Hello friends. We kicked off the summer of rosé back in early March with a new rosé project from Seven Hills Winery, and that turned out to be a well-received little number that sold out immediately (I think max allocations were two bottles).
Today we’ll bookend pink season with two more rosés we’ve never previously offered (including one that has never been commercially offered before), both of which are available in micro quantities, both of which come from well-loved list wineries for whom a rosé just makes so much sense.
I’ve heard some folks complain about the ever-multiplying numbers of Washington rosés muddying the category, but I couldn’t feel more differently. I love it. If every good Washington winery makes a distinctive, small-batch rosé that’s only available for a few months each summer, where’s the harm in that? What could be better?
2013 Southard Rose Le Paon
Example #1. I mean, this is a slam dunk, right? Scott Southard is a Rhone savant, and his Syrahs, Grenaches, and Rhone blends have been hugely popular among our list members. He’s a natural for a Grenache rosé (Grenache, with its thin skins and characterful nature, is among a handful of varieties that are just about perfect for rosé), and a Grenache rosé is exactly what he has produced with Le Paon.
Here what Scott has to say about this project: “It’s 100% Grenache from the Lawrence Vineyard. The first press-load was destemmed and allowed six hours of skin contact; the second press-load was pressed whole-cluster. The wine was fermented and raised in a concrete egg. We bottled 47 cases.”
First off, concrete-egg-raised rosé! Cool!
Second off, 47 cases?! Ack!
This was an on-again, off-again, on-again offer for us, with lots of backs and forths about how many of those 47 cases we could have access to. And I should say, the parcel size is borderline, and only really works because we’re rolling it together with a second rosé. Apologies if allocations are harsh, but I figure better to try a bottle or two each than none at all, and hopefully this encourages Scott to up his production a bit in future vintages.
A beautiful pale salmon in the glass (again, thin-skinned grape, only six hours of skin contact; hence the pretty paleness, like a Seattlite after a long winter), this delights with its summer nose of strawberry, cucumber, and chalky mineral. The mouth continues the rich red fruits balanced by lovely green notes and just enough citrusy acid. It’s an honest warm-vintage rosé (13.5% listed alc), with plenty of flesh on its bones. What that means for me is that it has pairing possibilities for fatty fish like salmon or black cod/sablefish, a butter-roasted chicken, creamy salads, and other rich-ish fare that would overwhelm a leaner rosé. Is this the year that I follow through with my threat to only serve rosés at Thanksgiving? If so, this one will be on the table without question.
2013 Cadence Rose
Example #2. Really, Ben? Really? As shocked as I was that Casey McClellan had never previously released a commercial rosé for Seven Hills Winery, I may be more surprised that Ben Smith, elegance king of Red Mountain, has never done one either. And even calling this a commercial release is a stretch, since Ben produced… wait for it… 20 cases.
Did we ask for the entire production run? Yes we did. Did we receive the entire production run? Almost. A handful of cases went to our colleagues at the venerable McCarthy & Schiering, so if we sell out or drastically under-allocate, those are the spots to look for more bottles.
Knowing the breakdown of Ben’s estate Cara Mia Vineyard on Red Mountain, I would have guessed he’d make a Cabernet Franc rosé, since Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot tend to be terribly unsuitable for rosé. And Franc is 25% of the blend here, but the other 75% is Petit Verdot, which I hadn’t really considered. Not sure I’ve ever had a PV-dominant rosé before, but if they drink like this, we should all look for more.
So, this is all Cara Mia fruit, all done in stainless, and it has a head-turning nose, quite darkly-profiled for a rosé. I got notes of plum and blackberry, and an exotic streak of star anise, and then this really alluring wild brambly edge. I’m not used to seeking the sauvage in rosé, but here it’s lovely. In the mouth, this is a plump, rich (13.9% listed alc) Tavel ringer, another rosé honest to the warmer/riper vintage, with loads of personality to its dark, delicious, earthy fruit. This is the more autumnal of the two rosés, perfect for those poignant days when summer draws to its close.
Please limit order requests to 4 bottles of each wine, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.