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Bottling and Tasting 2011 McCay Cellars Rosé

McCay Cellars is best known for red wine, especially their very fine, French oak-aged Zinfandel. This year though, Michael McCay also released a white and a rosé. I opened a bottle of the rosé with a small tasting panel the other day. We loved it.

It’s a Rhone blend, mostly Carignane with some Grenache and Syrah. The Carignane, pronounced “kerrigan” by Lodi farmers, came from 102-year old vines on Rauser Ranch near the Mokelumne River. The grapes were harvested specifically to make this rosé, so it's dry but still naturally fresh and moderate in alcohol.

I happened to be at McCay Cellars earlier this year when the wine was bottled. Here are a few of the photos I took that day.

mccay-rose-labels
A spool of labels awaits bottles on the mobile bottling line at McCay Cellars in March 2012.

rose-bottling
Bottles are slowly fed into a turnstile that holds them firmly while the capsule is crimped.

rose-bubbles
Bottling isn't gentle. The bubbles are air, not carbonation. Wine needs a few weeks to settle after bottling before it's ready to drink.

rose-capping
A rotating mechanism crimps the capsules.

Salmon-colored in the glass with a pale rim, the wine offers pretty, fruit-driven aromas of fresh strawberry, sweet spice, a spray of flowers and a touch of eucalyptus. The 2011 McCay Cellars is delicious in the mouth too, with flavors of strawberry jam, pressed watermelon, sweet spice and hints of vanilla and clove. The palate is dry with medium-plus body and a creamy feel that subsides gradually to reveal texture. The mouthfeel, coupled with attractive freshness and just 12.5% alcohol make it an excellent food wine. It’s lovely by itself though too. Drink now through 2013. Highly Recommended.

mccay-rose-bottle2011 McCay Cellars Rosé
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: now - 2013
Bottling Date: March 2012
Closure: Cork
Production: 133 cases
Retail Price: $18.00

Winemaker: Michael McCay
Blend: 70% Carignane, 25% Grenache, 5% Syrah
Origin: Lodi AVA
Fermentation: Native yeast in stainless steel
Alcohol: 12.49%

Service Recommendations
Decanting: Not recommended
Temperature: 52º - 56º F
Food Pairings: Roast chicken or seafood enchiladas

The wine above was provided by the winery for review.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. Bottle photo courtesy of McCay Cellars. All rights reserved.

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