By Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr
We don’t know about you, but the summer heat this year seems more oppressive than in previous years. It is not uncommon for temperatures above 90 degrees to push us indoors as if it was another round of COVID isolations to keep us captive. Even if it’s safer this time to venture outdoors, you don’t want to.
The weather is unusually hot in France, too, but Parisians will not be deterred from flocking to Mediterranean beaches for vacation. In the next month, they will be on the beach and eventually at a café with a carafe of rosé.
Staying hydrated during these hot months is important, especially if your job takes you outdoors or if you are committed to an outdoor exercise routine. Water is the best prevention for heat exhaustion, but in the evening – when it’s time to reward yourself for a productive day – it’s time for a cool libation. What works best at this time of the year is rosé.
We’ve written about these refreshing elixirs many times. Throughout this summer we have tasted more rosés than ever. That’s because more producers are getting into the rosé market as sales of this wine group continue to grow. It is a wine associated with summer like champagne is associated with the winter holidays.
Here are several rosés we recently have tasted and enjoyed:
Chateau de Manissy Tavel Cuvee des Lys Rosé 2021 ($16). We liked the mix of grape varieties in this wine because of its different profile. Grenache gris, clairette, cinsault and syrah harmonize to create a wine that is abundant in strawberry and red berry flavors.
Chateau Mourgues du Gres Galets Costieres de Nimes Rosé 2021 ($13). Grenache, syrah and mourvedre team up to offer a wine with raspberry and citrus notes.
Alain Jaume Bellissime Cotes du Rhone Rosé 2021 ($18). Strawberry and varietal spice notes grace this wonderfully delicious blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre.
Chateau des Ferrages Roumery Cotes de Provence Rosé 2021 ($21). This rosé leans more on cinsault with help from syrah, grenache, rolle and clairette. Elegant with notes of strawberries and citrus.
MacRostie Winery & Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir 2021 ($30). Winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen has created a relatively complex and layered rosé by combining a direct press and the traditional saignee method. Luxurious mouthfeel with forward, juicy red fruit character.
Sonoma-Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir ($25). Grapefruit and tangerine aromas with vibrant strawberry and citrus flavors. Good acidity.
French Blue Bordeaux Rosé 2021 ($15). Cabernet franc and merlot go into this delightful wine from the Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. Floral aromas and strawberry flavors.
Fossil Point Grenache Rosé 2021 ($18). A little syrah and mourvedre give this delicious San Luis Obispo rosé some lift. Strawberry and grapefruit notes.
St. Michelle Le Rosé 2021 ($26). Cabernet sauvignon and syrah go into this limited release from a Washington state powerhouse. Strawberry aromas with peach and citrus flavors.
Ancient Peaks Rosé Paso Robles 2021 ($26). Strawberry and cherry notes dominate the flavor profile. An eminently quaffable rosé.
Ehlers Sylviane Rosé 2021 ($38). The blend of this concentrated Napa Valley rosé is more Bordeaux-like with cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. Understated strawberry and stone fruit aromas blossom into tart red berry flavors.
Alma de Cattelya Rosé of Pinot Noir 2021 ($22). This brisk and fresh rosé from Sonoma County has effusive strawberry aromas and strawberry/raspberry flavors.
Masseria Li Veli Torrerose Rosato Salento IGT 2021 ($15). From southern Italy’s Puglia region, this wine uses negroamaro grapes to provide a lively and brisk character. Citrus and red fruit flavors.
Alma Rosa Sta. Rita Hills Vin Gris of Pinot Noir 2021 ($35). More serious than your average rosé, this one made from estate-grown pinot noir grapes is elegant with a nice mineral thread and delicate red fruit and citrus flavors.
Scaia Rondinella Veneto IGT Rosato 2021 ($15). Made from estate-grown rondinella grapes, this unusual rosé from Italy has classic red fruit character, herbs and some citrus notes.
Looking for an escape from a hectic business life, Lynn and Anisya Fritz purchased Quail Hill Ranch in 1980. When Lynn sold Fritz Companies, a global logistics organization, he and his wife moved to Russian River Valley and turned their attention to the vineyard. Today they have several vineyards that comprise 80 acres of Lynmar Estate.
Once a source for Matanzas Creek and Etude, the grapes now go into Lynmar’s own wines.
Anisya said, “Lynmar’s singular business proposition is to make a limited production of finest quality wine and provide a meaningful direct-to-consumer experience that forms a genuine, long-standing relationship.”
We enjoyed the 2018 Lynmar Quail Hill Vineyard Chardonnay ($63). Three clones of chardonnay give this wine a lot of breadth. Generous jasmine and citrus aromas with rich tropical fruit notes and a dash of spice.
We also liked the 2018 Quail Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir ($71) made with no less than nine clones of pinot noir. Blueberry and black cherry notes are accented by a hint of tea.
Pete Soergel was recently promoted to director of winemaking and vineyards. He has been with Lynmar for the past decade.
McManis Family Vineyards River Junction Chardonnay 2021 ($11). Stone-fruit and banana notes dominate this buttery chardonnay. Simple but well priced. We’ve seen it for $8 in some stores.
Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery Olivet Lane Vineyard Chardonnay 2019 ($50). From the Russian River Valley, this fresh chardonnay has broad notes of Meyer lemon, honeysuckle and apricots cast in a smooth, creamy texture.
Brandlin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 ($90). This well-respected producer is making excellent wines from high on the steep slopes of Mt. Veeder. Not surprising, the wines – this one is blended with petite verdot, cabernet franc and malbec – are dense and rich. Forward dark fruit flavors with layered notes of cassis, currants and olive. Big but soft tannins make it drinkable now but promises improvement with some age.