Each year, the new vintage of Oregon ros?s emerge much as a harbinger of summer. The pink bottles excite my gray, rain-soaked Oregon senses, practically quivering with anticipation of long, warm summer days, picnics on the freshly mowed grass and dinners al fresco. These wines somehow trigger the deep inner desire to dust off the patio furniture, sweep the decks and clean the grill in preparation for sunshine, relaxation and lingering evenings full of conversation and sumptuous food. Now, summer and Oregon ros? is finally here in full swing, and all I can?envision is serving these stunning beauties?with succulent seared scallops, rich and tasty bouillabaisse and fresh, seasonal summer salads (stay tuned for recipes).
Ros? is made from red grapes typically used for producing red wines?but how it is vinified will determine the color and style of the finished wine. Depending on the area and the type grape, winemakers will either choose one of three vinification techniques:
- Maceration (or direct pressing) yields a very light color, as the skins have very little contact with the pressed juice.
- Bleeding (also known as Saign?e) is when the crushed grapes cold soak much as a red wine would, but for far less time, before they?re ?bled off? into tank. The result is a darker pink color, with more tannins?(depending on how long the grapes soak for).
- Blending the juices of white and red grapes together ? a method actually forbidden in many wine regions around the world, but practiced readily in others.
Sometimes, producing a ros? is more like an afterthought, a way to use leftover or subpar juice, or a way to use fruit that is not as ripe as a winemaker would like it to be for their red wines. Many winemakers, however, still adhere to their principles that a great Ros? is created in the vineyard. They preselect which grapes they intend to use for their ros? and ensure the wine is the same high quality as the rest of wines in their portfolio, not just a means for generating quick cash flow.
Satiate recently hosted a blind tasting of 10 different Oregon ros?s, In the end, what was easy to see was?that each taster seemed to have their own preferences. While this is not really a surprise at all, it was interesting to see how one person appreciated bracing acidity, while another preferred a softer, rounder wine, and yet another seemed to welcome a hint of residual sugar. The take away was that there is no definitive style as to what a ros? ?should? be, and the beauty is that there is, and will always be, something for everyone. Here are the top 5 recommendations and a few other charmers I tasted later. Yeah, I just couldn’t help myself.
- Alexana 2014 Ros? of Pinot Noir ? Delicious mouthwatering watermelon Now and Later candies, beautifully balanced with just the right amount of acidity, a hint of smokiness, ripe strawberries and delicate floral notes.
- Helioterra 2014 Pinot Noir Ros? ? The gorgeous pale salmon color is exactly what your eyes expect and hope for from a ros?. The nose delivers pink grapefruit, citrus and rose petals which all follow through in a delightfully long finish.
- Teutonic 2014 Laurel Vineyard Ros? ? Fantastic expressions of rhubarb, red plum, Rainier cherries and ruby red grapefruit. The color of a candy apple, and in a word, mesmerizing. This wine showed classic minerality and a deep, rich complexity that left you wanting more.
- Brooks 2014 Ros? – A full and bright nose of citrus and orange blossoms, a mouthful of tart cranberry and creamy strawberries with hints of dusty undertones. This dry and berryful wine was every bit refreshing and the perfect complement to summer cooking.
- Soter 2014 North Valley Ros? ? Primarily Pinot Noir, with a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Gewurtzaminer, this beauty will stop you in your tracks with notes of lemon zest, honeysuckle, red currants, and cherries. Bone dry, with a nice mineral mouth feel, this wine reminds me of a ros? you?d expect to find in Provence.
- Additional recommendations (because I can and you should):
- Anne Amie 2014 Huntington Hill Ros? of Pinot Gris
- Quady North 2014 Ros? of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre
- Abacela 2014 Grenache Ros?
- Stoller 2014 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir Ros?
*In full disclosure, these wines were a combination of samples provided by?the wineries and some purchased by Satiate.