One of our simple rules of wine enjoyment: Hot weather calls for chilled rosés.
For the past three months, we’ve seen a number of 2014 rosés being released throughout the Pacific Northwest, and they are proving to be a harbinger of what is to come when we begin seeing 2014 reds a year from now.
With school out and temperatures rising, the next couple of months are perfect for enjoying a delicious and dry rosé from the Pacific Northwest. Keep two or three bottles in your fridge at all times just to be ready for an impromptu meal on the back deck.
Dry rosés are all the rage in the Northwest right now, and most are priced at $20 or less. They tend to pair beautifully with a wide range of cuisines, from seafood to spicy Asian dishes to grilled chicken to egg salad sandwiches.
Here are a few dry rosés we’ve tasted in the past couple of months that are well worth seeking at your favorite wine merchant or directly from the wineries.
Barnard Griffin 2014 Rosé of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $12: Year after year, owner/winemaker Rob Griffin and his crew craft what can rightly be placed among the best rosés in North America. This vintage won a gold medal in January at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and, to nobody’s surprise, repeated the feat at the Great Northwest Wine Competition in March. It’s a stunning wine with aromas of strawberry compote, cherry pie and peaches and cream, followed by flavors of mint, pineapple and red fruit.
Gordon Estate 2014 Rosé, Columbia Valley, $20: Winemaker Tyler Tennyson began making this pink in the Gordons’ Kamiak Vineyard, which overlooks the Snake River. Malbec was groomed specifically for rosé, and its salmon color leads to aromas of dried strawberry, cranberry, crushed cherries, white peach and rose hips. Tennyson finished it dry, allowing for a full expression of plum juice and red currant, framed by dried cranberry acidity, cherry skin tannin and a finish of more rose hips.
SuLei Cellars 2014 Dry Rosé, Walla Walla Valley, $18: Walla Walla Valley winemaker Tanya Woodley’s latest expression of rosé with Tempranillo and Merlot opens with a lighter colored wardrobe in a Provence style and aromatics of cherry, dusty white peach, apricot and vanilla. Inside, it continues to offer white orchard fruit flavors of peach and dried apricot, which are backed by tangelo acidity to balance the rich mouth feel.
Kaella Winery 2014 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Rosé, Red Mountain, $18: Woodinville vintner Dave Butner takes this pink made from Sangiovese down a dry path. Fresh and bright aromas of dusty Rainier cherry, fresh cranberry compote, strawberry, apricot and marshmallow lead to a clean and delicious presentation of ripe raspberry and cranberry.
Abacela 2014 Estate Grenache Rosé, Umpqua Valley, $18: Year after year, this Southern Oregon winery produces one of the West Coast’s most brilliant expressions of rosé and has helped promote the use of this Rhône variety as a pink in the process. Aromas of Rainier cherry, red currant, raspberry and strawberry taffy are backed by lime zest. The drink is bright, tasty, dry and rather delicate with flavors of white peach, pink strawberry and kiwi fruit.
Garnier Vineyards 2014 Rosé, Columbia Gorge, $14: This small producer on the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge is producing superb wines, earning two top medals during the third annual Great Northwest Wine Competition. This bright rosé is a blend of Syrah and Grenache, and the result includes aromas of light apricot, peach and a wisp of smoke. On the palate, it is a bright and balanced pink wine with flavors of peach, apricot and tangerine.
Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, an award-winning news and information company. Learn more about wine at greatnorthwestwine.com.