June 18, 2019
Frogs Leap Pink

FROG’S LEAP Pink Wine 2018

Made from 70+ year old vine Carignane and 12% Valdiguie, Frog’s Leap “La Grenouille Rougante” (The Flying Frog) is an intentional rosé, i.e. made like a white wine: grapes pressed off with juice barely affected by the red skins. The result is a style of rosé that Frog’s Leap makes as well as anyone in California. Get mandarin orange, subtle plum and strawberry fruits, citrus blossoms, white pepper and orange zest. Very dry and very healthy acidity…this is a white wine drinker’s preferred style of Rosé for sure. Think Provence/Southern France style.
June 1, 2019
Hogwash Rose 2018

HOGWASH Rose 2018

Almost 100% Grenache, most coming from “Bokisch Vineyard” Lodi. I call this a “Provence Style” Rosé because of its dryness and citrus/stone fruit/strawberry smell/flavor trifecta. Very dry and a low 11.8% alcohol, the 2018 Hogwash is set up to drink bottle after bottle. At $18/bottle it’s a DDWA Awesome Value and makes my “Best of the Best” Value list. Hogwash is part of Tuck Beckstoffer Wines/Seventy Five Wine Company.  
April 2, 2019
Tres Sabores Rose

TRES SABORES Rosé 18

The Tres Sabores Rose 2016 is made from Tres Sabores Estate Zinfandel and Calistoga Petite Sirah. Picked in August, well before the red wine harvest, for great acidity. Like any of the best California Rosés, the wine perks up the palate with acidity then satisfies with a wheel-barrel full of fresh summer fruits. As owner/winemaker Julie Johnson states, it is “strawberry and citrus and white peach all wrapped up into one zesty sip.” Kiss of peppercorn spice and chopped herbs de Provence add dimension. Bone-dry, low alcohol in the 12s, no oak. A fine sipper by itself, and even better […]
March 14, 2019
Benevolent Neglect Rose

Benevolent Neglect Rosé 2018

60% Mourvedre, 40% Carignane intentional Rosé. Co-harvest, press and ferment. This is very much a Provence/Bandol style of Rosé. White pepper, cherry and plum skins, orange zest and Provence herbs are what you get start to finish. While its reddish hue makes one think strawberry and watermelon, not so. This is a dry, savory style of Rosé, which makes total sense from Rhone-varietal specialist Benevolent Neglect. More Information Owners Ben Brenner and Matt Nagy are doing a great job building Benevolent Neglect slowly but surely into one of the next New California Wine go-to labels. Matt, who’s in charge of […]
February 28, 2019
Belharra Rose of Syrah

BELHARRA Rose of Syrah 2018

Get red plums, strawberries, raspberries, cracked black and white pepper and a whiff of violets in the Belharra Rose of Syrah. Dry and light, showing more subtlety than most Syrah Rosé wines I taste. Careful lees-stirring adds texture to the wine without going overboard. This is all Syrah from “Las Madres Vineyard” Carneros. Picked early and pressed for Rosé. This is fermented and aged in stainless steel tank with some lees-stirring for texture. Stylistically, this falls in between the white wine-esque Provence types and the fruitier Southern Rhone style. More Information Belharra is a new, micro-winery owned, made and operated […]
June 8, 2018
Vivier Rose

VIVIER Rosé of Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir’s wild cherry and violet/rose jump out on the nose along with some talc and blood orange. The taste is pure pleasure…a smack of melon, plum and red berry/cherry and bright acidity that lifts the fruitiness up a couple of notches. Has a lightness and tang that appeals to those that seek the driest style of Rosé, and the fruit to remind you what wine is made from. Stephane Vivier is one of Northern California’s best winemakers. His (and his wife’s) Vivier wines focus on Pinot Noir. He also makes Long Meadow Ranch’s Anderson Valley wines and continues on […]
June 2, 2018
Gather Rose

GATHER Rosé of Tempranillo 2017

So darn tasty…wild strawberry, peach, Meyer lemon and white pepper nose transitions to flavors of blood oranges, berries and that peppery spice. I love the acidity…high enough to make it come across as VERY dry, yet it allows the ripe fruit to come forth. All is balanced to a T. While on the higher side for domestic Rosé at $26, it’s worth every darn penny. More Information GATHER is a super-tiny “Mom & Pop” winery. Jessica Tarpy is the Mom and winemaker (she is also the assistant winemaker at Favia). The “main” wine of Gather is “Decimo,” a mostly Tempranillo-based […]
June 2, 2018
Hudson Grenache Rose

HUDSON Grenache Rosé 2017

On the lightest, crispest side of Rosé. Smell and taste wild strawberries, pink rose petals, red plums, peach, fennel and green tea. Tangy, fat-cutting acidity and intense. A much better food companion than a porch-sipper. I compare this more to a cool northern French (Loire, Burgundy) Rosé than a southern French style. One of Hudson Ranch’s many passions is raising heritage pigs for consumption. A Hudson Ranch slow-roasted pork butt from would make a fine companion. From a block of mature Grenache vines on Hudson Ranch. “Purposeful Rosé,” the Grenache grapes are squeezed (“whole cluster pressed”) straight from the vineyard, […]
June 2, 2018
Tres Sabores Rose

TRES SABORES Rosé 2017

Equal parts red berries, citrus and orchard fruit, this very dry style Rosé stands out for its crisp, floral, subtle yet intense style. Smell and taste raspberries, lemon blossoms, white pepper, guava and grapefruit. Meant for food, especially grilled or poached shrimp, smoked trout, charcuterie and oysters on the half shell. More information Made from 75%  Tres Sabores Estate Zinfandel on Rutherford Bench + 25% Petite Sirah from Calistoga: An early harvest was made to make this “Rosé with intent” in the words of owner/winemaker Julie Johnson. Fermented cold in steel tank where the wine lived 6 months before bottling. This […]
June 2, 2018
Campesino Rose Isa 2017

CAMPESINO “Isa” Rosé 2017

This single-vineyard Grenache from eastern Sonoma Coast AVA (between Sonoma and Petaluma) is picked to make Rosé (“intentional”), fermented and aged 6 months in neutral French oak barrels. Equally citrus and stone fruits as red berries. I get blood orange, ripe peach, and wild strawberry along with white pepper, tarragon and mint tea. Has bright acidity (nice & tangy) counter-balanced by its generous fruitiness. Drinks nicely on its own and further blossoms with mild cheeses and white meats. More Information Campesino Cellars is owned and made by husband/wife Griselda and Macario Montoya (Macario is the winemaker). They honor their Mexican […]
May 17, 2018
Philip Staley Sangiovese Rose

PHILIP STALEY Sangiovese Rosé 2017

On the denser, fuller-flavored side of Rosé, Sangiovese’s character comes out (from picking a touch later…this is 14.1% alcohol). Smell and taste wild cherry (cherry skins keep coming to mind – a texture thing), red plums, dry Italian herbs, peach pit, pomegranate and a  touch of cracked black pepper. While it’s graceful and has the natural acidity of Sangiovese, it has the pleasing ripe qualities and texture that California wine can offer. Be sure to check out all my Rose wines reviewed in 2018 here, and read my Rose Report here.
May 7, 2018
Frogs Leap Rose

Frog’s Leap Rosé 2017

Stalwart Napa winery gets Carignane (92%) and Valdiguie (8%) to make their purposeful Rosé. “Provencal style,” in the words of Frog’s Leap founder, owner and co-winemaker John Williams. This has a light orange/brick red color then gentle aromas of lavender, strawberry, thyme, orange tea and crushed white peppercorns. Taste is more of the same, falling as much into the citrus as the red berry fruits. It has subtle flavors yet a mighty intensity. I put this in my “the drier the better” style of Rosé. “Le Grenouille Rouganté” = “the blushing frog. Rosé is a blush…. More Information I am […]
May 1, 2018
Fortunati Rose

FORTUNATI Rosé “Pranzo” 2017

Made from 100% Syrah from Fortunati’s “Estate” vineyard in owner/winemaker Ellen and Gary Luchtel’s backyard. (Gary makes the wine.) A “purposeful Rosé.” Smell and taste black pepper, ripe red plums, fresh blue and raspberry, touch of lavender and coriander. I really like the slightly chewy texture while staying super-fresh and tangy. Fortunati nailed it for flavor, acidity, texture and dryness. This is my garlic/herb marinated, grilled chicken wine for the summer. “I let more grapes grow on the Syrah vines I used to make the Rosé,” Gary explains. “I get ideal hang-time so the grapes develop really good flavors. But […]
April 30, 2018
West and Wilder Rose

WEST and WILDER ROSÉ Can

Each snazzy-looking can has 1/3rd bottle, thus a 3-pack box is 750 ML-same as a standard size bottle. Pinot Noir-based Rosé from unspecified California coastal vineyards. Get wild strawberry, white pepper, talc, fresh skin-on peach, green tea, red plums and cherries both on the nose and in the mouth. Texture is prickly in a good way with healthy acidity, no oak, and a refreshing intensity. On the poundable side…1/3rd can will disappear in a hurry. Important to note that my $20 price tag is for 3 250 ML cans. This makes a fair Value Rating comparison with bottles. I definitely […]
April 24, 2018
Pestoni Family Rose

PESTONI Rose 2017

Made from 61% Sangiovese and 39% Merlot. Saignée method (juice bled off soon-to-be red wine). Pretty aromas of watermelon jolly rancher, fresh peaches, plums and lilacs. Taste is bright, refreshing and friendly: wild cherry, fresh watermelon, dark peach, strawberry and fruit blossoms. Sits lightly in the mouth but with delicious fruit flavors and texture. One of the best Napa Valley Rosés I’ve had. More Information The Pestoni Family proudly claim their 125 year history of grape growing and wine making in the Napa Valley. Andy and Shannon Pestoni have returned to the “family business” after selling their Jelly Jar label […]
April 23, 2018
Olivia Brion Vin Gris

OLIVIA BRION Vin Gris of Syrah 2017

A savory nose of dried orange zest, red currant and peppery greens transitions to myriad flavors that cover fruit, spice and earth. Taste raspberry, apricot, spiced orange tea, green banana, dried blueberry and citron. Finish leads with the spice then comes in with red, crisp fruits (red plums, currants blood orange). Nice mouthfeel and core of acidity. Because it being all Syrah, “purposeful” Rosé and bottled in late March, I expect the flavors to blossom by July 4. More Information Best known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Wild Horse Valley, Olivia Brion Winery “dabbles” in small lots of […]
April 23, 2018
Belharra Rose

BELHARRA Rosé of Syrah 2017

Ripe raspberry, black pepper, pomegranate and dried lavender hit the nose quick. Taste more of the same along with some dark strawberry and candied orange peel. Medium-bodied for Rosé, freshness from cool-climate acidity, robust enough to pair with grilled, full-flavored meats and vegis (as expected from Syrah Rosé). If you’re having a Rose themed dinner party, start with something lighter (like the Vivier) and then move to Belharra Rosé of Syrah. More Information Belharra is a new, micro-winery owned, made and operated by two ladies with notable day jobs. Anne Fogerty (Rivers Marie) and Camille Gaio (Covert Estate). I really […]
April 23, 2018
Cochon Rose Wine

COCHON Rosé 2017

Made from 60% Cinsault, 30% Carignane, 10% Grenache. Smell and taste wild red strawberries, watermelon, cracked pepper (between black & white…can I call them gray peppercorns?), kiss of lavender and thyme. Sits light and dry in the mouth with juicy, tangy sensations and some mouth-coating texture. To me, this hits the mark for flavor, lightness and acidity. I put this in the Southern Rhone style of Rosé over Provence as the strawberry/watermelon flavors point more to a Rhone style. I highly recommend you get to know the three labels under the Cochon “umbrella.” They are Cochon, Odisea and Élevé. They […]
April 23, 2018
Clif Family Rose

CLIF FAMILY Rose of Grenache 2017

Brilliant peach skin/orange/pink color. Smell and taste jasmine, fresh strawberries, pink rose, mandarin orange, watermelon, white pepper. Acidity swirls through. Fresh and invigorating with a strong fruity core while keeping its delicacy. This is a Rosé that drinks great both with or without food. If it is time to eat, I suggest pairing the Clif Family Rose with fresh cheeses, vegis and humus and simple salads and white meats. Grapes harvested for Rose (“purposeful Rose”). At 13.9% alcohol, they must have waited longer than most for their Rosé harvest, which I like: more and better flavor! Clif Family is one […]
April 22, 2018
Oro Bello Rose

ORO BELLO Rosé of Syrah 2017

You can tell this Rosé is made Syrah – raspberries, lavender dark strawberry and black pepper smells and flavors. Medium acidity, no barrel flavor, more texture than the average Rosé. A stronger style for sure, but still it is unequivocally Rosé. An ideal fire-pit cooking wine. More Information Napa producer Oro Bello sourced the Syrah for their Rosé from Madera in the Central Valley. 10% Sauvignon Blanc is added for acidity, more freshness and complexity. Oro Bello is owned and made by Alex Remy – born and raised in Languedoc region of France, he now lives and works in Napa […]
April 22, 2018
Jolie Laide Rose 17

JOLIE LAIDE Rosé of Valdiguié 2017

Sonoma winery Jolie-Laide sources Valdiguie (known for decades in CA as Napa Gamay) from “Buddha Dharma Vineyard,” City of 10,000 Buddhas outside of Ukiah. Wild strawberry and red plum and peppery spice flavors remind me of Grenache Rosé. The twinge of Amaro-esque bitterness takes it another direction, however. Round, curvy texture on the end comes from part concrete tank and neutral oak fermentation and brief aging. More Information Owner/winemaker Scott Schultz does an awesome job making his wines concurrently delicious and interesting. It’s one of two wine lists I am on because they can be hard to get, are always […]
April 22, 2018
le Artishasic Rose Wine

Le ARTISHASIC Rosé 2017

This is Napa winemaker/wine consultant Artie Johnson’s tiny Rosé label. It’s all “Shake Ridge Vineyard” Amador/Sierra Foothills fruit. 55% Mourvèdre, 44% Grenache, 1% Syrah.  Purposeful Rosé: whole cluster pressed, fermented and aged in neutral French oak. Get ripe strawberries and red plums, tarragon, green tea, raspberry. On the fuller bodied side of Rose while being graceful. On the higher side for Rosé at $38. It justifies its price by giving more texture and flavor than most. It’s not a wine for everybody, but if you like the richer styles of Rosé then it’s for you.
April 22, 2018
Betwixt Rose Wine

BETWIXT Rosé 2017

The aroma is classic, appealing Grenache Rosé: watermelon, blood orange, strawberry, peppercorn. Taste more of the same, but more constricted and subtle. Acidity and a talc-like savory quality take the lead. Tang, citrus and background red fruits on the finish. Ultimately, this falls into my REAL DRY category. That said, the red fruit flavors peak through more than most real dry ones. (Grenache just wants to be fruity!) This is 100% Grenache from the Lodi appellation (Mokelumne River is a sub-AVA of Lodi, in its southwest corner). Betwixt is a tiny winery in San Francisco. Owner/Winemaker Tim Telli’s winemaking story is […]
April 22, 2018
Inizi Rose

INIZI Rosé “Hi Jump” 2017

Made from Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Barbera and Dolcetto, destemmed and crushed. I really like the wine’s snap of acidity on the palate, followed by a quick burst of wild cherry and red currant fruit. Watermelon, black peppercorns and ruby red grapefruit flavors sneak in there. Tannins tickle the gums on the savory finish. There’s more going on in this Rosé than most. More Information The winery writes, “INIZI means beginnings in Italian. The name INIZI came from our belief that a bottle of wine begins in the vineyard.” I was recently introduced to their wines and I like the concept, the story and […]