Wine Wednesday

Crush and Blush

Everything’s rosé when Washington puts the squeeze on some typically Italian varietals.

By Julie H. Case May 23, 2012

So pink…

On the heels of last week’s massive tasting of grenaches, cabernet francs and malbec rosés come some versions made with locally grown grapes traditional to Italy—namely one barbera and a handful of sangiovese—as our monthlong celebration of rosé continues.

And if I said that I doubted a sommelier in town could identify multiple different varietals in a blind tasting of rosés, I may have proven myself wrong this week. First off, with the exception of a renegade or two, the wines were primarily all the same color—some shade of 1980s pink. Also, these wines tended to be a bit leaner, a bit less fruity but much more floral.

2011 Barbera Rosé, Alder Ridge Vineyard (Horse Heaven Hills)
Cavu Cellars (Walla Walla)
Some wines are like little crushes that you don’t want to inspect too carefully for fear you’ll find a wart, some inconsequential little tic, a bad habit, perhaps, that will force you to abandon the flicker of hope playing itself out at the corner of your mind and face reality, warts and all. That’s how I feel about the Cavu that ends up in my glass on a rather dreary May day.
In the Glass: It’s girly pink—hedging toward cotton candy.
On the Nose: There’s a slight stony minerality and note of flower petals, as well as a hint of white flowers that conjures baby’s breath, although likely baby’s breath doesn’t smell like anything at all. Plus, there’s a hint of light raspberry and a little cherry.
On the Palate: Hold it in your mouth and you can absorb the light yet vaguely (very, very vague, like a wink you aren’t sure really happened) creamy mouthfeel that gives this wine a touch of weight. There are herbs here, too, and more flower petals. The wine has minerality and even a hint of graphite that all leads to tart cherries and a hint of melon, as well as violets.
Drink: In the sun, when you’re trying to impress a stubborn friend.
Price: $20

Sangiovese Rosé (Columbia Valley)
In the Glass: Bright pink.
On the Nose: Slight matchstick, herbs, very light strawberry and watermelon.
On the Palate: Crisp, with a slight stewed fruit note as well as bright red fruits and a hint of tart cherry. Nimble.
Drink: Happily chilled.
Price: $12

2010 Rosé (Yakima Valley)
Skylite Cellars (Walla Walla)
In the Glass: Bright pink.
On the Nose: Herbs, lots of violets, slight orange zest, cherry, raspberry, slight lemon curd.
On the Palate: There comes raspberry, melon, violets, a little cherry, dried herbs and some minerality.
Drink: Chilled.
Price: $18

Terroir 2011 Sangiovese Rosato (Horse Heaven Hills)
The Hogue Cellars
In the Glass: Bright pink.
On the Nose: The violets here stand out, as do some lighter fruits—think pear—and hints of red fruit as well as dried herb, and a bit of licorice.
On the Palate: Again, lots of violets, as well as some dried herb, light cherry, and ripe pear.
Drink: At your leisure.
Price: $18

2010 Rosé of Sangiovese (Columbia Valley)
Maryhill Winery
In the Glass: Bright pink, headed toward orange.
On the Nose: Lime leaf, pink grapefruit, tart cherry, dried herbs, hint of raspberry, licorice.
On the Palate: This wine is well balanced. It’s accessible but not flat, but also not overwhelmed with fruit. There are herbs, here, lots of violets, tart cherry, melon, young raspberry and a bit of grapefruit.
Drink: While listening to a concert overlooking the Columbia River, or in your backyard with the music on, while imagining yourself at a concert with a view.
Price: $14

2011 Estate Sangiovese Rosé
Zerba Cellars (Walla Walla)
In the Glass: The wine hovered at Malibu, somewhere between pink and orange.
On the Nose: Strawberry, cantaloupe, violets. There’s a lot of herbaciousness here, as well as a slight bit of honey.
On the Palate: The wine was honeyed with melon, raspberry, white flowers, violets, herbs and dried grass as well as a hint of Rainier cherry and matchstick.
Drink: To convince the sun to come out.
Price: $20

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