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2012 Tres Sabores Rosé “Ingrid and Julia” Napa Valley

Last week I took a wine tour group to Tres Sabores in Rutherford. The weather was very warm but with a refreshing breeze. The sky was blue, the vista clear and gorgeous. First in our glasses was a wine perfect for the day. Tres Sabores' Ingrid and Julia rosé was cold and cotton candy pink. While low in alcohol and essentially bone-dry, the fruit was ripe and succulent. I couldn’t resist buying a couple of bottles for myself before leaving.

Wineries produce rosé from all types of red wine grapes: Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, etc. Individual wines vary in quality but there’s only one red grape whose rosé is dissed by discriminating drinkers without first being tasted—Zinfandel. Thanks to the mass-market popularity of simple and cloying White Zinfandel, blushing Zins are considered an embarrassment to fine wine. Now though, excellent producers of traditional Zinfandel, including Turley, are showing that pale Zinfandel can be dry and sophisticated.

Tres Sabores doesn’t make a big deal about the Zinfandel in Ingrid and Julia. They don’t even mention it on the bottle. You can’t blame them. I’ve let the cat out of the bag now, but don’t let that bias you against the wine.

Light pink in a frosty glass, Ingrid and Julia smells of fresh strawberry and peach with peppery spice and an undertone of dry herb. It’s medium-bodied, viscous and juicy in the mouth with flavors of tart red berries, creamy peach and spice. At just 12.4% alcohol, the 2012 Tres Sabores Rosé “Ingrid and Julia” is a guilt-free refresher served well-chilled on the patio or with a light summer lunch. Drink now through 2014. Recommended.

2012 Tres Sabores Rosé “Ingrid and Julia” Napa Valley
tres-sabores-ingrid-and-julia
Rating: Recommended

Drink: now through 2014
Closure: Cork
Retail Price: $22.00

Winemaker: Julie Johnson
Blend: Zinfandel and perhaps a bit of Petite Sirah

Origin: Tres Sabores estate vineyard, Rutherford and a vineyard in Calistoga
Alcohol: 12.4%

Service Recommendations

Decanting: Not recommended

Temperature: 40º - 50º F

Food Pairings: Picnic fare

Interpreting my wine ratings

 

Disclosures: The FTC has tightened its guidelines with respect to online ads, reviews, blogs, etc. in response to people who are passing paid ads off as personal recommendations or who accept samples of expensive hard goods in exchange for reviews. My lengthy disclosure here is meant to address those guidelines.

The review above reflects my personal experience with the product. It is not a paid ad, nor do I accept ads or compensation for reviews from wine producers. Reviews may cover products that I have purchased, received as samples, or tried under other circumstances I consider to be good tasting conditions. Receiving a product as a sample does not obligate me to review it positively (or at all) and I do not consider samples to be compensation or “free wine.” I have purchased plenty of wine over the years and have more of that than I can drink. Samples are opened for review purposes, not added to my personal cellar or taken to restaurants.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2013 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2012 Vina Robles Roseum Huerhuero Vineyard Paso Robles

Another excellent value from Vina Robles, this rosé of Syrah celebrates Spring with juicy, fresh fruit. The color is dark for a rosé and the aromas are shy either. Sweet strawberry, grenadine, red cherries, cherry blossom, sweet herb and vanilla rise from the glass. Persistent juiciness on the palate is matched with medium-plus body and a delicious fruit salad of crushed red berries, cherry, banana and spice. Drink now through 2015. Recommended+.

VR BtlShot 12 Roseum small2012 Vina Robles Roseum Huerhuero Vineyard Paso Robles

Rating: Recommended+

Drink: now - 2014
Release Date: March 31, 2013

Closure: Screwcap
Production: 480 cases
Retail Price: $13.00

Winemaker: Kevin Willenborg

Origin: Huerhuero Vineyard, Paso Robles AVAi
Blend: 100% Syrah Fermentation: 24 hour cold soak on skins, all stainless fermentation
Aging: none
Alcohol: 14.9%

Service Recommendations

Decanting: Not required
Temperature: 50º - 54º F 
Food Pairings: fried chicken, salmon with fruit salsa, steamed mussels

The wine above was received as a review sample.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2013 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2010 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Syrah Rosé “Corralina” Napa Valley

I like the concept of rosé. And they are pretty to look at. But I often find the wine falls short. Sometimes they have plenty of acidity but not enough fruit. Some are too high in alcohol, not good for summer sipping. Others simply lack flavor.

Then I taste something like the 2010 Stepping Stone “Corralina” and I get excited about drinking rosé all over again. A rosé of Syrah, this wine offers satisfying body, yet has plenty of acidity to cleanse the palate and enhance a meal. The fruit bowl aromas and flavors are delicious too.

”Corralina” is the Italian word for coral. That’s a great descriptor for the gorgeous color of this wine. My initial notes said “brilliant salmon,” but coral pink is even better. Poured cold from the fridge, I got ripe white peach — the flesh and the skin — on the nose. As the wine warmed up, there were strawberry, tangerine zest and floral notes too. The palate is dry and supple with very light tannins. Scrumptious peach, strawberry, banana, vanilla and a chiffonade of sweet mint come with each sip. And the bottle is empty before you know it. Drink it cold and soon for maximum freshness. Highly Recommended.

2010-corralina2010 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Syrah Rosé “Corralina” Napa Valley
Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: now through 2012
Bottling Date: March 31, 2011
Closure: Cork
Production: 289 cases

Retail Price: $18

Winemaker: Jeff Keene

Blend: Syrah
Origin: Mogambo Vineyard, Oak Knoll AVA, Napa Valley
Aging: 6 months in “mature” oak barrels

Alcohol: 13.9%

This wine was received for review from the winery.

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Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2009 Tablas Creek Rosé Paso Robles

Rhone-varietal wines come in all shades of red and white. There are inky black Petite Sirah and cherry-red Grenache. Some of the white wines are pale yellow when young. Aged Marsanne, like those from Australia’s Tahbilk winery, can be amber. But there is another range of hues for the wines celebrated by the Rhone Rangers. It starts at powderpuff pink and runs through salmon to copper and beyond. There is actually an appellation in the Rhone Valley, Tavel, devoted solely to rosé. Unlike inexpensive blush wines, these rosés — and their excellent cousins made here in California — are bone dry and offer complexity far beyond simple red fruit flavors.

There are three principal methods for making a rosé. The first and least preferable is to blend finished red and white wines. Any color of wine can be created but, as with 3AM Las Vegas weddings, a harmonious union is rarely achieved. The vigneron of Tavel have a better way of making rosé from a combination of red and white grapes. They put the light and dark grapes together in a vat and let the weight of the fruit itself squeeze out the juice. The liquid sits with the mingled berries until the flavors and color are as desired. This doesn’t take long. Then the winemaker moves the juice to a different tank for fermentation.

But the method preferred by the most serious rosé aficionados uses no white grapes at all. Winemakers process red grapes as they would for red wine but the juice is drawn away from the skins much earlier. Called the Saignée method, this technique can deliver complexity and easy-to-recognize varietal characteristics. (If only a small amount of the juice is removed early, the  remaining will become more concentrated, tannic and packed with flavor than would otherwise be the case. Fans of intense red wines should thank rosé drinkers!)

The 2009 Tablas Creek Rosé of Mourvedre, Grenache and Counoise is more intensely colored than most rosés indicating longer than average skin contact. It has a brilliant coppery red hue that fades to a water white rim. The nose is bowl of crushed strawberries and cherries with dry thyme and watermelon rind. Dry on the palate with medium body, the wine's zesty freshness is moderated by light tannins and some heat on the back palate. Delicate flavors of cherry and strawberry get zip from a smidgen of tart green apple.

At 14.5% alcohol, Tablas Creek’s 2009 Rosé is powerful but also has enough body to appeal to those red wine drinkers who normally shun rosé. The wine will work not only with a picnic lunch of fried chicken or charcuterie, but also grilled pork loin or cold slices of roast beef. The wine will make a good aperitif, but it’s not a lightweight summer sipper that you will want to quaff in volume on a hot Summer day. As with almost all rosé wines, this one should be consumed when it's young to get the fresh fruit flavors at their peak. Drink it now through 2012. Recommended.

You will find a good number of fine rosé wines based on Rhone varieties at the Rhone Rangers events in San Francisco on March 26 & 27. Enter our contest to win a pair of free tickets (a $90 value) to the Grand Tasting. And keep up with this month’s Rhone Rangers news and articles by following @RhoneRangers and watching the #RRSF hashtag on Twitter.

2009-Tablas-Creek-Rose

Tablas Creek Rosé Paso Robles
Rating: Recommended

Drink: Now through 2012
Retail Price: $27

Blend: 46% Mourvedre, 39% Grenache, 15% Counoise
Vinification: Co-fermented in stainless steel, Saignée-method
Origin: Paso Robles, certified organic estate vineyard

Alcohol: 14.5%

Closure: Screwcap

The wine above was purchased for review.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the right above and also below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.