A few sips of Rosé with HJW and EJ

Five Rosés for comparison


This past week we were given the opportunity to taste through a flight of Rosé alongside our Winemaker Kevin Sass, Hansjörg Wyss, and Ed Jaramillo.  It was a great experience both to taste the wines, and to discuss our reactions to them.

The flight was selected based upon price point (over $15 and under $30) and rating (every wine in the tasting–other than ours which has only recently been submitted–received at least a 90 point rating from a well known wine periodical).

Hansjörg offers his opinion


We’ll refrain from going into to much detail with regard to tasting notes except to say that: 2 of the wines tasted were slightly sweet and very aromatic, 1 seemed quite neutral both on the nose and the palate, 1 was extremely pleasant and extremely dry, 1 initially gave off a very reduced, sulfuric, and generally pungent aroma.

Kevin offered an incisive perspective on the ‘what’ behind stinky or ‘reduced’ Rose.  Particular grape varieties (the crown three local rhones among them–Grenache Syrah Mourvedre) have a high potential to become a bit pungent to the new world nostril if they are denied oxygen during fermentation.  With Rosé it is easy to leave out the oxygen–or leave out the step of allowing oxygen into the mix–because the wine is treated like a white for most of fermentation (ie it is in tank and while the winemaker is likely watching the chemical composition and temperature, she or he might not be actively tasting or sniffing throughout fermentation and during the storage period prior to bottling).

Kevin pours us through the line up


There is a degree of stylistic choice in this process (as in most aspects of winemaking), it might be desirable to have a slight funk for zest in a bottle of pink.  The fine line, is finding that wonderful place where the details and development of a wine are a delight, as opposed to a hindrance, a subtlety as opposed to an overwhelming aspect.  We can say with enthusiasm that all of these wines were well made and interesting, the reduced bottle opened up delightfully once it had been allowed to take in an hour’s worth of oxygen.

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