Just because the seasons are changing doesn’t mean you need to stop drinking pink.
Rosé is the perfect wine to toast with any time of year, pairing incredibly well with autumnal dishes like butternut squash soup, roasted kale, cauliflower, sweet potato quinoa, or sweet seared scallops with corn sabayon. I am getting hungry just thinking about it. Let’s raise a glass to toasting pink.
Just like you can drink Rosé all year, you also have to drink bubbles during the year. Willamette Valley is one of the premier areas for juicy, refreshing, traditional method sparkling wine crafted with care from Pinot Noir. From the 240-acre biodynamically and organically farmed ranch in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, Soter Vineyards crafts their stunning Soter Brut Rosé ($72) from their estate Mineral Springs Vineyard. Affectionately referred to as “Soter pop,” when the winery began producing the sparkler, they made so little it was only available on-site at the winery or to club members. Thankfully, today the production size has increased, so this beauty is available for purchase on their website. Aged three years on en triage (on the lees/yeasts in the bottle) in the traditional method, the predominantly Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend is lively and bright, balancing juicy cherry and red apple with hazelnut and marzipan notes, and thousands of tiny dancing bubbles.
For many Rosé lovers, the Provence region of France delivers the very finest options. And one of the best is Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé ($25). IIt is so divine it was even selected as the Rosé wine poured for the late Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee earlier this year. A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Rolle (Vermentino), the salmon-colored wine may look subtle and soft but packs a punch of luscious flavor into its pale pink body. Ripe golden peach, wild berry, and creamy vanilla notes meld with classic herbaceous garrigue flavors filled with wild lavender, sagebrush, rosemary, and thyme. A clean, focused minerality begins on the front palate and lingers throughout, balancing the lush texture and delivering the wine you want to drink daily. Juicy, lively, and refreshing from vineyards within the Cotes du Provence region in the picturesque southern part of France.
Slightly more affordable and equally refreshing, Las Mulas showcases the unlikely blend of Chilean-grown Pinot Noir with Monastrell in the organically grown Las Mulas Rosé. Pinot Noir is typically quite delicate and difficult to grow, thriving best in cool climates. Monastrell (also known as Mourvedre) is a sun-loving variety requiring extreme temperatures and arid conditions to shine. The Monastrell is harvested over a month after the Pinot Noir! Blending the two delivers the perfect mix of freshness with juiciness, wrapped in a juicy-fruit-forward plate. Balanced, easy, and fresh, with strawberry and raspberry notes, it is a tasty option for Thai food, grilled shrimp, or any afternoon sipping.
When we consider Merlot, it is rarely as a Rosé. However, we are celebrating #MerlotMe month, an entire month dedicated to the Bordeaux variety in regions throughout California and the Pacific Northwest, leading us to raise a glass to all styles of the labrador of wine varieties, Merlot. Napa’s Rutherford Hill Winery crafts a balanced, fruit-forward, gastronomic Rose of Merlot ($35) perfect for enjoying anything from Sunday brunch dishes like Crab Benedict or strawberry-stuffed French toast to roasted turkey and cranberries on Thanksgiving. Rich and well-rounded without being weighty, the cherry, berry, and watermelon-filled wine is perfect for enjoying from now until next year’s release is available, and then we will buy that one!