American Rosés For An American Holiday

Food & Drink

No longer Provencal copycats, American rosés are increasingly capable of reflecting their geographies.

It’s our first Fourth of July during a pandemic. I have no words of wisdom for these extraordinary times, except keep your distance (6 feet), and remove your mask only to taste these Americans beauties.

Chateau Ste. Michelle “Le Rosé” Limited Release 2019, Yakima Valley. A little earthy funk on the nose before blowing off for a fresh sweet strawberry shortcake note with an herbal underlay. Slightly creamy, medium bodied food wine with rhubarb greenness and tart raspberry fruit. $25

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2018, Columbia Valley. From the cooler Columbia Valley, a watermelon, strawberry, currant-fruit wine with a botanic tinge. A bit on the creamy side, its medium body is good for light meats and grills, salads, grilled veggies. $15

Diora “La Belle Fete” estate grown rosé 2019, Santa Lucia, Monterey. Pinot Noir-driven (88%) with a bit of Grenache and Chenin Blanc. Tart raspberry with some tart rhubarb and citric zest like a little blood orange and tangerine. Dreamy creamsicle/dairy aspect makes this more about texture and mouth feel than an acid pop. $18

ERATH, Pinot Noir rosé 2018, Oregon. Copper colored wine with strawberry cream and other blended red fruit; relies more on herbal sharpness for its character. A substantial (13%) medium-bodied wine for the grill. $14

14Hands rosé, Washington State. Crisp acid makes this a good food wine. Coral pink and featuring garden herb/vegetable aspect with red fruit overlay. Not bright red fruit, but more savory + vegetal, deeper than a throwback summer porch wine. This was a good match with that coconut chicken stew everyone made during the shutdown. $12

Great Brain Cell Sacrifice, Pinot Noir rosé, 2019 Sta. Rita Hills. Light pink, I thought this was a natural wine because of its light effervescence. Peachy tangerine, med-plus acid gives this crispness and brightness. It’s a likeable fruit-forward wines but more citric than traditional red fruit. Juicy and fun, but with depth. Medium bodied, with slight creaminess to it. Only 225 cases made. $29

JNSQ, Paso Robles. This gets the prize for the most unusual bottle and targeted marketing toward women who want a “Je Ne Sais Quoi” French lifestyle. Well, okie dokie. Plenty of fleshy red ripe fruits peach, Starbright candy fruits in this blend of Grenache, Pinot Gris, Syrah and Viognier, the latter contributing a little heavy florality. I drank it in the park with a friend, after two months of pandemic lockdown. We got caught in a downpour. The whole experience of the crazy bottle, and the unexpected uplift of getting rained on while drinking this light-hearted wine made it special. $29

Justin, 2019, Paso Robles, Central Coast 2019. Light pink, raspberry aroma and delivering a Bing cherry and strawberry Kool-Aid summer freshness. Decent acid, medium body, simple and EZ as a summer day though a wee high on the alcohol (13.5%). Take to the beach or pool. Screwcap. $20

La Crema Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley. A “drink, don’t think” kind of wine from a veritable producer. Salmon pink in color, delivering watermelon and mixed red berries. A little heavier in style, this is a good food rosé, with a little depth on the finish. Drink with tuna sashimi, lobster roll, soft shell crab sandwich. Screwcap. $25

Noble Vines 515 rosé “Vine Select” 2019, Central Coast. A very light pink that mimics its Provencal varietal roots. The 515 is a reference to the 5:15 cocktail hour. A little gummy texture with a heavier mouth feel (13.5%, this is no lightweight). Candied raspberry and strawberry with a slight herbal underlay that lingers on the finish. Screwcap. $15

Oak Farm estate grown rosé 2019, Lodi Valley. I didn’t expect much from this light Provencal pink, wine, only because the etched flower bottle was too pretty and made me suspicious of what was within. I didn’t have much of an impression on the first tasting (probably too busy thinking about the bottle), but the second tasting delivered more savoriness and mixed red fruits (like a four-berry pie minus the blueberry). Creamy mid palate, nice sharp fruit and a lime blossom florality. Made of 50% Barbera + Sangiovese. Screwcap; 13%. $26

Smoke Tree rosé. Pale pink onion skin inspired by its Provençal cousins. Shy nose, but it delivered a lot in the glass: juicy, fresh market berries, and nice elevating acid give this wine dual purpose as both an aperitif and a very food friendly wine. Perfect for brunch, seafood dishes, or salad. I wanted this with a lobster roll or shrimp salad. Clean, crisp straight forward and very enjoyable. $19

Sosie rosé Vivio Vineyard, Bennett Valley, Sonoma. A bit of a heavier style and it shows in the high alcohol—14.7%. That got a bit in the way and the resulting wine was less crisp and fresh and more savory and herbal. Perhaps better for the grill than the pool. $25

Tatomer Pinot Noir rosé, Edna Valley. A pretty strawberry pink wine that jumps out of the glass with raspberry compote and watermelon Jolly Rancher. A little earthy with some garden/rhubarb savoriness, making this a home run with grilled veggies or a green salad with strawberries, feta and avocado with blood orange vinaigrette. Not to be too specific … $28

The Withers rosé 2019 “El Dorado” Healdsburg (Napa). This was a fun bottle to have on the table with its hand-drawn horse on the label and it was fun to have in the glass. Made of 53% Grenache, 43% Mourvedre, 4% Coundise, this coppery pink wine had a light, leafy botanic nose and delivered ripe red fruit like late-summer strawberry rhubarb compote. Not a crisp aperitif kind of wine but excellent with soft cheeses, smoked salumi and grilled tuna. $22

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