The Third Annual Largest Blind Tasting of American “True” Rosés in the World—Flights 13-14 and Final Results

This is the last article about this year’s Largest Blind Tasting of American True Rosés in the World and as I have done the past two previous years, I thought I would end with some general impressions and this year’s top rosés. But first, here are the remaining last two flights of the tasting:

2018 Mercer Canyons Rosé Horse Heaven Hills, WA: Retail $13. 100% Grenache. Really pale pink. Red flower. Peach, apricot. Good flavors, acidity, balance. Nice. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.

2018 Rodney Strong Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $25. Really pale pink, classic nose. Very lovely on the palate. Nice. Excellent. 90-92 Points.

2016 Wrath Ex Dolio Falanghina Monterey, CA: Retail $29. 100% Falanghina. Orange wine. Lanolin, honey. Whoa. On the palate whoa. Rich, unctuous. Excellent. 91-93 Points.

2017 Ferrari-Carano Dry Sangiovese Sonoma County, CA: Retail $15. Light to Medium pink. Quite floral and mineral. Classic rosé flavors, a bit sweet, good acid. Nice. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.

2018 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare Central Coast, CA: Retail $18. 38.5% Grenache, 30.5% Grenache Blanc, 12.5% Carignane, 10% Cinsaut, 6% Mourvèdre, 2% Picpoul,  0.5% Vermentino. Quite pale, classic nose: white flower. Delicate on the palate, well-balanced. Solid. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.

2017 Pedroncelli Dry Rosé of Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, CA: Retail $15. Dark, almost red. On the nose, smokey, mineral, and a bit petrol. Good weight, pretty good fruit. Quite vinous. It took a bit to get there, but I like it. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.

Here are two more wines that arrived just a few days late to be included in the blind tasting, which is unfortunate on a couple of levels (not the least of which would have meant 56 wines, meaning 14 flights of four wines each instead of 12 flights of four and two of three–yes, I know that means I have OCD tendencies).

2018 Ferrari-Carano Sangiovese Rosé, Dry Creek Valley, CA: Retail $15. Screw-top encloses a medium colored rosé, with bright fruit (strawberry and cherry) and a bit of salinity on the nose. The palate is simply a joy: luscious fruit, a nice dose of acidity, and a marvelous finish. What else do you need? Excellent. 90-92 Points.

2018 Lazy Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé of Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, CA: Retail $30. Medium to dark in color with ripe, delicious strawberries on the nose. The palate is equally delectable with lovely fruit, great tartness, and a lengthy finish. I have been impressed with Lazy Creek for some time and this is a great example of why. Excellent. 91-93 Points.

For those that have never done it, tasting 54 rosés blind might sound “fun” but it is actually pretty difficult. First, there are only a dozen or so descriptors for the color pink. Sure, you could get fancy and introduce foreign words or tap into Crayola, Behr Paint, or nail polish color names, but, well, I’ll just say that is not my style.

As it did last year, it took a toll on my teeth. Swishing around all that acid in your mouth really challenges the gums and chicklets. Last year, my teeth hurt for a solid four days after tasting through 68 wines twice (I stupidly tasted all the wines right before the tasting). Ouch.

That was the main reason I tried to restrict the number of wines in this year’s tasting. Still, after tasting 54 high-acid wines, the teeth and gums go into a bit of a revolt.

Some general observations:

  • I ran a couple of correlations and found that there was no correlation between when the wine was tasted and its score (in other words, there was no apparent advantage to occurring early or later in the tasting; r= -0.00059). Likewise, there was not a significant correlation between perceived quality and price (r= 0.0165).
  • The overall quality of the wines this year (as compared to the last two years) was again decidedly better. While certainly, some wines were “better” than others, all the wines fell into the “Very Good” category.
  • I contend that “True Rosé” can age as well as any well made white wine, but I did think that it would be fairly easy to identify the older wines (roughly 1/3 of the wines were from 2017), but that was certainly not the case.
  • At big tastings such as this, even when spitting, the alcohol eventually starts to have a bit of an effect–there were much more conversation and general hilarity by the end of the tasting.

The group’s top wines (in alphabetical order):

  • 2017 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare Central Coast, CA ($18)
  • 2018 Klinker Brick Bricks & Roses Lodi, CA ($16)
  • 2017 Kokomo Grenache Rosé North Coast, CA ($20)
  • 2017 Lion Ranch Vineyards & Winery Lioness Santa Clara Valley, CA ($22)
  • 2018 Passaggio Tempranillo Rosé Clarksburg, CA ($32)
  • 2017 Quady North Grenache Rosé Rogue Valley, OR ($20)
  • 2018 Rodney Strong Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, CA ($25)
  • 2016 Wrath Ex Dolio Falanghina, Monterey, CA ($29)

Here are my three highest rated wines:

  • 2017 Kokomo Grenache Rosé North Coast, CA ($20)
  • 2017 Lion Ranch Vineyards & Winery Lioness Santa Clara Valley, CA ($22)
  • 2018 Pedroncelli Rosé Dry Creek Valley, CA ($17)

And another seven that were right on their heels:

  • 2017 Alara Cellars Grenache Rosé Benito County, CA ($25)
  • 2018 Bokisch Rosado Terra Alta Vineyard Lodi, CA ($18)
  • 2018 Passaggio Aglianico Rosé Heringer Estate Vineyards, Clarksburg, CA ($32)
  • 2017 Quady North GSM Rogue Valley, OR ($20)
  • 2017 Quady North Grenache Rosé Rogue Valley, OR ($20)
  • 2018 Tres Sabores Ingrid & Julia Rosé Napa Valley, CA ($30)
  • 2016 Wrath Ex Dolio Falanghina, Monterey, CA ($29)

A special mention needs to go to the last wine on that list, the 2016 Wrath Ex Dolio Falanghina, Monterey, CA, which was the only orange wine in the line-up (An orange wine is [very] basically a white wine that is vinified like a red wine. This wine was also made following the ancient method for making wine, which involved considerable exposure to oxygen.) Many in the group did not like it–OK, they hated it. Orange-type wines are weird when compared to modern wines, but they can be wonderful when made well. And this wine is wonderful. Bravo to the folks at Wrath for making this wine (and for using the ancient variety from Campania!).

That’s it for this year’s Largest Blind Tasting of American True Rosé! My next “big” tasting is this fall, with American Pinot Noir.

Flights 1-3        Flights 4-6      Flights 7-9      Flights 10-2

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Carignane, Cinsault/Cinsaut, Falanghina, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Mourvèdre, Picpoul, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Sangiovese, Vermentino, Wine, Zinfandel. Bookmark the permalink.

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