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Northwest wine: Washington rosés make summer better

By Keegan Prosser on August 15, 2013 – No Comment

By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman

Rosés are superb wines. Great rosés are beautiful to gaze upon, and they are so delicious to drink, pairing especially well with the outdoor living and cuisine that come with summer. They’re also among the most versatile food wines, as they can go well with everything from seafood to burgers.

When we talk about rosés, we are not referring to California Kool-Aid that is made by the millions of cases of wine. Instead, we love the current trend of dry rosés — more typical of France’s Provence region — that we are seeing in the Pacific Northwest.

Rosés usually are made by leaving the juice of the grapes on the skins of red grapes for a few hours. This will cause just enough color to remain to provide a beautiful pink color. The wine then is made similar to a white wine, with the winemaker being careful to preserve the delicate aromas and bright, fruit-driven flavors.

Here are a few Washington rosés we especially enjoyed. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly:

Barnard Griffin 2012 Rosé of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $12: Owner/winemaker Rob Griffin has established himself as the king of Northwest rosés, as this wine has won a gold or better in a major competition for the past eight years. It is a vibrant color of pink, followed by gorgeous aromas of fresh strawberry, raspberry and clove. On the palate, it delivers flavors of Marionberry, strawberry taffy and peach. It’s a bright wine with beveled corners and salivating flavors.

Thurston Wolfe Winery 2012 Second Chance Rosé, Yakima Valley, $13: Winemaker Wade Wolfe made this from Lemberger, a rare Austrian red grape that is grown in Washington. It is a vibrant wine with aromas of pomegranate, cranberry and yellow grapefruit, followed by lip-smacking flavors of white strawberry, cranberry and red currant.

Goose Ridge Estate Winery 2011 Rosé de Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley, $18: Pinot Gris is thought of as a white wine, yet the grapes are not white like Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc. As this wine proves, you can get a lot of color from Pinot Gris if you leave the skins on the juice for 36 hours. The result here is a salmon-colored wine with aromas of apple, watermelon and Mandarin orange. On the palate, it reveals flavors of orange zest, apricot and tangelo. It has a bit of sweetness (1.4% residual sugar), yet it is backed up with dazzling acidity.

Ross Andrew Winery 2012 Meadow Rosé, Columbia Valley, $16: Made from Sangiovese, this superb rosé got its pretty pink color from just 12 hours of skin contact. It opens with aromas of strawberry, clove and orange blossom, followed by flavors of fresh Rainier cherry and strawberry/rhubarb jam.

Martinez & Martinez Winery 2012 May Mae Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $17: This delicious rosé is made using Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s beautiful with fantastic aromas of cranberry, pomegranate, red currant and a North African spice market.

Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman run Great Northwest Wine. To learn more about wine, go HERE.