Three 2012 Roses

Hello friends. The power of suggestion is strong. We hear that all the time in the wine trade.

Can we make it apply to weather?

That’s what we’re aiming for today: an attempt to move things along towards summer, towards rosé season.

We’re going to handle rosés a little differently this year. For bottlings that have been popular in previous vintages, we’re going get them out nice and early, let everyone start drinking them as the weather turns, and then we’ll have them available for reorder throughout the summer and autumn (as long as they last, anyway; each of today’s three sold out well before Labor Day last summer).

We’ll offer them out in groups as they’re released, and this first blast contains the bunch released on April 1. As usual, we tend to seek out rosés where the grapes were picked specifically for rosé; we tend to favor versions made from thinner-skinned varieties; and we tend to favor them dry, low-alc, and acid-driven.

2012 Renegade Rose

A screaming value. It’s 76% Syrah, not usually my favorite for rosé, but Trey Busch works magic here, blending with 20% Mourvedre and 4% Cinsault. Alcohol clocks in at 12.5%, and this is bone-dry, mixing fruity notes of strawberry, raspberry, and watermelon with grace notes both savory (straw, bay leaf) and citrusy (great tangerine acid). Much better complexity and overall energy than we have any right to expect at this tariff.

2012 Julia’s Dazzle (Long Shadows)

Without question, one of the weirdest bottles produced in Washington each year. First off, there’s the bottle, which basically looks like a big pink bowling pin. Then, there’s the technique: Gris de Gris. There are a few grapes that make white wine, but whose skin actually takes on a pinkish-gray pigment, such that a rosé is possible. The most famous Gris de Gris is Domaine de Fontsainte’s in the Corbieres region of France, made mostly from Grenache Gris. Dazzle is made from Pinot Gris, with 2% rosé of Sangiovese blended in to stabilize the color. It’s a passion project from Long Shadows, and it’s clear that this is Gilles Nicault at his most whimsical.

Notes of green papaya, plantain, and pear kick things off. The palate has a dirty little secret: a kiss of residual sugar, just enough to clearly establish this as off-dry. As Americans, we have a cultural heritage of drinking sweet pink wines. From time to time, I like to embrace that heritage, especially when it’s as skillfully done as this, with plenty of balancing acid for the sugar. Flavors mix cantaloupe and sweet apple with a creamy leesiness. Not a hipster wine, but really, it would take a seriously cynical curmudgeon to dislike this bottle.

2012 Tranche Rose “Pink Pape”

All from Blackrock Vineyard, although it’s not mentioned on the label, this is a blend of Cinsault, Counoise, and Grenache. Pink Pape is practically a cult rosé at this point, crazy as that sounds. All 400 cases of the 2011 were spoken for immediately on release, and this is the least likely of the three to be available on reorder. Aromatics combine honeydew with a beautiful green streak: grass and clover. It’s so summery and inviting. On the palate, the plumpness of the ’12 vintage is on display, with ripe watermelon and salmonberry notes. From the name, it’s clear what region Tranche is trying to emulate, and as rich and plushly-textured as this is, it could easily be confused with a good Tavel rosé.

For the Renegade and Dazzle, first come first served with no upper limit. For the Tranche, please limit order requests to 3 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.

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