Rosé offers are the wine world’s own special version of consumerism gone mad. Like Christmas displays at department stores, every year the shit comes earlier and earlier. Honestly, it’s a bit ludicrous and we all know it, but here we are.
With that elegant introduction, three new rosé offerings this year: a Pinot Noir rosé from the unsung heroes of Baden, Shelter, plus two stunners from the recently made great-again USA, courtesy of Bellwether (FLX) and Maître-de-Chai (CA).
The gëek rosé classics from Migot, Stein and Seehof are back too, so go nuts.
Wines arrive March-May, depending. See below for all the details and fascinating commentary. To order, kindly email firstname.lastname@example.org
With many thanks, Stephen
Bellwether (Finger Lakes)
ARRIVES MARCH (aka soon)
2016 Pinot Noir Rosé – about $21
The Johnny Cash of the Finger Lakes releases his first rosé in two years. Kris avoids making rosés in general because they are too easy to sell – too financially advantageous. But he’s humored us this year. 100% Pinot Noir, mostly from the Sawmill Creek Vineyard on the eastern side of Seneca with a bit of A&D Pinot Noir (Keuka Lake) to energize it. This is a high-toned tour-de-force of FLX rosé. While the wine will be here in a few weeks, have a bit of patience. If it’s a serious wine, which this is, it’s not super happy about being consumed in March. But April, May and beyond, watch out. Carhartt swag not included, but we’re working on it.
ARRIVES LATE APRIL
2016 Seehof Pinot Noir Rosé
Florian Fauth represents the fifth generation at this estate, located in Westhofen, one of the most famous villages in the Rheinhessen, near the most famous winemaker in the Rheinhessen: K.P. Keller. Florian’s sister is, in fact, married to Keller which is relevant because the two talk a lot and have a similar sensibility. In this region, limestone reigns supreme, not slate. Verily, Pinot Noir is very at home and Florian’s rosé highlights the transparent, crystal-clear freshness of great Pinot rosé, at an absurd price because it’s, well, German, and NOT from Keller.
Maître-de-Chai (Mendocino CA)
2016 Poor Ranch Carignan Rosé – about $21
MAGS AVAIL – about $55
The Poor family has been farming their vineyards since the 1880s; most of the vines were planted in the 1930s and 40s. Sand and granite soils, harvested at a fresh 21 brix, MDC’s rosé has bright fruit, great salinity and, yup, enough acidity to make sense in the vom Boden rosé DI. Mags too. Why not.
ARRIVES LATE APRIL
2016 Stein Rosé – about $23
2016 Stein Rosecco (sparkling rosé)
Our favorite rebel/activist in the Mosel, Ulli Stein is one of the most soulful growers on the Mosel. He is a vocal activist for steep-slate viticulture – a manifesto warning of the abandonment of steep Mosel vineyards and the threat to this 2,000-year-old viticultural history was summarized and translated in The Art of Eating.
Both of Stein’s rosé cuvees are mostly comprised of Pinot Noir (80%+) with small amounts of rogue Mosel Cabernet and Merlot. All the fruit is from the Mosel, from steep slate slopes and is hand-harvested. Shimmering, dry with rigorous acidity. These are like the Clos Cibonne of the Mosel; they’re awesome and are getting culty and will sell out quickly. You have been warned.
ARRIVES LATE APRIL
2016 Shelter Pinot Noir Rosé – about $25
Shelter makes extraordinarily delicate, fragrant Pinot Noir in Baden, a region mostly known for wines that tend to be big bruisers with a lot of lumber. This is their first rosé and it flaunts all the harmony, whispering intensity and lacy minerality that characterize every wine from this humble husband-and-wife team.
2016 Migot Vin Gris
(50/50 Gamay & Pinot Noir) – about $21
2016 Migot Vin Gris “Cuvée Gamay”
(70/30 Gamay & Pinot Noir) – about $21
The Mosel River (let’s call it “Moselle,” we’re in France) begins in Alsace but spends most of its time running north through the Lorraine, the ignored little-brother of Alsace. The historical shortcomings of this region (less ripeness, few ambitious growers) are rapidly disappearing as rising temperatures and interests compel curious growers into overlooked places. We like – we obsess in – the periphery. For those looking for wines of finesse and delicacy, this is a thrilling region and there are few better than the young Camille Migot: all hand-harvest, certified organic, all wild-yeast fermentations, NO chaptalization. Really serious. The Vin Gris is the calling card of the region, a richer, layered rosé that carries the nervous energy of the north.