Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Keep Oregon Pink

The continued rise of rosé from the Northwest may have peaked, in terms of perfection with the 2011 vintage. Acids and a cooler vintage created some very pretty pink wines. While the warm vintage of 2012 doesn't necessarily lend itself as well to the creation of carnation colored wines, with sugars often higher acids will be a bit lower. Making for less of that bracing acidity that can make rosé so refreshing. If the fruit is so great across the board winemakers may shy away from setting some aside to make rosé that typically hits more of a white wine price-point than the tariff that Pinot Noir can command. 

What hasn't peaked however, at least apparently is the growing popularity of dry rosé, and we're thankful for that. In the 2012 iteration from Oregon, there are some dandies out there. The 2012 Rosé of Pinot Noir from Stoller Vineyards is a wine that I've probably tasted 3 or 4 times and it's better each time I have it. I'll take that as a good sign. The aromatics are of orange zest and flowers in full bloom. The wine is darker hued than the previous release and it's also a fair bit richer in flavor with dollops of ripe red berries and a still prominent acidity striking a balance. You definitely get the sense that the warmer vintage has filled this wine out, but it's still got great zip. $19 

I don't know much about the J.K. Carriere wines, though I've seen them around. When I saw this one in the cooler in Dundee's Red Hills Market, I had to pick it up. The 2012 Glass, a White Pinot Noir is a fantastically crisp, beautiful pink hued wine. It's also gone apparently, and so I'm sorry for you on the chance that you didn't get any. The folks at JKC, I'm going to shorten it now, have been making pink wine since 2001 which would probably put them on the front end of the revival of rosé here in the Northwest. 

Fruit from Temperance Hill Vineyard, one of my favorite Pinot sites in the world is whole cluster pressed and fermented in barrels, which upon tasting you'd find surprising, it's so crisp you gotta think it's steel. Its' then aged in barrel on lees and according to their website they use "Champagne methodologies from 100 years ago to strip color and broaden an earthy mid-palate, similar to a rosé Champagne without the bubbles."; Whatever the hell that means. The results = awesome. Super crisp complexity and pretty to look at. Grapefruit aromatics compliment a world of spice, minerality and citrus flavors. This wine has so much going on it takes awhile to all sink in. $22 is what I found it for, $21.99 technically but I'm not fooled. While the wine is sold out at the winery you may still find it in some retail markets.

When a winery starts to get serious about their pink wine, great things can happen, and that's just what happened with Southern Oregon's Troon Vineyard Troon has a very popular tasting room rosé that's got a touch of sweetness to it called Jeanie in a Bottle and the 2012 Foundation 72 Rosé is a pink wine much more suited for those wine geeks and foodies. 

Mostly made up of Sangiovese with some Petit Sirah, Tempranillo and Merlot in there this is a wonderful wine. Fruit was identified early with this wine in mind and the winemaking and harvesting were done with a target in mind. Bullseye! Dry rosé with great minerality, acidity, balance and bright fruit character. Mission accomplished. Home run, other metaphors, sure why not? This wine is fantastic, aromatics of strawberry and cut rhubarb, flinty minerality, bright fruit flavors, beautiful to look at. $19 I think, and an anemic 103 cases were made so keep your fingers crossed it's still around. Email the folks at Troon to inquire about availability. 

For a crack at Oregon rosé with an emphasis on the Willamette Valley don't miss Drink Pink at Patton Valley Vineyards on July 13th. Details here.

(The Stoller and Troon Vineyard wines were sent as samples.)


You can never have too much Pinot Noir Rosé

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