by Sandra Crittenden

by Sandra Crittenden

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Recommended Rosé from Oregon for Summer

Over Memorial Day weekend, I attended the "4th Annual Largest Blind Tasting of American True Rosé". This is an event hosted annually by wine writer/blogger, Jeff Kralik of The Drunken Cyclist. Texas had already begun to reopen after the Covid-19 Stay Home order had been lifted but this was my first day to go out since it had begun. In addition to Jeff and I, two other brave souls, also writer/bloggers ventured out to join us as well, Katrina René from The Corkscrew Concierge and Rebecca Castillo from My Vino Rules.

Jeff defines a true rosé as an intentional rosé, a wine in which the grapes have been grown, harvested, and vinified with the plan of making a rosé versus the Saignée method which is bleeding off from a planned red wine and vinifying the juice as a white wine.

He had accumulated seventy-four sample bottles of American-made rosé wine for this tasting. Virtually all were more than acceptable ranging in the very good category of an 88-89 score or the excellent category of 90 and up, we did have one corked bottle. I would be delighted to accept a chilled glass of any of these wines this summer.
Jeff Kralik - After the unveiling.

The rosés that were Pinot Noir-based tended to be more highly-rated by me at this tasting though their were exceptions. Many of my highest scores were  wines from Willamette Valley though my highest was from California. I decided to write this event up in two posts featuring my top picks from both states, I'm starting here with my top scorers from Oregon. I brought the leftovers of some of my favorite wines home, I did not get them all as some of my fellow tasters were quick to take their favorites as well. I re-tasted these wines with my family with barbecued ribs as part of our holiday celebration the following day. I will include their top picks along with my original notes from Jeff's house.

Big thank you to Jeff Kralik for inviting me to all your great tastings!

Top wines from Willamette Valley:
Willakenzie Estate Rosé 2019 - Light pink with fresh berry and melon aromas and flavors with a hint of minerality in the lingering slightly pithy, crisp finish. 93 points with a $28 SRP. 
Adelsheim Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 - Complex mix of floral and fruity aromas with red cherry flavors with lime zest in the fresh, citrus-filled finish. 93 points with a $28 SRP. 
This was my husband's favorite from the lineup.
Gran Moraine Rosé of Pinot Noir 2019 - Fresh watermelon and grapefruit aromas and flavors with tangy acidity in the lingering citrus-laced finish. 92 points with a $28 SRP. 
My daughter who has taken the WSET-2 and Texas Wine Specialist course and now tastes with me on the Houston Chronicle Tasting Panel crowned this as her favorite, her note was that it tasted like watermelon and joy.
Lange Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 - More deeply hued, this wine was a bit weightier and had sweet ripe raspberry aromas and flavors with a pleasant slightly tart persistent finish. 92 points with a $28 SRP.
My son loved this one, he tends to prefer darker rosé and lighter red wines.
Winderlea Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 - Floral notes of red rose with beautiful acidity and more subtle lingering flavors of apricot and citrus. 90 points with a $35 SRP. 
Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 - Light and fruity with aromas and flavors of fresh strawberry, a bit softer on the palate with a fresh grapefruit note in the finish. 90 points

From elsewhere in Oregon:
Troon Vineyard Rosé - This Tempranillo-based blend was a very different wine in the line-up. It had a yeasty sour beer note, great acidity and grapefruit aromas and flavors with a lingering fresh citrus finish. 92 points with a $25 SRP. 
Fullerton Three Otters Pinot Noir Rosé - Crisp and lively, very Provencal with notes of lavender and a mineral laced finish. 92 points and a $20 SRP.
Division Winemaking Company Gamay Noir - Sweet fruit aromas with a floral note and a lingering fresh, fruity finish. 90 points with a $ SRP.
A to Z Winework Rosé - Composed of Pinot Noir, this one had an interesting sweetart candy note with a rounder feel and a fresh finish. 90 points with a $16  SRP.

Honorable mention to these wines who scored in the 87-89 point range.
Brooks Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rosé 2019
Montinore Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2019
Saffron Fields Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé 2019
Yamhill Valley Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir Estate 2019
Erath Pinot Noir Rosé Oregon 2019
Furioso Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé 2019
Tori Mor Pinot Noir Rosé 2018

Monday, June 8, 2020

Sampling Ron Rubin Winery

I received some samples from the marketing team for Ron Rubin's River Road Family Vineyards and Winery. I was unfamiliar with the brand so a little research informed me that Ron Rubin had grown up in the beverage industry as his family owned a wine and liquor store in Illinois. He attended UC Davis in the early 1970s and studied winemaking. 

Rubin was interested in more than just wine and spirits. He would start his own beverage company and acquire The Republic of Tea which was based in Larkspur, CA. Eventually, he would purchase the River Road Vineyards and Winery in the Green Valley AVA which is a subzone of the Russian River Valley and begin making wine. This is a family company, his son now manages the tea business and his wife, Pam, inspired one of the Chardonnays in their line which is reviewed below.

Ron Rubin Winery Pam's UN-Oaked California Chardonnay 2018 - This is not a traditional dry Chardonnay, it is an off-dry wine with sweet ripe fruit aromas and flavors. It has classic Chardonnay notes of pear, apple, and citrus with food-friendly acidity, moderate alcohol, and a tropical pineapple nuance in the finish. It is a fun summer wine for only $14 per bottle. The grapes are sourced from family owned vineyards in Clarksburg, Lodi, and Mendocino County. I served this wine with a salad lunch made of grilled chicken, feta, spinach, apple, and avocado. It has a suggested retail price of $14.

Two other products for wine lovers that like a bit of sweetness in their vino come from the River Road winery, Ron's Chillable Pink and Ron's Chillable Red. I served these at home on a Sunday evening spent poolside in our backyard. The Pink version was preferred by everyone there except for one young lady friend of my son who had previously told me that she prefers sweeter wines and prefers reds. I set out some fresh berries, ice, and sparkling mineral water for anyone that wanted to make a spritzer or faux sangria. 

Either wine could be a good choice for use in a Sangria recipe and may eliminate the need for adding any additional sweeteners. Both also have a low 7.1% alcohol. The wines were served with a spread that included spicy barbecue sliders, potato salad, avocado salad, and fresh melon. They could be enjoyed with any salty or spicy snacks. Both have a suggested retail price of $12.99.

Ron's Chillable Pink - Appearance wise, any rosé lover would be attracted when seeing this in a glass, however, for those that like their rosé dry and mineral driven, this may not be the right wine for them. It is spritzy, fresh and fruity with sweet mixed berry and melon flavors and a lightly sweet but not cloying finish. I enjoyed it most over ice with a few berries and a splash of sparkling mineral water.

Ron's Chillable Red - Loaded with aromas and flavors of raspberry and plum with a slight savory note which I found disconcerting with the sweetness level. It was also lacking that spritzy element which enhanced the pink version. Only one in our group favored it, she drank it both straight and in a spritzer with fruit and sparkling water. 

The wines are sold at Total Wine, they are affordable and the quality is good for the price.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Restocking Your Wine

As seen in the June 2020 issue of 
Galveston Monthly magazine,
on the stands now.

  After the stay home orders depleted all supplies kept on hand, its time to restock and rethink what are the necessities really needed to stay home for a long time. For wine lovers, there are other pressing needs than just food, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. As hurricane season arrives and you think about restocking freezers and pantries again, think about what wines you will enjoy most while staying at home.