With the summer temps having arrived (and Westchester Magazine‘s annual Wine & Food Festival right around the corner), it’s time to take back up with rosé. Because it’s made largely from red grapes, but using a white wine method, rosé can be a perfect pairing for everything from fish to ribs, or from beach blanket to dinner party. While last year we focused on New York rosés, this year we blind-tasted nearly 30 roses made by American women. The competition was fierce and featured everything from taffy-like mass-market standards to bone-dry boutique winery beauties. They’re all American, not Provençal, but you won’t find sickly candied notes in any of these wines. Rather, what you’ll get is fruit and acidity, and sometimes a hint of earthy notes as well.
Photo courtesy of DAMA Wines
DAMA Wines, 2017 Rosé of Cabernet Franc
Mary Derby, founder and owner of Washington state winery Dama Wines, has nicknamed this wine “aromas of spring.” Pale salmon colored in the glass, the wine offers up a nose that just barely hints at a light watermelon Jolly Rancher, then delivers mandarin orange, floral notes, and a touch of salinity. On the palate, this rosé of Cabernet Franc has good fruit and the kind of bright acid that Washington wines can deliver. There’s light raspberry fruit here and even a hint of green almond, with a slightly silky finish.
$25 at www.DamaWines.com
Photo courtesy of CÔte Bonneville
Côte Bonneville, 2017 Cabernet Franc Rosé
In the glass, the wine is a pretty pale salmon. Dried flowers and herbs erupt initially on the nose, and then lead to white cherry — think Rainier cherries — and raspberry. On the palate, the wine is full of light raspberries, white strawberries, and spice notes that give it even more authenticity. Fresh and racy, yet with great length and structure, the wine can stand up to food, or a visit with the mother-in-law.
Winemaker Kerry Shiels got the fruit for this wine from Côte Bonneville’s estate DuBrul Vineyard, in Washington’s Yakima Valley, which her mother, Kathy, discovered and planted alongside dad Hush in 1992.
Lazy Creek Vineyards, 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir
Color-wise the darkest in this group of best rosé wines by American women, the Lazy Creek rosé is a deep salmon to almost pink in the glass. At first, the nose seems almost candied — there’s a hint of creamsicle here and then tons of strawberry and wild honey. Wild strawberries and orange notes, plus good acid and length, come through on the palate, too. Winemaker Christy Ackerman made the wine out of California’s Anderson Valley.
$22, available at www.lazycreekvineyards.com
Chehalem Wines, 2017 Three Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir
From the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley comes this elegant looking rosé of Pinot Noir. On the nose, there’s dried white cherry, strawberries, a hint of tree branch, and lots of white flower. In the glass, the wine is equally elegant and is lush with strawberry, peach, and just the barest hint of Oregon earthiness. Winemaker Wynne Peterson-Nedry originally crafted this wine, although associate winemaker Katie Santora has recently picked up the torch.
Chateau Ste Michelle, 2017 Rosé
Young gun Leah Adint, an assistant winemaker was the driving for behind this year’s Chateau Ste Michelle rosé, which is made mostly of Syrah. Coming out of Washington’s Columbia Valley, the wine is fresh and lively. There’s watermelon, peach, raspberry and serious citrus on the nose, while on the palate, the wine has raspberry, strawberry, peach, and melon notes, plus bracingly good acidity.
$15, online but coming soon to a variety of stores in Westchester.
Meiomi, 2017 Rosé
The largest producer in this group of lady-made rosés delivers a blend — we know not of what grapes — from the Monterey, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara counties. Melissa Stackhouse makes this pale salmon-colored wine. On the nose, there’s light white strawberry and a hint of mushroom, which carries through on the palate as well.
$22.99 at Stew Leonard’s Wines & Spirits of Yonkers
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