Rosé Rising

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A few years ago my wife and our two oldest grandchildren went to France and one of our first stops

was the little village of Antibes on the Mediterranean. It was one of the best vacations of my life. I

remember touching down in Nice and listening to the Dave Matthews song ‘You And I”

“Wanna pack your bags, Something small

Take what you need and we disappear

Without a trace we’ll be gone, gone

The moon and the stars can follow the car

and then when we get to the ocean

We gonna take a boat to the end of the world

All the way to the end of the world

Oh, and when the kids are old enough

We’re gonna teach them to fly”


When we rented the little flat on the sea, the owner said there would be a bottle of wine waiting for

us, “just make sure you leave one when you depart”. The bottle turned out to be Provencal Rosé. The

only Rosé I ever had before this was sweet and not particularly good, but this bottle was as good as

any wine I had ever had. As I recall, it was dry and full flavored, and made out of grape varietals I

had never heard of before – Carignan, Cinsaut, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Tibouren to mention a


We were now on a quest to try as many Rosé wines as we could find during our trip. I lost count half

way through the trip, but I did discover a new passion that carries on today.

There are two ways to make Rosé. The traditional method is to pick red grapes early in order to get

a lower alcohol content and fresh crisp acid in the finished wine, crush the grapes whole and leave

the juice on the skins just long enough to pick up the right amount of color and flavor. The other

way is to make Rosé as an after product of regular red wine making. The grapes are picked when fully

ripe with the intent to make red wine and the juice is bled off. In France, this is called saignée

(bleed). The remaining juice is made into a concentrated red wine. I’ve tried both methods but

prefer the traditional.

There is no doubt that we are on the verge of a Rosé revolution here in Washington state. The

combination of incredible variety, low prices ($10-20), and versatility in food pairing makes Rosé an

up and coming staple in our wine culture. Northwest Rosé is made from almost any grape variety.

The most common is Sangiovese, Syrah, and Pinot noir. Look for those made from Grenache and

the Southern Rhone varietals mentioned above.

Here’s my picks of Northwest Rosé. Unfortunately most are not available in our local stores, so look

at Trader Joe, Zupan’s, or New Seasons and stock up.

Syncline 2012 Rosé, $18

Syncline, the flagship winery in the Columbia Gorge AVA, was one of the first Washington

wineries to produce a great rosé. It is a blend of Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Grenache. Full of

strawberry cream and spice.

Barnard Griffin Rosé of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $13

This wine tastes great with almost any food. A perpetual winner at the San Francisco

International Wine Competition.

Trust Cellars 2012 Rosé, $18

This is made from Cabernet Franc giving it more complexity than most rosé but is still light

and fruity with tropical fruit flavors of kiwi and pineapple.

Charles and Charles Rosé Columbia Valley 2013 $12

This wine is widely distributed and is a great value. It is full of strawberry, herbs, and

watermelon sure to delight your senses. 72% Syrah, 8% Mourvedre, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon,

6% Grenache, 3% Cinsault, 3% Counoise.

Stoller Family Estate Pinot Noir Rosé Dundee Hills 2013 $20

This is made as a rosé from the start. Whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel

the 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé is brimming with ruby grapefruit, guava, and floral notes.

3 thoughts on “Rosé Rising

  1. Thanks Marc!

    Maybe you and Dave over at hop-n-grape could do some sort of cross promotion, where he carries some of the featured rose wines you discussed. In my experience, Dave has always been eager and willing to try to future products that are high-quality .

    Admittedly, this is selfish on my part, as I would love to have access to some great rose around here !


  2. Hey Marc,
    Thanks for the story, song and rose inservice.
    We stayed in beautiful Antibes in 2005.
    I am off to search for a rose to go with our halibut dinner tonight.
    J and J

  3. Thanks, Marc. I enjoyed the tour around France. Amazing lyrics on that song by Dave Matthews as you’re landing in France with grandchildren in tow. Rose sounds perfect for Summer which is now HERE!

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