Hello friends. Well, I never thought I would see the day. I’ve really tried to draw a hard line at March 1 for our first rosé offer of the year. I mean, yes, those of you who have been reading these offers for a few years know my strong belief that accessing the best Washington rosés for summertime requires astute buying during springtime. But this ain’t springtime! February 5 is decidedly winter.
What the go/no-go decision boiled down to was this: we either offer the wine now, or we don’t offer it at all. When it comes to great Washington rosé – especially one never-before-sold to the greater Seattle market – you can guess which way I decided.
As I write this, I’m reminded of the scene in The Two Towers where Theoden King is standing in the downpour in the final moments before the battle for Helm’s Deep. Washington rosé season. So it begins.
2016 Isenhower Rose
Does that mean the Washington winemakers are the uruk-hai? Or the rosés themselves? I still have to think this all the way through.
In the meantime, let me re-offer my annual screed about Washington rosé: When it comes to new-school Washington rosé, spontaneity is way overrated. In our current low-supply/high-demand environment, planning is required. If you want to be drinking the best local rosés in July and August, you can’t purchase them in July and August. They’ll be sold out by then. The trick is to purchase in March and April and May (and now add February!), stash them away in a dark closet or under the bed, and wait for our glorious, all-too-short PacNW summer.
The reason I had to move quickly on this one: so, 450 cases seems like decent production for a rosé. But when one account buys up more than 50% of stock on first tasting, and when another account is threatening to grab another three digits worth of cases, it rapidly becomes time to fish or cut bait. If we end up oversold on this, which is a distinct possibility, look for case stacks at your friendly neighborhood PCC Market, and possibly your friendly neighborhood Metropolitan market. And those may be the only places this wine ends up.
The reason I’m high on this rosé (besides its inherent quality, which we’ll get to soon enough), is that I’m a big believer in Cabernet Franc as a strong rosé variety in Washington, and most of the Cab Franc rosés produced in the state fall into the $15-$20 range; not $10-$15. That combination of price and quality had me thinking that this is this year’s Mr. Pink: a debutante rosé that is going to be exceedingly popular and gone in a blink.
It pours into the glass perfectly pale pink, and immediately offers a nose that shows why Franc is such a lovely choice for rosé. In addition to the watermelon and strawberry fruit, Franc’s compelling greenies assert themselves beautifully: cucumber and sweet pea and watermelon rind. The overall nose is complex and attractive. The palate offers a pinpoint balance of fleshy fruit and bright acidity, and there’s a real minerality that emerges in the mouth. This drinks like rosé filtered through crushed rocks.
Listed alc on the label is 13%, but Brett Isenhower let me know the lab-measured alc is 12.53%. It’s no easy feat to dial in moderate alcs like this during this recent string of warm summers. There’s certainly enough rich fruit here to suggest this will last well into autumn if you can keep your hands on any that long. We have a hold on a significant chunk of this, but the sharks are circling, so I fully expect this to be a one-and-done offer, with no possibilities for reorder.
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.