes in Italian varietals. This rosé is a blend of 51% Nebbiolo, 18% Dolcetto, 17% Primitivo and 14% Barbera – I don’t believe I’ve seen that before. It’s deliciously spicy with a sweet raspberry filling and a cinnamon roll finish.

One I have not yet tasted, but it gets a thumbs up from my friend Paul Z at Full Pull:

Renegade 2012 Rosé; $10. A side project for Sleight of Hand maestro Trey Busch, this is three quarters Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre and 4% Cinsault. The alcohol is a sensible 12.5%, and yet the wine (I am assured) is bone-dry, with strawberry, raspberry and watermelon flavors backed with citrusy acidity.

Is there any finer way to welcome Spring than with a chilled glass of rosé on the deck?

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