Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Would You Like Rose Petal Aroma from Rose? (I Do.) And Other Goodness from a Pale Pink Bottle...

It's summer and if you've been suffering from the heat, you've probably reached for some rose.

Instead of buying a questionable bottle at Trader Joe's, why not check out any of these beautiful organically grown ones? They're sort of like Baskin Robbins 31 flavors in that they come from so many different varietals.

I've tasted - and strongly recommend - these:

1. Verdad - Grenache Rose $15

I'm into the second case of this one. It's the daily drinker in my house - and has been a hit at every picnic and dinner I've brought it to as well. It's biodynamically grown in Edna Valley. Verdad specializes in Spanish varietals. This one's my favorite rose.

They actually pick the grapes TO MAKE rose specifically. Most unusual. It's 90% grenache and 10% mourvedre. And it's fermented biodynamically as well - which includes natural yeast fermentation.

Tasting notes: strawberries, hints of rose petals (the latter being perhaps the reason why I like it SO much.)

Where to Buy: I got this from the producer, but it's available online. I also found it locally to pick up in SF (online).

2. Naughty Dog Vineyard - Dry Rose (of Pinot Noir) - $16

The newest vintage from Naughty Dog is out and it's very fine indeed. I recently sampled it down by the creek/river with winery owner and grower Jim Scott. Along side us, his two naughty boxers ran up and down, splashing through the "tasting room" (a couple of chairs on a rock bed of the creek).


Barrel fermented from organically certified grapes.

Where to Buy: Sold in Northern California stores - call Naughty Boy to find a local store in your area that carries it.

3. Bonterra Rose - $10

Bonterra has to make one of the most unique roses on the planet - who else blends together Zinfandel, Sangiovese and Grenache for a super bright pink glass of summer flavors. It's truly a New World wine.

Where to Buy: You might even find this one in your supermarket. Otherwise, you can order it online.

4. Testa Simply Rose (of Carignane) $18 (10% case discount)

Testa has just released its first rose which might be one of the only roses of carignane around. I've written about it earlier, but it should definitely be part of any rose roundup.

Where to Buy: Locally around Ukiah in stores; contact Testa for direct orders or to find retailers in your area.

5. Horse and Plow Rose $15

This just got a noteworthy mention in Jon Bonne's rose picks. This one is sourced from organic syrah, grenache and carignane. Here's what he says about it:

2010 Horse & Plow North Coast Rosé ($15, 13.9%): This label run by Lutea winemaker Suzanne Hagins and her husband, Chris Condos of Vinum Cellars, has a deft hand with Rhone-native grapes, including this effort sourced mostly from an old vineyard north of Ukiah. A blend of Carignane, Syrah and Grenache with a pleasing grip and spicy bite. Black pepper and celery seed, plus orange peel, apricot and huckleberry

Where to Buy: Online or from the winery.

6. Domaine Abatucci Rouge - $29-32

I don't usually feature European wines on this blog (locavore-y and all that here) but once in awhile, you might want to know about something special from regions further afield.

This Corsican "Cadillac" of Roses is imported by Kermit Lynch and is around in wine shops as well. At first, I balked about this wine, wondering how a rose could cost This Much. But it came in my monthly Kermit Lynch wine club (2 bottles a month for $40), so it just arrived in my inbox, as it were.

It's hard to resist KL's descriptions - the wine maker sings to the vines, etc. etc. - but it is grown biodynamically and it does have some of the most amazing aromatics you will find in a rose. It's made from an indigenous grape - Sciacarellu - grown on steep mountain hillsides in the interior of the island.

Shall we go there?

At least by glass.

Kermit sells it for $32 but I saw it for $29 at Arlequin.

This is a great wine if you want to impress a connoisseur - for some reason. A delicate and lovely perfume.

Where to Buy: Online through Kermit Lynch or in fine wine stores; call Kermit Lynch for locations.

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