Top 100 Wines: Rosé
Category: Recent Press
Updated 3:44 a.m., Monday, December 3, 2012
When the Top 100 includes almost as much pink wine as Chardonnay, it's safe to say that rosé has fully arrived. In part, credit cool 2011 vintages along the West Coast that spurred winemakers to think pink. But also, it has become acceptable to drink rosé all year long. No surprise there: It is perhaps the most food-friendly of wines, able to walk in the shoes of both white and red.
We also should thank vintners for finally giving it serious consideration. Where once most domestic rosé was simply a byproduct of red winemaking, it's now increasingly being picked and pressed on its own - a great sign of a wine culture that's comfortable with itself.
2011 Ponzi Rosato Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rosé ($15, 13.5%): Beaverton-based Ponzi farms enough Pinot to dedicate plenty to rosé. With a full day of soaking on grape skins. this is a dedicated effort, showing a foresty edge to sweet raspberry and cranberry. Intense and slightly tannic, and just right for heartier fare.
2011 Copain Tous Ensemble Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Rosé ($20, 13.2% alcohol): The pink part of Wells Guthrie's project to bring affordable Anderson Valley wines to the shelf became one of the summer's most refreshing treats - and is still a pleasure. Mandarin orange, fresh berry, aniseed and chervil make it a perfect sushi wine.
2011 Knez Cerise Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Rosé ($15, 13.2%): It's impressive for Cerise owner Peter Knez and winemaker Anthony Filiberti to put this much wine, from a key vineyard, into the bottle for this price. Seville orange and tart cherry, with a perfect coral hue and firm minerality, and yet its richness makes it perfect for even substantial fare.
2011 Luminous Hills Aura Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir Rosé ($21, 12.8%): A true Pinot rosé expression from this young Oregon label. Made by the saignée process, it blends the floral aspects of baby's breath and carrot leaves with high-toned cranberry. Thoughtful and delicate.
2011 Scherrer Sonoma County Rosé ($18, 12%): Sonoma's Fred Scherrer has a talent with rosé and his 2011 is a dramatic, serious wine. With 70 percent Syrah and the remainder Grenache, all directly pressed for this wine, it mixes tangy raspberry and elderflower with a savory iodine kick. Score one for pink dedication.
2011 Turley Napa Valley White Zinfandel ($19, 11.2%): In no way to diminish Turley's capacity with red Zin - the 2010 Hayne is one of the best in California - but this project inspired by Christina Turley to restore respectability to White Zinfandel is more than important enough to earn a Top 100 spot. From early-picked estate fruit, this dry rosé didn't need to be so good. But it is. Crisp orange peel, strawberry leaves and subtle berry fruit make it aromatic and complex, a wine to reclaim white Zinfandel from cheap, sweet depths.