After the string of years spanning roughly 2012 through 2017, during which our rosé from Gamay grapes seemed to become more focussed, energetic, and delicious with each succeeding vintage, and sold ever-more rapidly, as the market expanded (or, should I say, exploded?), when the version from 2017 was picked as the best of the American rosés being reviewed by the New York Times tasting panel in the Summer of 2018, the thought passed through my mind: I have to stop making this rosé, it can’t get any better! (i.e., therefore, it’s bound to be disappointing…)
Then, about a month after the Times article, what had become an uncomfortably warm growing season, suddenly cooled down dramatically; both daytime and night-time highs and lows dropped more than ten degrees Fahrenheit, and the pace of maturing in the fruit slowed down to a pretty leisurely pace. And, more importantly, stayed that way for the remainder of the season, right through harvest. I’ve never seen a vintage like it, among the 47 I’ve now witnessed, since I first began paying attention back in 1972. We had beautiful raw material! Best ever! So, the rosé didn’t disappoint, not at all!
Fruit Sources: Witters Vineyard, at roughly 1,000 meters elevation is the site of our original planting of Gamay, in 2000. The soil at Witters is of volcanic origin, a clay-loam, quite red in color. Giving wines with good perfume, and finesse. Barsotti Ranch, at approximately 900 meters, is in weathered and decomposed granite soils, providing firm structure and grip to the wines that grow in it. (Planted in 2005)
Winemaking Notes: grapes picked August 31st (57% Witters Vineyard: volcanic clay-loam/43% Barsotti: decomposed granite), at just 21 degrees Brix/ 3.3 pH. Destemmed into press, and pressed immediately. Fermented cool (<58 degrees Fahrenheit), small SO2 addition at dryness, and tank cooled to block malolactic ferment. Racked in December, and again in early February. Bottled February 6th, 2019.
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes: Pale, pink-orange color. Fresh, nervy aromas: face powdery, rock-candy and spice, overlaid on white peach and faint raspberry. Edgy and mineral, just barely beginning to relax. Very lively on palate entry, quite structured yet with a pleasing roundness as the palate is engaged: white peach, nectarine, and light raspberry, really refreshing, and, as has nearly always been true, both thirst-quenching, and thirst-engendering. More depth, detail, delineation than perhaps any previous vintage.
Total Production: Just under 600 cases. Retail price: $23.00
Release date: March, 2019.