The New California and surging Rosé
This week we are exploring Rosé from the new California and from some newer producers.
Former Napa Valley sommelier Paul Stroud has rapidly become one of our most important sources of cutting-edge, under-the-radar California wine. Bringing in compelling wines like A Tribute to Grace, Le Pettite Payson and Reeve Wines has enabled Paul to kick of his distributor project with a bang.
Poor white zinfandel. It sat in its box in your childhood fridge, completely unaware that it would be to blame for Americans’ repugnance towards dry Rosé wine (as compared to the popular, celebratory Rosé champagne, which we will ignore for this discussion, unless you want to pour us some).
Grant Reynolds, the wine director at Charlie Bird, called white zin the “O.G. Rosé in America.” The sweet, often-blended-beyond-belief wine is now the embarrassing cousin we don’t want to admit was the very thing that got us into drinking wine in the first place. “Pink meant unsophisticated and sweet,” said Charles Bieler, the winemaker behind one of the country’s most popular Rosés, Charles and Charles. “That’s a profile of white zin, which people like to piss on today—but let’s be honest—it was a gateway wine for so many Americans.”
It started with the Instagram account and tote-bag-turned-wine business Yes Way Rosé. Both were created by Erica Blumenthal and Nikki Huganir, two ladies who perfected the shot of the wine glass reflecting the sunset, the beautifully arranged table dotted with Whispering Angel bottles, or just cool pink things (cupcake frosting, peonies, fluffy fur coats). It is a club anyone can belong to—just buy a tote bag and don’t forget to scatter your Instagram liberally with hashtags.
New California wine Making:
California isn’t just a place, it’s a perspective. It’s 75 and sunny, avocado on everything, and the Beach Boys playing with the windows rolled down on a drive up the PCH. But if there’s one thing that hasn’t quite gelled with this picture, it’s California wine. Stodgy and expected, the steakhouse bottles of the ’90s were a far cry from the state’s signature free spirit; there is nothing “chill” about a trophy wine like Opus One. But a different style is finally taking hold, and it’s redefining what California wine is all about. Forget buttery Chardonnays and ginormous Cabs. A new generation of progressive winemakers is breaking the rules of heavy oak and high alcohol to make wines that are lighter, brighter, and way more fun. This is wine the California way, and it’s never tasted so good.
Friends, the wines:
Folded Hills Rosé :: $26 sale $22
For Folded Hills wines, the goal is to respect the land and through the wines express its unique voice. With as little interference as possible they let the grapes speak for themselves. At the same time, they strive to craft beautiful wines with a focus on purity. Keeping this in mind, their farming and cellar work are all organic.
Winemaker Angela Osborne works with grower Ruben Solorzano to select the optimum picking times to capture both freshness and flavor, while also considering the vines’ natural response to the lunar cycle. It’s all part of their promise to make wine in an honest, time-honored way.
This bright rosé is a celebration of six generations of strong-yet-feminine women. Opening with lifted aromatics of mountain berry blossoms, the Lilly Rosé transforms to flavors of red fruits, followed by a crisp, lingering finish. Both refreshing and flavorful, this wine’s mouthwatering acidity will pair beautifully with a range of foods. They suggest a favorite pairing of Owner Kim and Chef Mark: heirloom tomatoes, Burrata, and fresh picked, garden basil.
Le P’tit Paysan, Rosé (2016) :: $20 sale $16.50
Ian Brand is the owner and winemaker. Brand was named one of Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Under 40 Tastemakers” in 2013 Innovative, experimental and eager to push the envelope in the Salinas Valley and beyond, Brand is known for his progressive approaches to plantings, commitment to organic farming and tireless promotion of Monterey as the next region to watch in California. Brand says on the impetus for the Le P’tit Paysan wines, “We did not set out to make these wines. We discovered great vineyards at the edge of sensible farming and decided to bring them to light. The farther we looked, the more we found—remote, challenging vineyards with hard, depleted soils and intense sunlight tempered only by the coastal breeze.
Made from Mourvédre grown in Spur Ranch’s limestone rich clays, Mourvedre from the alluvial fan of Uvas Creek at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Grenache and Cinsault from the granitic bluffs above the Arroyo Seco River. Picked below 22 brix, with bright natural acidity. Fermented in several lots at cold temperatures for bright aromatics, snappy acidity and a diverse set of flavors. Stainless steel fermentation, arrested secondary fermentation, sterile filtered.
Reeve Wines, Rosé of Pinot Noir (2016) :: $25 sale $21
Reeve Rosé of Pinot Noir is 100 percent whole cluster pressed and specifically grown to be nothing else but Rosé. It was cold-fermented and raised in stainless steel to preserve its verve. Bright, fresh and aromatic, it’s the kind of wine where the first bottle disappears all too quickly.
The 2015 Reeve Rosé hails from Mendocino County, and more specifically the Potter Valley. The temperatures have some of the highest diurnal swings in California, often more than 40 degrees in a day due to the high elevation valley floor which sits at 1000 feet. Their prime vineyard source is both certified organic and farmed biodynamically.
Another notable attribute of their Rosé is it was crafted from a high percentage of Roederer Clone 32. The clone was originally brought over to California from Champagne in the 1970s when Roederer began making investment in Anderson Valley sparkling wine. It is known to express a bright, high-acid, red-fruit spectrum of flavors. Nearly perfect for the type of Rosé we like to drink and easy to see why it is beloved in Blanc de Noir production.
A Tribute to Grace :: $25 sale $21
2015 was a beautifully mild spring in Santa Barbara County, followed by steady, even temperatures throughout the growing season. Perhaps as a result of the delightfully temperate July and August, the vines took the encouragement to utilise all they had—and yields were particularly bountiful. For this reason, the fruit showed phenolic ripeness at lower Brix levels than any vintage in memory, and they managed to harness ripe tannins alongside sandalwood spice. Dark fruit notes share elements of rhubarb and ravensare this year, and they report being truly honoured to offer this blend for the fourth graceful vintage.
A Tribute To Grace Wine Company is dedicated to crafting authentic expressions of Grenache. All wines are single-vineyard sourced to maintain authenticity, and remain 100% Grenache.
Angela Osborne is a New Zealand born winemaker who moved to California in 2006 with the dream of making Grenache. In 2007 she sourced her first Grenache fruit from the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard. Nestled high above the Pacific Ocean and 33 miles inland, this high-desert vineyard provided the perfect balance of heat and light she sought.
Angela chose to name her label after two of her favorite things: her Grandmother Grace, and her most beloved attribute. Angela’s winemaking intention is to capture this spirit, and stay as close to nature as humanly possible. The trio is completed by the grape itself, which encapsulates grace.
These prices are good through Tuesday, June 13.
Beer and ice cream tasting, friends. You know the drill: this is a must! Join us on the 8th from 4 to 7 pm. We’ll be pairing great beers with four flavors from our neighbors at Sweet Cow.
We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl so we can CHEERS!
Discover why 5280 Magazine Readers and Editors voted Pearl Wine Company Denver’s BEST BOTTLE SHOP. PWC takes pride in being Denver’s best wine shop–a craft liquor specialty store. Conveniently located on South Pearl Street in Denver’s Platt Park neighborhood.