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Although a few of the better 2021 rosés are beginning to arrive, slowdowns in shipping are delaying many of our favorites until late May, June and July. CSW features rosés that are from organic grapes, that ferment slowly with wild yeasts and that age for a few months or a few years before shipping, providing long-term food-friendly enjoyment. Fortunately, some of our favorite wines are still available from the 2020 vintage - some at nicely reduced prices - and three of the most distinctive wines in today's offer are from 2019, all of which will evolve beautifully with a few more years in the cellar!
We'll start in southern France where you'll find two absolutely amazing values both of which will drink beautifully through this summer. The 2020 La Bernarde "Hauts du Luc" is in perfect condition - it's a "real" Provençal rosé, made naturally from organic grapes - we even left one re-corked in the fridge for four days and it was still delicious! From the Costieres de Nimes, the 2020 Mourgues du Grès "Les Galets" is a somewhat fuller-bodied wine, similar to a good Tavel, with a bit more density and ripe berry fruits. Both of these wines are insane values at $11.99!
At the other end of the Provençal spectrum, we find the rare and totally unique 2019 Les Baux de Provence "Petra" Rosé from Dominique Hauvette. The importer is out-of-stock and we have only 12 btls - grab a few for that special occasion this summer.
Many of the 2019s and 2020s in today's email will benefit from further aging, although of course they are delicious now: The 2019 Guion Bourgueil will be yummy in 2024, the 2019 Manissy Tavel will gain in complexity for another 5 to 8 years, The 2020 Clos du Joncuas will be delicious in 2025, and of course the Bandols from Pibarnon and Bastide Blanche have a long life ahead of them as well....
Heading west to the Basque country of Spain, The Ameztoi 2021 Getariako Txakolina Rubentis will sell-out quickly - don't miss it!
And 6,000 miles further west, there's a pair of really first-class domestic wines on offer today that will make even the most cautious California wine drinker perk up. The first is from our dear friend Steve Matthiasson, truly one of the most thoughtful growers working in the US. His 2021 rosé is a blend of Syrah, Counoise, Grenache, Mourvedre and this year he threw in some Barbera. The brothers at Railsback Freres have been making their Les Rascasses bottling for several years now, but I have to say that I think they really nailed it with this 2021. A blend of Mourvedre, Cinsault and Grenache from Santa Ynez, this really does evoke the coast of Provence and will make a fine match for bouillabaise.
Wines are in stock, please allow until 4/25 for pick-up/shipping. 10% case/mixed case discount applies.
We've just retasted the 2020 La Bernarde Rosé (April 12, 2022) and we're happy to say that it's just as delicious as it was last year! It's a very dry and refreshing blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Rolle (Vermentino) and Syrah. Certified organic and fermented with wild yeasts, the grapes are grown in a high-altitude vineyard on limestone with clay and stones. The Cinsault is very present in the subtle aromas of peach and raspberry with citrus, spice and floral hints. The palate is light, with a silky texture and firm mineral flavors underlying the fresh red fruit, peach and citrus flavors. This is a lovely and versatile wine that will be a delicious aperitif or accompaniment to fish, white meats and lighter grilled foods. At $12.99 this a great bargain - pick-up a few cases for your spring/summer sipping!
Dominique Hauvette's Petra is a world-class wine, and it is a rosé. With this cuvée, she shows that with superb farming on exceptional terroir, whatever the color of the wine if the grapes are respected, the result will resonate and express a deep sense of place. The core of this wine is Cinsault, a grape Dominique particularly likes. The old vines Cinsault are the backbone of her Améthyste cuvée. Here she is using younger vines she planted in 2004 on her limestone soil, with a little bit of Syrah and Grenache. The grapes are hand-harvested on the early side (early September), directly pressed, vinified and aged on fermention lees in 600 l cement eggs, a vessel and size she enjoys and adopted very early on. Both fermentations are spontaneous. She may rack the wine if reduced, and uses sulfur after racking. This a very serious bottle of rosé with backbone and structure. Its density has very little heaviness, but deserves to be aged in bottle. Very good now, this wine will be even better in a couple of years. The color is pale copper/pink with flecks of salmon. If the nose is discreet on the rose, sandal wood, orange zest, the palate is more aromatic, quite citrusy, with apple blossom, wormwood and white pepper notes. The attack of the palate is full with a tight, focused density, getting sleeker and sleeker to finish extremely salty. Decant it if you serve it today, and don't drink it too cold. An heirloom vine-ripe tomato tart, grilled prawns with pink grapefruit relish or a veal tenderloin, shallots reduction and zucchinis could be some pretty good pairings. 70% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 15% Grenache.
The 2020 Pibarnon Rosé is drinking gorgeously now and will improve even more over the next few years - grab some now as the 2021 will be $41.99... This wine has a wonderful ability to combine elegance, power, class, and distinction. A blend of Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Grenache, the wine shows peach-y and stone fruit notes on the nose, mingling with the savory earth and iodine character of good Bandol Rosé. The palate offers silky textures, a certain voluptuousness, and a lovely balance of acidity to full ripe fruit.
(Arrives Friday 5/20) A reserved Bandol rosè, primarily Mourvedre with Cinsault, Grenache, Clairette and Ugni Blanc. The Mourvedre is pressed and run off directly, the Cinsault and Grenache undergo 24 hours of skin contact. Certified organic grapes from the Bronzo family vineyard in Le Castellet. The 2020 has a coppery, salmon-colored robe. The nose, initially backward, offers an array of stone fruit and savoy herb notes, with garrigue and ripe peach aromas vying for attention with aeration. The palate offers peach skin, orange oil, and earthy flavors leading to a long, persistent, sapid finish. This will benefit from a decant or some time open - drink now and over the next three to five years.
Produced since 1915 this is the historic cuvée of Chateau de Manissy, retaining the ancient label and the ancient methods of production, now enhanced by Biodynamic farming. Similar in style to the Tavel 'Vintage" at Domane L'Anglore, the wine is a blend of Grenache, Clairette and Cinsault that undergoes a 24 to 48 hour maceration on the skins and then a cool fermentation with wild yeasts for about 2 weeks. The wine ages in old barrels for 9 to 12 months. This is a true Rosé of gastronomy that will drink beautifully for ten years or more, showing aromas of fruit confit, flowers and spice with a silky, cool palate with a red wine feel, finishing with red currant, tart cherry and saline minerals. Serve with a ceviche of mackerel or bluefish, North African tagines, full-flavored fish and white meat dishes - the posibilities are endless, or just sip by itself on a summer evening...
The 2020 Mourgues du Gres "Les Galets" Rosé is made from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grown in vineyards of rolled stones, as in Tavel, deposited by glaciers from the Alps. The estate has been organic since 2004, with sheep grazing the vineyards and cover crops to ensure soil health and bio-diversity. This lovely wine is drinking beautifully showing ripe cherry, wild strawberry, red currant, citrus and mint aromas - quite ripe but elegant and pretty. The palate is fresh and mineral with beautifully ripe berry fruits, very supple and round but with good acidity and a refreshing finish. Perfect with grilled tuna, salade Nicoise, grilled chicken and pork, enjoy through summer 2023. An absolutely sensationlnal value at $11.99!
This is a beautiful Gigondas Rosé from our organic friends at Clos du Joncuas. Pretty bright pink color (a bit lighter than the riper 2019) aromas of raspberry, tart cherry, blood orange, peach skin and rose. Full palate with silky raspberry, peach, citrus and mineral flavors and firm acidity, beatifully balanced and refreshing. Long finish with tart cherry, peach, earth, and citrusy acids. This gorgeous rosé is still young – it should open up nicely over the next two to three years. It's elegant and delicious now and very food-friendly – serve with grilled fish and white meats, salade nicoise, vegetarian dishes and Provençal foods. A great rosé to enjoy all year-round!
(Arrives Friday 5/20) The gorgeous Charvin Rosé is from a 1.5 ha parcel of about 50% Grenache, 50% Cinsault, sometimes with some Bourboulenc and Mourvèdre that averages just 35hL/ha annually. Organically farmed and entirely harvested by hand with sorting done in the vineyard. The 2020 rosé shows a pale pink color and lovely aromas of raspberry, wild strawberry, rose and peach skin. The palate is silky and mineral with subtle raspberry and cherry fruit with stone and citrus flavors, quite long and elegant and finishing with refreshing acidity. This is drinking beautifully (May 2022) and will be a great companion to seafood, chicken and grilled meats this summer and all year round. Lovely wine!
(Arrives 7/26) Our review from July 2020: Of course we love the great Cabernet Franc rosés from the Loire and a special favorite of ours is the vibrant Bourgueil from Stéphane Guion in Benais. Organic since 1964, the estate produces superb wines on the limestone/clay soils, and this year's rosé is perhaps his best ever! The color is a lovely pale pink and the raspberry and red currant fruit is supple, complex and refreshing, remaining light but with lovely complex fruit, herbal notes and a particularly long and focused finish with firm acidity. It's an amazing value at $14.99, and will drink beautifully for many more years, case purchases are recommended!
This dry, crisp, slightly effervescent rose is a testament to the Ameztoi family's long history of producing txakoli in Getaria. This rose is made from Hondarribi Beltza and Hondarribi Zuri grapes, grown on sand and clay soils and fermented in steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Plenty of salty character and a delicate green herbal note complementing fresh watermelon and strawberry.
Viña Zorzal offers some seriously delicious wines from old vines for very little money (as fans of their delightful red Graciano can attest). This one honors the traditional wine of the Navarra region - rosado of Garnacha. Fragrant red currant, raspberry, and pink peppercorn aromas lead to crunchy cranberry and strawberry fruit flavors, with zesty pink grapefruit and tropical and herbal undertones on the finish. The label features a popcorn kernel pattern because Xabi Sanz of Zorzal recommends it as an accompaniment to popcorn and a movie. This year's wine is electric: bright pink in the glass and incredibly tasty!
100% Pinot Noir from sandstone and limestone soils. Fermentation on skins for about a week, then pressed and matured in used Burgundy barrels for about ten months. Lightly filtered with just a hint of sulfur added. The wine offers lovely rose petal and bruised strawberry aromas on the nose with pretty, exotic spice notes. The midweight palate boasts attractive wild cherry and red plum flavors with a tangy limestone-informed core and a lingering, savory, mouthwatering finish. John McIlwain
Approximately 40% Grenache, 18% Barbera, 16% Counoise, 14% Syrah, and 12% Mouvedre, from three sites between Dunnigan Hills and Napa Valley and all farmed organically. "The fruit is grown specifically for rosé, which means that we keep the vines a little happier than for red wine, making plump juicy grapes that are vibrant and refreshing. To capture that zesty brightness, we harvest very early, barely past veraison, similar to the level of ripeness for sparkling wine. We capture the fruit when it is high-toned, crisp, and refreshing. Its citrusy aromas and clean flavors will complement the wonderful spring foods that show up on the table as the weather thaws. Perfect for springtime holiday meals, or enjoying on the porch all summer."
"When Eric and I started Railsback Frères in 2014, the goal was to make our own rosé inspired by Lulu Peyraud and the old style of Bandol that Tempier used to practice in the 1970s (native yeast, made in old wood, allowing malolactic) but informed by the fresh climate of the Santa Ynez Valley. This 2021 release was a huge learning opportunity for us, but yielded a rosé that is probably our finest to date." 42% Mourvèdre (Camp Four Vineyard & Emily's Vineyard), 35% Grenache Noir (Camp Four Vineyard), 23% Cinsault (Camp Four Vineyard & Nolan Ranch). There is high-toned strawberry and ruby red grapefruit, edged by fresh thyme and a bit of the brine of crashing Pacific waves. Lovely wine. And there are cute little fish on the label...
This is the 6th vintage of the Gamay Noir Rosé from Kenny Likitprakong as he waits for these young vines to mature enough to make red wine. Harvested early to maintain the brightness of the grapes, and then pressed with very little time on the skins before aging in stainless steel. The result is a beautifully pale, almost lavender color to the wine with a nose of white cherry, peach, and a bouquet of roses and violets. The palate is crisp and lean with notes of barely ripe strawberry and a stony, savory finish. It will be much too easy to drink a bottle of this low ABV rosé throughout the summer, and on days I wish it was warmer.
Though probably known best for elegant and restrained Napa Cabernet, Elizabeth Spencer shines equally bright in Mendocino, where husband and wife Spencer and Elizabeth produce a bright juicy Sauvignon Blanc and this rose of Grenache. This wine is a master of understatement, with snappy strawberry and cranberry notes juxtaposed against little hints of fresh green herbs. There is no shortage of acidity here; this is lithe and endlessly refreshing and puts most of the commodity rose coming out of Provence at the same price to shame. Sam Ehrlich