Food & Drink

Northwest Wine: Northwest rosés ideal for Thanksgiving

Joe Dobbes, who grew up in Oregon, trained in Europe before returning to his home state in 1989 to make wine for producers such as Willamette Valley Vineyards and Hinman Vineyards. He launched Dobbes Family Estate and Wine By Joe in 2002.
Joe Dobbes, who grew up in Oregon, trained in Europe before returning to his home state in 1989 to make wine for producers such as Willamette Valley Vineyards and Hinman Vineyards. He launched Dobbes Family Estate and Wine By Joe in 2002. Courtesy Dobbes Family Estate

One of our favorite food-pairing wines is rosé because of the flavors that burst with notes of strawberry, cherry, cranberry and spice, backed by bright acidity. They combine to bring out the flavors of roasted turkey, sweet potatoes, gravy and other goodies on the holiday table.

This helps make pink wine one of our favorite choices. Fortunately, the Pacific Northwest is rosé country, with dozens of great examples of pink wine.

Here are several delicious rosés we have tasted recently. Most are priced at $15 or less. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant, or contact the wineries directly.

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Milbrandt Vineyards is owned by Butch Milbrandt, who relies on grapes farmed on the Wahluke Slope by his brother, Jerry. The tasting room is in Prosser, Wash. Courtesy Milbrandt Vineyards

Milbrandt Vineyards 2016 Rosé, Columbia Valley, $13: Emily Haines developed this stunning pink blend of Syrah (75 percent) and Tempranillo by pulling from six vineyards early in the harvest season, all picked around 21 percent Brix. Aromas of nectarine, freesia and pear, are followed by a light-bodied, fruit-forward drink reminiscent of fresh strawberries and watermelon. This fall, it earned best of class at the fifth annual Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

Patterson Cellars 2016 Forbidden Rosé, Columbia Valley, $13: Woodinville producer John Patterson could legally label this latest pink as a Tempranillo rosé, but he incorporates Sangiovese (22 percent) into the final cut for ample acidity. Aromas of dried cranberry, rhubarb, pink peppercorn and mint are followed by flavors of strawberry-rhubarb compote and Montmorency cherry. A touch of Tempranillo tannin on the midpalate leads to a fresh and crisp finish of cassis and cantaloupe. Look for this at his two Woodinville locations.

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Mercer Estates pulls from family vineyards in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills, makes it wine in Prosser, Wash., and recently opened a tasting room in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Courtesy Mercer Estates

Mercer Estates 2016 Spice Cabinet Vineyard Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $13: One of the state’s top sites for Malbec is the source for the Mercer family’s Grenache rosé. A key feature for Spice Cabinet Vineyard, a short jog from Crow Butte Park and the Columbia River, is the aspect that allows for some afternoon shading. That allows for the retention of the grape’s natural acidity.

Jones of Washington 2016 Rosé of Syrah, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $14: Winemaker Victor Palencia has a well-earned reputation as one of the top rosé winemakers in Washington. This rosé of Syrah reveals vivid aromas and flavors of Bing cherry, cranberries, dried strawberries, blood orange and raspberries.

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Joe Dobbes, one of Oregon’s most successful wine producers, removes pretense and packs some fun into this rosé from Pinot Noir. Courtesy Wines by Joe

Wine By Joe 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $14: Joe Dobbes, one of Oregon’s most successful wine producers, removes pretense and packs some fun into this rosé from Pinot Noir. He offers it as a bargain, thanks in part to the fruit off his 189-acre Sea Breeze Vineyard west of Salem, Ore. Its watermelon color leads to aromas of dried strawberry, raspberry, peach and rose petals. Those same fruit flavors are layered across the palate with early lusciousness that gives way to a bright finish of blood orange.

Cloudlift Cellars 2015 Lucy Rosé of Cabernet Franc, Yakima Valley, $14: Seattle furniture craftsman Tom Stangeland has been making serious wine in Georgetown for nearly a decade. Cabernet Franc has been a signature variety for him, and his rosé is designed for salmon. It begins with a salmon orange color and follows with tones of grilled peach, apricot and butterscotch, rewarding acidity akin to tangerine and a lick of cherry juice.

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Ryan Patrick has established a reputation for award-winning rosé production, and the wines are available at their tasting room in Leavenworth, Wash. Courtesy Ryan Patrick Wines

Ryan Patrick Wines 2016 Rosé Wine, Columbia Valley, $15: This dry and delightful Provence-style rosé is heavy on Syrah, but also includes dollops of Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvèdre. It exudes aromas and flavors of pomegranate, cranberry, fresh raspberry and a pinch of savory herbs.

Alexana Winery 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $28: Bryan Weil doesn’t rush his rosé of Pinot Noir for Dr. Madaiah Revana to market, choosing to age the product of dry-farmed vineyards in the Dundee Hills and Chehalem Mountains inside neutral French oak barrels for four months. And yet, the wood doesn’t get in the way. Soft floral aromas of rose petals, strawberries and cranberries lead to flavors of more strawberry and raspberry candy.

DeLille Cellars 2016 Rosé, Yakima Valley, $32: This year, DeLille Cellars used its Bandol-inspired rosé program to help celebrate its 25th anniversary. Chris Upchurch and Jason Gorski worked with Grenache and Cinsault from Boushey Vineyard with Mourvèdre (42 percent) for a particularly juicy and low-alcohol expression. There are wonderful memories of summer in the nose with ripe strawberries and Hermiston watermelon. They lead to flavors of brambleberry, red currant and strawberry leaf, making for a beautiful range of flavors and sensations.

Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company; www.greatnorthwestwine.com

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