Now that we’re near the midpoint of 2014, we are starting to get a better handle on how the 2013 vintage will look.
Based on the rosés we’ve tasted so far, we think the warm, often strange vintage will have much to offer.
Rosés, which typically are made from red wine grapes (but occasionally have white wine blended in), are all the rage in the Pacific Northwest these days. And we’re not talking white Zinfandel, that California Kool-Aid that left the country awash in sickly sweet pink wines for more than a decade.
Rather, the rosés we’re seeing are mostly dry and tend to pair beautifully with the bounty of cuisine the Pacific Northwest offers.
We love drinking rosés all summer long with such dishes as salmon, halibut, scallops, crab, oysters, ham or egg salad sandwiches, quiche, grilled flatbreads, curries, salad Niçoise and more.
Here are a few 2013 rosés we’ve tasted so far this spring. Look for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.
• L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Alder Ridge Vineyard Grenache Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $19: The L’Ecole team reached into one of Washington’s top vineyards — a majestic site overlooking the Columbia River — for this gorgeous rosé. It is a bright, elegant wine with aromas of strawberry, watermelon, apricot and purple lavender, followed by crisp, dry flavors that hint at Rainier cherry, raspberry, apple and ripe strawberry. It’s a perfect summer wine.
• Spindrift Cellars 2013 Rosé, Willamette Valley, $16: This is a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, with the result being a gorgeous pink wine with aromas of rose petal, cherry, watermelon and peach, followed by flavors of dried cranberry, apricot and white strawberry.
• Gård Vintners 2013 Lawrence Vineyards Grand Klasse Rosé, Columbia Valley, $22: This winery with tasting rooms in Woodinville and Ellensburg has crafted a delicious rosé using Grenache from estate grapes in Washington’s Frenchman Hills. It opens with beautiful aromas of cherry blossom, cotton candy, Rainier cherry and baking spices, along with flavors of white strawberry, blood orange and a pinch of white pepper.
• Van Duzer Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé, Willamette Valley, $18: Oregon Pinot Noir can make spectacular rosés, and this is another example. It brings aromas of cola, crushed herb, apricot and raspberry, followed by flavors that include peach and honeydew melon, which give way to hints of pink grapefruit in the finish.
• Julia’s Dazzle 2013 Pinot Grigio Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $16: This popular pink wine from Long Shadows in Walla Walla comes in a fun bowling pin-shaped bottle. It reveals aromas of kiwi, strawberry shortcake and peach taffy, followed by deliciously dry flavors of nectarine, honeydew melon and white strawberry.
• Ponzi Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé, Willamette Valley, $20: Second-generation Oregon winemaker Luisa Ponzi’s rosé is as beautiful as it is delicate. This dry pink wine is perfect with smoked or grilled salmon. It reveals aromas of cherry pie, rose petal and beeswax, followed by elegant flavors of rhubarb, pomegranate and strawberry lemonade.
• Sleeping Dog Wines 2013 Malbec Rosé, Yakima Valley, $18: Larry Oates runs this small winery overlooking the Yakima River near Benton City, and his rosé of Malbec opens with aromas of dusty cherry, strawberry and white pepper, followed by flavors of plum and Rainier cherry.
• Kaella Winery 2013 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Rosé, Red Mountain, $18: This stunning rosé of Sangiovese comes from one of Washington’s top three vineyards. It kicks off with aromas of Jolly Rancher watermelon candy, strawberry, orange zest and rosewater. On the palate, it flashes flavors of cranberry, raspberry, white strawberry and Rainier cherry.