Wine Tasting Dinner: Washington Rosé Extravaganza



By Kori ~ June 23rd, 2010.

Last Friday evening was a beautiful, sunny, summer evening here in Seattle. It was the perfect night to gather with friends to enjoy a fabulous meal and good wines for one of our monthly wine tasting dinners. And what is the perfect wine to enjoy on a hot summer day? This is the time of year when we turn our attention to rosé wines. In fact, many wineries only make small quantities of rosé wines to be released during the summer months.

Since rosés have a limited window of availability, we decided to change up our normal routine a bit in order to taste a few more wines. It was a gorgeous early summer evening, so we tasted through eleven Washington Rosés outside on the deck. Each person was asked to take one pour of each wine, taste it, and then give a preliminary 1-11 ranking in order of preference. We then tallied up the scores in order to determine the six “finalists” that would move on to the dinner portion of the tasting.

Rosé is French for “pink” and is used to describe wines of that color. Rosés are generally made from red grapes; however, unlike typical red wine production, the skins are removed from the juice after only a couple of days. This limited skin contact gives rosé its light pink color and is the reason that rosés are lighter-bodied than most red wines. Rosés can run the gamut from dry to sweet. Too many people think pink wines are all sweet. Not so. For me, the dry rosés are more serious and interesting.

This tasting was a lot of fun. Not only were the wines perfect for the weather, but they paired very well with Mom’s dinner of tomato basil soup, arugula, peach, and tomato salad, grilled pork tenderloins, steamed red potatoes with yellow bell pepper, lemon seasoned fresh green beans, and meringue shells with ice cream, garnished with whipped topping and mixed fresh berries.

The consensus favorite was the 2009 Barnard Griffin Rosé of Sangiovese. It is one of the most well-known and widely available Washington State rosés. I look forward to its release each year. My personal favorite of the night was the 2008 Lullaby Rosé. I had it for the first time a couple of weeks ago during the #WARose tasting with Paul Gregutt. French-born Virginie Bourgue is a talented winemaker who recently left her position as head winemaker for Cadaretta to focus full-time on her own Lullaby Winery. The 2009 Milbrandt Traditions Rosé and the 2007 Columbia Crest Two Vines Vineyard 10 Rosé were also excellent. And, the best news is that all eleven wines retail for $18 or less with four of them receiving a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

When the sun is shining and you’re looking for a refreshing beverage to enjoy on the deck, don’t forget to give rosé wine a shot.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings with dinner:

2009 Barnard Griffin Rosé of Sangiovese (Columbia Valley, Washington): Medium pink in color. Very aromatic. A lot of red fruits up front on both the nose and palate, especially strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and watermelon. Dry and light to medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced and very refreshing with a long finish. A great sipper on a hot summer day and gets even better with food.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle, WA), $11; Available elsewhere, $9 to $13

2009 Milbrandt Traditions Rosé (Columbia Valley, Washington): 100% Syrah. Light pink and very aromatic. Aromas and flavors of watermelon and raspberry. Dry and light-bodied with crisp acidity and a long finish. Very refreshing.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Whole Foods (Seattle, WA), $12

2007 Columbia Crest Two Vines Vineyard 10 Rosé (Washington State): 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier. Medium, hot pink in color. Aromatic with cherries, strawberries, and a hint of vanilla on the nose; more cherries come through on the palate. Slightly off-dry, light to medium-bodied, lively acidity, and a long finish. Residual Sugar: 1%
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, WA), $6; Available elsewhere, $7 to $9

2008 Lullaby Rosé (Columbia Valley, Washington): 100% Grenache. Very faint copper in color, could easily be mistaken for a white wine instead of a rosé wine. Aromatic with fresh, floral notes. More floral notes, strawberry, melon, and herbs come through on the palate. Dry, light-bodied and crisp with a long finish. Well-balanced and very refreshing with good complexity. A Provence-style rosé. Reminds me of a rosé sparkling wine without the bubbles. Excellent by itself and very food-friendly. My personal favorite of the evening.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: McCarthy & Schiering (Seattle, WA), $18 [500ml]; Available elsewhere, $15

2009 Charles & Charles Rosé (Columbia Valley, Washington): 100% Syrah. Pale, pinkish salmon. Aromatic with watermelon rind and ripe red berries on the nose; watermelon, berries, peach, and a hint of pepper and spice on the palate. Dry, light to medium-bodied and crisp with a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Central Market (Shoreline, WA), $10; Available elsewhere, $9 to $13

2009 Waters Rosé (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): 75% Syrah, 25% Viognier. Pale to medium, pinkish salmon in color. Gorgeous nose with vibrant fruit, red berry, melon, and floral aromas. Cranberry, melon, and strawberry on the palate. Dry, light to medium-bodied and crisp with a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $18

The rest:

2007 Working Girl Wines [Olympic Cellars] Rosé the Riveter (Columbia Valley, Washington): 100% Lemberger. Off-dry.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, WA), $10.50; Available elsewhere, $9

2009 Dusted Valley Ramblin’ Rosé (Columbia Valley, Washington): 52.4% Mourvedre, 29% Counoise, 16% Syrah, 2% Viognier. Dry.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $18; Available elsewhere, $16

NV Townshend Pink Table Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): Sweet.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, WA), $5.50

2009 Syncline Rosé (Columbia Valley, Washington): 37% Cinsault, 35% Counoise, 12% Grenache, 11% Mourvedre, 5% Carignan. Dry.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $16; Available elsewhere, $14 to $16

2007 Eliseo Silva [Tagaris] La Rosa de Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): 92% Syrah, 8% Riesling. Residual Sugar: 3.5%
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, WA), $10; Available elsewhere, $9


Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Grenache, Lesser Known Varietals, Rose Wine, Sangiovese, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Bean | June 24th, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I have been a big fan of the Lullaby Rose since last fall and I was curious as to what QPR you would give it. It is pretty pricey for a 500ml bottle, making it almost as expensive as the Cote Bonneville Cab Franc rose. Both of those rose have exceptional balance and truly elevate the food that they are paired with. Unfortunately they also elevate my wallet out of reach for all but the most special of occasions.

  2. Kori | July 6th, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Bean,
    Yes, the Lullaby Rose is a lovely wine and absolutely wonderful with food. You are right though, it is on the pricier side for rose. Cheers!

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