Hello friends. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I never thought I’d see the day. Beautiful brisk local rosés that sell out entirely through pre-sales? During the February and March? I mean, come on. Low temps are still in the 30s. 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.
2016 Seven Hills Rose
Three years ago, the 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 brutal, with dozens of list members getting shut out entirely. The subsequent 2014 and 2015 vintages were marginally better, but looking at our records, I still see a number of folks who got under-allocated and dozens of list members who ordered too late and got shut out entirely. And the buzz for this wine has continued to grow, driven by a spate of strong reviews from folks like Sean Sullivan and Stephen Tanzer.
So what to do about this wine? Be smarter. Continue to start earlier. My first e-mail exchange with our friends at Seven Hills about rosé took place on January 18. The wine just landed in Seattle two days ago, so we should be out safely ahead of the sales curve. Still: this is not necessarily a rosé where you can dabble and then expect to reorder later. The safest bet is to get while the getting’s good, and then tuck those bottles away for the sunny months ahead.
Like last year’s version, this is predominantly Cabernet Franc (87%), with dollops of Petit Verdot (7%) and Malbec (6%). It comes from grapes picked specifically for rosé (about a month before the red wine harvest), was done entirely in stainless steel, and clocks in at a just-right 12.5% listed alc. Pouring pale pink, it kicks off with a nose of watermelon, cherry, and cucumber. The palate is very much what we’ve come to expect from this rosé: an attractive mix of fruit, mineral, and green tones. The fresh watercress notes (thank you Cab Franc!) are a perfect harbinger of spring, but this has enough plump fruit that it will totally work all the way into autumn, and would be a beautiful addition to the Thanksgiving table if you have endless patience. Like previous vintages, it is a balanced delight, with plenty of complexity for those inclined to pay attention, and plenty of patio-pounding pleasure for those inclined to guzzle.
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.