Far beyond the array of pink hues there’s something special about Rosé, a quality that sets it part from other wine.
With the arrival of June you can hear the cheers of joy from Rosé Wine Lovers far and near, “Rosé All Day!” So, it should come as no surprise that with the start of the first Summer month a day would be put on the calendar to celebrate this popular pink wine. Today is National Rosé Day, held annually on the second Saturday in June. National Rosé Day was started by Swedish Rosé house Bodvár to raise a glass to this delightful favorite summertime wine. To ring in the arrival of Summer I wanted to pay tribute to Rosé Day by introducing some Washington and Oregon Rosé wines that I will be enjoying this summer in my favorite place, my backyard and garden.
In April I traveled to the Newberg area of the Willamette Valley for a wine and food experience. While there I was able to pick up five Oregon winery Rosé to sample and enjoy during the Summer months.
Let’s be honest. Pinot Noir Rosé from Oregon is a desirable, eloquent wine that is easy to love. Do not however consider it a singular wine because Pinot Noir Rosé comes in a wide array of styles. Although the majority of the Rosé produced from Oregon is Pinot Noir, the grapes being used from 8+ AVA Pinot Noir terriors ensures that each is unique in color, aroma and flavor. Below are five excellent examples of the diversity of Oregon Pinot Noir Rosé.
Ayres 2018 Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir is made from the Pommard Pinot Noir grape.
After tasting Ayres new 2018 Rosé in their tasting room and talking with winemaker Brad about the vintage, I was thrilled to be able to bring home a Sample of this wine to enjoy this summer. Buoyant and bright, this Rosé showcases the best of a Pinot Noir Rosé with notes of morning dew rose petals, and ripe Spring strawberries on the nose. The same crisp flavors can be found on the palate, with the addition of a pleasant smoke and spice combination that is light as air. If you are looking for a unique Rosé to help you pass those summer days, then look no further than this Estate wine from Ayres.
I was really excited to finally have the opportunity to visit Bells Up Winery in Newberg, after corresponding with Sara Specter and her husband Dave for over a year. When they sat down with me and poured their 2018 Prelude Rosé I knew instantly that I was in for a treat. The deep pink color, almost a translucent red was just beautiful and when I was given a Sample to bring home, I knew that I would be saving this ‘Prelude’ for something special.
This is Bells Up wineries Second Estate Wine release, made with Estate Vineyard Chehalem Mountains AVA grapes. The 2018 Bells Up Prelude is like a sunny summer day picnic in a bottle. All of the flavors of a picnic in each sip, like a blanket laid out with strawberries, watermelon and pink lemonade. A well balanced Rosé with citrus undertones and a dry finish. This musical Rosé was named for Franz Liszt’s “Symphonic Poem No. 3: Les Preludes” and will be a Romantic Era addition to any summer picnic. I’m going to pretend that this is the end of an Opera Aria (and not a Symphony score) and give a loud hearty “BRAVO” to this Prelude.
North Valley 2018 Pinot Noir Rosé looks right at home among the apples forming in my backyard garden.
I feel so fortunate to have been able to visit Soter Winery in the beautiful Yamhill-Carlton countryside. The setting of the winery was as inviting as the wines being poured and for me their Rosé hit all the right marks. This wine had an amazing sense of place. Both on the nose and palette you get a bright and lovely blend of sun kissed wild strawberries, and cooked bursting open cranberries. Creamy with that sprinkle of sea salt on the tongue, I loved the slight hint of white peach and blink of tartness. This was a smooth and elegant Rosé that enticed me enough to purchase a bottle to enjoy this Summer.
The color of ROCO’s Rosé looks beautiful next to my ripening garden strawberries.
This Sample from ROCO Winery is one that I have not tasted yet but if it is anything like their other wines than I know this will be a special Summer sip. Below are tasting notes from ROCO’s website.
“The aromas remind me of the beginning of a red wine Pinot Noir fermentation. There is a “sweet” blending of cherry blossom scents with delicate fresh Willamette Valley strawberry fruit and a base of early summer treats like rhubarb pie and Royal Ann cherry fruit. The wine immerses you in flavors of raspberry, Oregon strawberry, and Bing cherry. The balance of bright acidity and rich, complex fresh fruit in this wine lends it incredible versatility when enjoyed alone, with friends, and with a plethora of food groups.” – Rollin Soles, Winemaker
In April during the Release party I heard more than one person requesting a case of the Alexana Rosé of Pinot Noir. With only 130 cases left at the start of the Release Party it was a much sought after bottle. Alexana makes their Rosé with whole clusters of fruit that is immediately pressed and stored with barely any to juice contact in an aged barrel of 100% French Oak for 4 months.
Do you know the smell of a Creamsicle Cream Bar on a stick when you are eating it. You get the smell of the orange and cream but also a light wood scent from the popsicle stick from this Rosé, a dreamy aroma. On the palate the Rosé was like tasting honey and citrus soaked edible flowers. This wine was purchased and found a spot my cellar until the perfect warm summer evening arrives.
A wide variety of grapes for making Rosé, from pinot noir to grenache to cabernet franc to sangiovese and more are used by Washington winemakers. As diverse as the grapes are that make Washington wines so desirable, the winemakers attention to every aspect of the Rosé making process, promises a unique Rosé from each of these three Washington wineries.
Always a fan of Canoe Ridge Vineyard Rosé I took a chance when I found some bottles recently at my local store of the 2016 Vintage for a great price. However, like an old flame, past seasons of Canoe Ridge Vineyard Rosé have me reminiscing and as with many other wineries this years 2018 release will soon find a place in my wine fridge.
Many people say drink Rosé young and I agree but these bottles were purchased to expand on the strawberry and watermelon flavors of this wine when incorporated into a Summer Rosé Slushy. I will be writing more about this later this Summer, when it is hot and a refreshing Wine Slushy is just the thing to enjoy outside.
I can’t say for sure if this Rosé from Va Piano will still be around when the tomatoes are ripe on these plants.
If you are not familiar with Walla Walla Winery Va Piano, then let me tell you that you are in for a nice surprise. I visited Va Piano last month for the first time and came home with 2 bottles of this lovely Rosé and a bottle of their Chardonnay. Looking for more than just Washington Red Wines on this trip I was thrilled to purchase this wine after a wonderful visit to the Va Piano tasting room. Now I do not want to give away too much because I will be sharing more of this visit soon but I had to add this Rosé this list. Intrigued, I hope so!
“Spending time in Nature has a way of nourishing the Soul.” –Katrina Mayer
A Summer would not be complete without some Seven Hills Winery Rosé.
Another disclaimer here, I haven’t tasted this 2018 Rosé from Seven Hills Winery yet. But, don’t let that sway you in adding it to your Summer Rosé list. Seven Hills Winery was kind enough to give me a sample of this years release after I visited them in Walla Walla a few weeks ago, and I can’t wait to open this bottle. Truth be told, each year I add several bottles of Seven Hills Rosé to my Summer wine collection. Another disclaimer, I am a huge fan of all of Seven Hills Wines. I hope that you give it a try and wait for a story about Seven Hills Winery to come later this summer.
Tasting notes from Seven Hills Winery Website: In the tradition of the classic French Rosés, ours is delicate and refreshing, pale in color, and bone-dry. Primarily Cabernet Franc, with small amounts of Petit Verdot for additional structure and Malbec for expressive fruitfulness, this wine exhibits flavors of peach, grapefruit, and papaya along with fresh herbs and minerality.
Sipping a glass of Rosé sipped on the back deck on a beautiful Summer day is my kind of day.
I hope that I introduced you to some new Summer Rosés and that you add a few of them to your summer sipping list. Rosé is such a versatile wine that works with any meal and is perfect for picnics, summer parties and camping. I would love to hear about your favorite Rosé and what you pair it with.
For more information about each of the wines introduced here please visit them at:
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“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
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