I wanted to showcase this particular type of rosé because it is much lighter in body than the Tavel we sipped a few weeks ago but is still more complex than most other styles. It is also a great style of rosé to select when you feel like a light, charcuterie dinner on these warm summer nights. When rosé is made using this grape variety, the juice spends an abbreviated length of time in contact with the grape skins, usually under 12 hours. This limited contact provides light, pale pink or salmon tones in the final product. The wines burst with flavors of watermelon, strawberries, rose, and rhubarb. They also maintain a bright acidity, which is perfect for a nice cheese platter next to a lake or pool on days when you want to ‘rosé all day’.
The wine I selected this week is from one of my favorite wineries, Bacigalupi, in Russian River Valley, Sonoma County. While they have only been making their own wines since 2011, the family has owned vineyards since 1956. Charles, a dentist, and Helen, a pharmacist, purchased a 121 acre parcel, where they began farming 16 acres of vineyards. In 1964, Charles took some friendly advice, and began planting Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. The family gained a bit of notoriety and a place in history, when in 1976, Chateau Montelena had the winning Chardonnay in the Judgement of Paris. Their 1973 vintage, and contest winning wine, had between 35-40% of Bacigalupi juice because Chateau Montelena was still waiting for their vines to mature enough to harvest their first crop. Charles and Helen’s only child, John and his wife Pam, are now the owners. John and Pam’s daughters, Nicole and Katie manage the business. In 2011, the family decided to make their own label instead of just selling off all their fruit. They hired winemaker Ashley Herzberg and the rest is history. If you want to know more about the Judgement of Paris, the movie Bottleshock, is a fun rendition with a broad creative license.
The rosé I selected is made by a method called saignee (sohn-yay). Unlike the winemaking method I discussed at the beginning of this post, this wine is made by syphoning off some of the initial grape juice early in the winemaking process of a typical red wine. The grapes are harvested and are crushed but after the juice reaches a desired color, some of the juice is syphoned for the rosé. This results in stronger flavored rosé while the juice left behind to make the regular pinot noir, is more concentrated and can take on more color from the grape skins. I realized I haven’t made a cheese platter yet so I dedicated this week was the perfect time to do so! I was going to drink a 2020 Rosé but it turns out, I already drank my bottles. So I had to pull a ‘19 from my cellar (first world problems…) because I had extras left from last year. This brilliant salmon pink wine with watery legs smelled of wild strawberries, rhubarb pie, watermelon, black truffles, and pink grapefruit. I paired it with a triple cream brie, truffle pecorino, aged cheddar, and aged gouda. The cheese varieties were wonderful accents to the crisp wine. I didn’t miss the fresh fruit because the wine had vivid strawberry and watermelon notes. I also added a jalapeño raspberry jelly to liven everything up! The acidity in the wine sliced thru the fats in the cheese and the meats, making the grazing session seem lighter than it was!