2014 Seven Hills Rose

Hello friends. I never thought I’d see the day. Beautiful brisk local rosés that sell out entirely through pre-sales? On March 1? I mean, come on. Yesterday was February. And we’re talking about rosé, that great ephemeral drink of summer.

I love it. The ongoing development of Washington rosé is one of the most exciting things going on in the state as far as I’m concerned. And I know “cult” is a loaded word when it comes to wine, but let me offer evidence:

Last year’s 2013 vintage was the first commercial rosé release for Seven Hills, which seems crazy,  because Casey McClellan’s house style – low alcohol, acid-driven, texturally elegant – seems perfectly suited to dry, crisp rosés. Something tells me that in a few years, it will be difficult to remember a time that Seven Hills didn’t make a rosé. And no surprise: that inaugural release was an instant classic.I was lucky to be on it early (in large part because during my August 2013 Walla Walla trip, I had the chance to walk vineyard rows with Casey and Erik McLaughlin and clip clusters of rosé-intended Petit Verdot for lab analysis, so I knew it was coming, and I knew it was going to be good), but even still, our allocations were a bloodbath. Looking back at our records, a handful of list members got 2 bottles, the vast majority who ordered got 1 bottle, and dozens of list members ordered too late and got shut out entirely.

So what to do this year? Work harder. Start earlier. My first e-mail to our friends at Seven Hills inquiring about rosé went out on January 9. The initial response: Glad you reached out to me. We divvied up the allocations around the country and we are currently over-allocated and I have to cut some back.  Washington State was originally slated for [REDACTED; scary small number] cases, but I am going to have to cut that back some.  Ultimately, we will end up sending [REDACTED; even scarier, even smaller number] cases. We are bottling the wine the first week of February and will be ready to ship by March 1st.

Seven or eight e-mails later, we had a deal: first dibs on as large a parcel as I could talk them into, which, as you might imagine, is still not very large. And knowing the wine would be ready to ship on March 1, this moved immediately onto the offer calendar, where it has been sitting since. Like last year’s version, this is predominantly Cabernet Franc (84%), with dollops of Malbec and Petit Verdot (8% each). It comes from grapes picked specifically for rosé (about 2-3 weeks before the red wine harvest), was done entirely in stainless steel, and clocks in at a just-right 12.5% listed alc. Delicate pale pink in the glass, it kicks off with a wonderful summery nose: strawberry and kiwi and green papaya fruit, mineral notes, and lovely hay and floral subtleties. The palate is complex and nervy, energetic and invigorating. I love the green subtleties that Franc can import in rosé: a kiss of sweet pea to balance the citrus and berry fruit.

I’m going to set the upper allocation limit higher than last year, since we’re sure to only get one shot at this (apologies in advance if our allocations come in short again). Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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