I went about writing this post to showcase Rosé wines made with different varietals and in differing styles. I didn’t restrain my selections to California specifically, but it kind of came organically as I chose each wine. My time spent living in San Francisco really left me with a great appreciation for California wines and producers, many of which are still being discovered here in Chicago. There is a great movement of ‘New California’ winemaking happening right now, and I find it very exciting. They focus on balance and restraint and many practice organic and/or biodynamic farming philosophies. I didn’t want to just choose easy wines – the ones you can find at your local wine emporium or grocery store. Each wine and producer below I truly believe in and look forward to drinking. They may take some time to seek out, but trust me, they’re worth it.
Grenache Gris: Donkey & Goat Isabel’s Cuvée
Grenache Gris is an aromatic and full-bodied grape with grey/pink skin. It can be found in Southern France, predominantly in Southern Rhone Valley white blends, as well as Navarra and Castilla-La Mancha in Spain, and by lesser extent in California. When Grenache Gris is not blended, it is usually fermented with its skins causing the wine to be more pink than yellow. Many assume rosé wines are made strictly with red grapes, but there are a handful of white grapes with enough skin pigmentation to create that coveted rose color.
Pinot Noir: 2015 Scribe Rosé of Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is seen as the King of rosé. Variations of it are found across the globe. It’s easy drinking, and tends to pair with just about every Spring and Summer dish. The weight and expressiveness of these wines vary from place to place. Sancerre tends to offer leaner versions smelling of underripe watermelon, whereas California produces fuller-bodied styles with ripe cherry and strawberry flavors.
Trousseau Gris: 2015 Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris
Like Grenache Gris, this is another white grape with dark pink skin. Trousseau Gris thrives is dry, warm areas, thus it’s success in California’s Russian River Valley. It’s intensely aromatic and when fermented with it’s skins can have noticeable tannins. It is the perfect bridge between red and white wine.
Valdiguié: 2016 Broc Cellars Love Rosé Blend
Valdiguié is often referred to as Napa Gamay in California. While it’s a completely different varietal, the two have very similar qualities. The wines tend to be full of juicy berry fruits, but rarely much else. The blend in Broc Cellars rosé introduces grapes with both structure and color to balance the wine.
Mourvèdre: 2016 Bedrock Wine Company “Ode to Lulu” Rosé
This is quite a powerful grape full of tannin. It plays as the structural component of Southern Rhone GSM blends. Rosés made from Mourvèdre are fuller-bodied with beautiful aromas of dried flowers, plums and cherries. Some of the best expressions are found in Southern France’s Bandol region and Northern California.