Each Friday we highlight a wine from the Northwest that we think is a real "find." By find we might mean that it's a steal, as all of these wines we'll feature weekly are at or under $20. We might also mean "Hey, you really need to go find this" and it might be a wine that we feel not enough people know about. In any case, with the weekend pending we're hoping to help you "find" a wine to kickoff the weekend right. We'll tell you a little bit about the wine and try to help you track it down here in the Northwest.
In France in particular, rosé is and has always been a valued and anticipated part of the country's wine repertoire. Beautiful, crisp and dry, layered, complex and sometimes sparkling. A real and important contribution to meals, and certainly to summertime enjoyment. The story of American rosé on the other hand reads a bit like the acting career of Sean Bean. Here in the Northwest in particular we've seen an amazing resurgence in rosé, in both Oregon and Washington the state's most important wineries and winemakers are making a serious effort to deliver a rosé that delivers on acidity and with crispness with emphasis on fruit. Styles are varying with some opting for a bone dry rosé and others going for a touch of sweetness. (Some folks are indeed going overboard, and well beyond a touch to a full on grope.)
It wasn't always that way, just like Sean Bean wasn't always the star of a successful HBO series. No, there were dark days, for both Sean and for American Rosé. Rosé in America has a bad rap, a well deserved bad rap that all got started in California. In 1970 Sutter Home began an evil plot, one that by accident set back pink wine in America, well, almost 40 years now, and in many circles, it still hasn't recovered. The first Rosés made by Sutter Home were actually more traditional and dry in style. In 1975, by the result of a stuck fermentation and some sicko thinking it was a good idea, the sweet, evil White Zinfandel was born at Sutter Home. It has since become synonymous with jug wine, cheap wine and wine for people with absolutely no business drinking wine. It's bad on it's best day and it has become synonymous with Rosé for most American wine drinkers, particularly those new to wine. There in lies the challenge for winemakers hoping to honor the traditional pink wines of the Old World as made in the saignée style; crisp and refreshing. The Pacific Northwest is bringing it back home however, and maybe, just maybe the good old, "PNW" will rescue rosé from those evil sweet clutches.
Sean Bean for me at least has always been synonymous with sniveling villains, like the guy Deniro ambushes with a cup of coffee in Ronin (an absolutely brilliant film otherwise), or straight to video, which is of course an out dated term, classics like, Ca$h. Haven't heard of Ca$h? Neither had I, thank you IMDb. It stars other powerhouse thespians like Chris Hemsworth and Victoria Profeta. Sean Bean has had a rough go of things, but maybe, just maybe there is light at the other end of the tunnel and in Game of Thrones he has found his crisp, traditionally crafted, Rosé. And may White Zinfandel finds it's end at the bottom of a lake somewhere.
This wine was provided as a sample.