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 five previous years, I thought I would end with some general impressions and this year’s top rosés. But first, here are the remaining last three flights of the tasting:
2020 Raeburn Rosé, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $18. 74% Pinot Noir, 22% Zinfandel, 4% Grenache. Really, really light in the glass, hardly any color at all. Lovely nose, of delicate fruit and white flower. Whoa. Lovely on the palate as well, with depth of flavor and incredible richness. Whoa. Really intense flavors. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2021 Malene Wines Rosé, Central Coast, CA: Retail $22. 53% Grenache, 23% Cinsault, 12% Vermentino, 7% Mourvedre, 5% Carginan. Quite pale pink, very Provence in color. More floral than fruity with plenty of white flower but also some red berry fruit below all that perfume. Very tart with some good fruit (tart cherry) on the palate. Yum, another really nice wine. Excellent. 92 Points.
2020 Old Zin Vines Primitivo OZV, California: Retail $15. Pale orange—much more so than pink—with intense tropical aromas, including banana and guava, also some olive (more green than black), or maybe pickle juice. The palate is quite nice, with the oodles of tropical fruit that the nose did portend. Nice. Excellent. 91 Points.
2021 Pedroncelli Dry Rosé of Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley, CA: Retail $15. Darker in color than most rosés, with watermelon Jolly Rancher both in color and aromas. The palate is fruity and fun, a real crowd pleaser—not overly complicated but very nice. Excellent. 90 Points.
2021 Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir Avant Garde, Carneros, CA: Retail $30. Quite pale salmon in the glass with a fantastic nose of peach and lemon zest. Nice. Great on the palate, even better than great with fruit (present but subtle), great balance, and depth. OK, whoa. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2021 Ferrari-Carano Sangiovese Rosé, Dry Creek Valley, CA: Retail $15. Medium color with a sweet, fruity nose, fruitier than most of the rosés in this lineup with rich, ripe strawberry on the nose. Rich, intense fruit on the palate, almost too intense, is that possible? But great acidity. Excellent. 91 Points.
2021 Chehalem Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $18. Salmon color with a bit of a dirty, flinty nose. The palate, though, is pretty fantastic, good fruit, nice and balanced. Quite lovely, really close to a whoa. Excellent. 92 Points.
2021 Brooks Pinot Noir Rosé Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $32. Cotton candy pink color with orange highlights. Jolly Rancher, candied nose. Great on the palate with some good fruit and acidity. There is a bit of an odd finish (a slightly sweet, almost saccharine element), but that barely detracts. Nice. Excellent. 91 Points.
2020 Left Coast Estate White Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $28. Quite light, barely any color at all. Sweet nose of white peach and an herbal aspect (celery seed?). White peach really comes through on the palate but it lacks a bit of tartness for me. Very Good. 89 Points.
2021 Bells Up Winery Pinot Noir Prelude, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $28. Richer color here, a light red more than pink. Salinity and muted fruit on the nose with an agreeable palate loaded with fruit but a tartness that struggles slightly to keep up. Overall, though, a solid wine. Excellent. 90 Points.
2021 Sokol Blosser Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $28. Pale pink in the glass with a somewhat off-putting nose—a meaty, kerosene, manure kind of thing. The palate though? Whoa. Great fruit, wonderful balance, really fantastic. But that nose? Perhaps this might need more bottle time? 93 points on the palate. Outstanding. 93 Points.
For those that have never done it, tasting 51 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 the last couple of years, it took a toll on my teeth. Swishing around all that acid in your mouth really challenges the gums and chicklets. Three years ago, 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.
This year, I decided not to try all the wines twice. Still, after tasting 51 high-acid wines, the teeth and gums go into a bit of a revolt.
Some general observations:
- I ran a couple of correlations and I found once again 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= – 0.04443). Likewise, there was not a significant correlation between perceived quality and price (r= – 0.08922).
- As witnessed in the last five years, this year seemed to have an overall increase in the quality of the wines this year (as compared to the last four years). While certainly, some wines were “better” than others, all the wines fell at least into the “Very Good” category, with more than 3/4 achieving “Excellent” (45% at 90-92 points) or “Outstanding” (33.3% at 93 points and above).
- 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 (two wines were from 2019, 14 from 2020, and 35 from 2021), but that was certainly not the case. Although, there were a higher concentration of “Outstanding” wines from the 2021 vintage wines.
- Although still dominated by California (34 wines), four states were represented: Oregon (12 wines), Washington (two), Texas (three).
- 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.
Many thanks to those who attended the tasting and offered their comments and expertise!
Here are my top-five wines from the tasting:
- 2021 Stephen Ross Pinot Noir Rosé, Edna Valley, CA ($25)
- 2021 Rodney Strong Pinot Noir Rosé, Russian River Valley, CA ($20)
- 2020 Stoller Pinot Noir Rosé, Willamette Valley, OR ($28)
- 2021 Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir Avant Garde ($30)
- 2020 Rodney Strong Pinot Noir Rosé, Russian River Valley, CA ($20)
And here are another dozen that I found to be Outstanding:
- 2020 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench Rosé, Applegate Valley, OR ($25)
- 2020 Raeburn Rosé, Russian River Valley, CA ($18)
- 2021 Sosie Syrah Rosé Vivio Vineyard, Bennett Valley, CA ($28)
- 2021 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir Rosé Jane’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley, CA ($25)
- 2021 Girasole Vineyards Rosé, Mendocino County, CA ($15)
- 2021 Purple Star Rosé, Columbia Valley, WA ($20)
- 2021 One Stone Rosé of Pinot Noir, Central Coast, CA: ($18)
- 2021 Amarose Rosé Lodi, CA ($25)
- 2021 Flaunt Wine Company Pinot Noir Rosé, Sonoma Coast, CA ($24)
- 2021 Lofty Pinot Noir Rosé Putnam, Sonoma Coast, CA ($30?)
- 2021 Sokol Blosser Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, OR ($28)
- 2021 Lucia Pinot Noir Lucy Rosé, Santa Lucia Highlands, CA ($24)
As you can see, there are a ton of fantastic rosés out there, many that can be had for a bargain (the average suggested retail this year was an even $25, which was $1.59 higher than last year). It should also be pointed out that both the 2020 and the 2021 iterations of the Rodney Strong Rosé made my top five (and can be found on the shelves for under $15!).
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.
An alphabetical listing of all the wines tasted can be found HERE.