- Written by Rand Sealey
This is our annual Rosé wine roundup, summarizing the 2018 vintage for rosés from Europe and the U.S. This list is comprised of the top wines and the best buys. This year, we tasted over 60 Rosés and these are the the most highly recommended.
Rosés Scoring 19/20 Points
2018 DeLille Cellars Rosé, Columbia Valley ($32) - A nicely balanced Provence-style blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. Reviewed in the 24 July Blog. Lynn: three stars (highest rating).
2018 La Bastide Blanche Bandol Rosé ($22.99 - Esquin) - The top scoring Bandol. Lynn gave it three stars. Review Blog 24 July.
2018 Les Hauts du Vallon Bandol Rosé ($21.99 - wine.com) - 45% Mourvèdre, 45% Grenache, 10% Cinsault. Scored 18.5+/20 on 24 July, 19/20 points last tasted. Lynn three stars.
2018 Isabelle Garrault Sancerre Rose "Les Grands Monts" ($25,99 - wine.com) - From the Upper Loire and made from Pinot Noir, this shows uncommon elegance for a Rosé. 16 April Blog.
2018 DaMa Rosé of Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley ($25) - The nicest Cabernet Franc Rosé we tasted. - Review of Washington Wines July issue.
2018 Rotie Cellars Rosé Wine, Washington State ($22) - This combination of 70% Mourvèdre and 15% each of Syrah and Grenache is a Bandol look-alike. Reviewed April.
Best Buys: Rosés Scoring 18.5/20 Points for $20 or Less
2018 Chateau Ste. Michelle Rosé, Columbia Valley ($8.99 - Safeway) - This scored 18+/20 points but is a steal at $8.99. Reviewed May.
2018 Maryhill Rose of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley ($13.99 - Safeway) - The nicest Rosé from this variety we tasted. Reviewed 24 July Blog.
2018 College Cellars Grenache Rosé ($18) - This effervescent Rosé is delicious and a super buy. Lynn three stars. June issue.
2018 Saviah Cellars Rosé, Walla Walla Valley, Dugger Creek Vineyard ($18) - A nicely fruited 60% Sangiovese, 40% Barbera combination. April issue.
2018 Smoky Rose Pinot Noir Rosé, Walla Walla Valley ($20) From the Breezy Slope Vineyard, with nice extraction (8 hours) - May issue
2018 SMAK Wines Spring Sangiovese Rosé ($18) - Fiona Mak makes only Rosé, for year around. - March Review issue.
2018 SMAK Wines Summer Pinot Gris Rosé ($18) - From Pinot Gris grapes with extra hang time to produce a copper colored Rosé. March issue.
2018 SMAK Wines Fall / Winter Syrah Rosé ($18) Shows nice depth and balance. To be reviewed in the September issue.
2018 Willamette Valley Vineyards "Whole Cluster" Pinot Noir Rosé ($16.99 - Safeway) - The best buy in Oregon Rosé. 14 May Blog.
2018 Château de Manissy Tavel Rosé ($18.99 - Esquin) - A lot of delicious fruit and character. Lynn: three stars. 24 July Blog.
2018 Paul Jaboulet "Parallele 45" Cotes du Rhone Rosé ($15.99 - wine.com) - A super buy. Lots of flavor for the price. 16 April Blog.
2018 Fleur de Mer Côtes de Provence Rosé ($17.99 - Safeway) - Deliciously fresh and lively with judicious extraction. 16 April Blog.
2018 Triennes Rosé Mediterannée ($17.99 - wine.com) - Lively and vivacious, this is highly charming. Cinsault based. 14 May Blog.
2018 AIX Coteaux D'Aix in Provence Rosé ($18.99 - Safeway) - Crisp and lively, refreshing. 14 May Blog.
- Written by Rand Sealey
As we go into mid-summer, we have sampled more rosé wines from France and America. Here are our latest discoveries.
2018 Basel Cellars "2901" Estate Rose of Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($23) - 2901 Old Milton Highway its the winery's address. From the Double River Vineyard, this shows a copper-pink color and aromas of raspberry, cranberry, tangerine and cassis, with scents of pink roses, lilac and pink incense. The flavors are more extracted than usual for a rosé (whole cluster pressed) with notes of grape skin, dried cranberries and minerals. The back picks up framboise and cassis liqueurs and tangerine peel, followed by a finely fruited dry finish. 18.5/20 points.
2018 Maryhill Rosé of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley ($13.99 - Safeway) - This is one of the nicest Sangio rosés we've run across. Brilliant pink-rose colored, it possesses attractive aromas of strawberries, cherries, red currants, pink roses, pink lilac and pink incense. The flavors, as well, are appealing with bright red fruits that are accented by grape skin, strawberry and cherry liqueurs and minerals, followed by a balanced dry finish. 18.5/20 points.
2018 Januik-Novelty Hill "Spring Run" Rosé, Columbia Valley, Stillwater Creek Vineyard ($18) - This 90% Syrah, 7% Grenache, 3% Mourvèdre combination displays a brilliant pink color and aromas of raspberry, pomegranate, red currant, pink roses, lavender and pink incense. The flavors are nicely extracted, with tasty red fruits that are accented by grape skin, pomegranate skis and kirsch, followed by a lightly spiced moderate acid finish. 18+/20 points.
2018 DeLille Cellars Rosé, Columbia Valley ($32) - Composed of 52% Grenache, 39% Mourvèdre and 9% Cinsault, this Rosé displays a light copper-pink color and a lovely nose of strawberry, red currant, pomegranate, watermelon, wild roses, lavender and whiffs of spiced incense. The flavors are exquisitely extracted, with notes of grape skins, pomegranate seeds and minerals. The resonance continues on the back with sensations of fraise and cassis liqueurs and melon rind, followed by a lengthy dry finish. 19/20 points. Lynn: three stars (highest rating).
2018 La Crema Pinot Noir Rosé, Monterey ($15.99 - Safeway) - I thought I'd try a California Rosé and picked up this one at Safeway. It shows a light salmon color and attractive aromas of Marion berry, Rainer cherry, tangerine, cherry blossoms and white incense. The flavors are crisped lively, with notes of grape skin, gently pressed berries, tangerine peel and sassafras tea, followed a juicy finish. 18/20 points.
2018 Domaine de Pallus Chinon "Messanges Rosé," Cabernet Franc ($19.99 - wine.com) - This Loire Valley Rosé offers a light copper color and intriguing aromas of Marion berry, white cherry, red currant, pink roses and pink incense. The flavors are nicely extracted, with notes of grape skin, pink grapefruit and Loire river minerals. The wine gains texture on the back with sensations of kirsch and cassis liqueurs , followed by a dry, juicy finish. 18.5/20 points.
2018 Briotte "Esprit Barville" Côtes du Rhone Rose ($13.99 - Esquin) - This shows a light salmon color and aromas of raspberry, currant, pomegrate, tangerine peel, red roses and pink smoke. The flavors are light and fresh, yet mouth watering, with notes of gently squeezed fruits and pomegranate seeds, followed by a lightly spiced dry finish. 18/20 points.
2018 Château de Manissy Tavel Rosé ($15,99 - Esquin) - Copper-pink colored, this rosé emits intriguing aromas of strawberries, currants, tangerine, pink roses, lavender and pink incense. The flavors are well extracted and balanced, with notes of grape skin, fraise and cassis liqueurs and recurring orange peel, followed by a nicely fruited dry finish. At $15.99 this a steal of a deal. 18.5/20 points.
2018 Domaine Pelaquie Tavel Rosé ($18.99 - wine.com) - Composed of 60% Grenache and 20% each of Mourvèdre and Cinsault, this shows a brilliant rose-pink color and enticing aromas of strawberry, cherry, pomegranate, red currants, pink roses, lavender and pink incense. The flavors are ripe and lively, with nicely extracted fruits along with stony mas minerals. The wine enlivens further on the back with cerise and cassis liqueurs and pomegranate seeds followed by a dry finish. 18.5/20 points.
2018 Les Hauts du Vallon Bandol Rosé ($21.99 - wine.com) - Composed of 45% Mourvèdre, 45% Grenache and 10% Cinsault, this rose offers a light copper color and intriguing aromas of wild strawberries, pink cherries, melon and tangerine with scents of cherry blossoms, wild flowers and pink incense. The flavors are nicely extracted, with notes of grape skin, melon rind and calcareous minerals. The back picks up fraise liqueur and recurring tangerine peel, followed by a pleasing juicy dry finish. 18.5+/20 points.
2018 Les Adrets Bandol Rosé ($20.99 - Esquin) - Light pink-peach colored, this rosé possesses an attractive nose of wild strawberries, red currants, tangerine, pink roses, lavender and whiffs of oriental incense. The flavors are fresh and sprightly, with notes of grape skin, fraise and cassis liqueurs followed by a resonant, dry finish. 18.5+/20 points.
2018 La Bastide Blanche Bandol Rosé ($22.99 - Esquin) - Brilliant copper-pink colored, this possesses enticing aromas of cherry, pomegranate, tangerine, pink lilac, lavender, Provençal herbs and incense. The exquisite flavors are deftly extracted, with notes of grape skin, pomegranate seeds and recurring tangerine peel, followed by a long, pleasing juicy finish. 19/20 points. Lynn: three stars. "Such a beauty."
- Written by Rand Sealey
Last Sunday, July 14, Lynn and I hosted a Bastille Day tasting of French wines. We decorated the dining and living room with French flags and served French cheeses, pâtes and appetizers, along with baguettes. There were sixteen wines in all, four whites, four rosés and eight reds, from the Loire Valley, Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. We omitted Bordeaux as there would then be too many wines. A great time was had by all. Here are the most noteworthy wines, with my notes and scores.
2017 Domaine Thomas Sancerre, "Les Comtesses" ($29.99 - wine.com) - This came on as quintessential Sauvignon Blanc: light gold colored, it possessed a lovely floral nose of pear, peach, gooseberry and wet stone. The flavors were crisp and resonant, with classic calcareous minerals and a crisp finish. 18.5+/20 points.
2016 Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec, Clos du Bourg ($39.99 - Esquin) - Domaine Huet is regarded as one of the best producers of Vouvray. This one showed a brilliant gold color and ripe aromas of pear, peach, star fruit with scents of white roses, honeysuckle, jasmine and clover. The flavors were rich yet laser-like, with Chenin Blanc purity, marked by elegant fruits and a long, complex finish. 19/20 points. Not everyone, though, liked this wine. Some thought it acidic.
2015 Domaine Duc de Magenta Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot, Clos de la Chapelle, Premier Cru ($99) - This was a superb White Burgundy. Brilliant gold colored, it possessed aromas of pear, peach, citrus, minerals, white roses, pear tree blossoms and acacia flowers. The flavors were clear and laser-like, marked by Chardonnay purity and granitic minerals, followed by an ultra precise finish. 19.5/20 points.
2018 Isabelle Garrault Sancerre Rosé, "Les Grands Monts" ($25.99 - wine.com) - While Sancerre is better known for its whites, some rosé and red wines are made from Pinot Noir. This one showed a light pink color and lovely aromas of strawberry, cherry, wildflowers with minerally medium bodied red fruit flavors and a nice dry finish. 18.5/20 points.
2018 Les Hauts du Vallon Bandol Rosé ($19.99 - wine.com) - Composed of 45% Mourvèdre, 45% Grenache and 10% Cinsault, this showed a real pink color and enticing aromas of strawberry, red currant, tangerine, pink roses and pink incense. The flavors were nicely extracted and balanced, with a pleasing dry finish. 18.5/20 points.
2015 Château des Jacques Moulin-a-Vent, Clos des Rochegres - From one of the best Crus of Beaujolais, this Gamay Noir wine was outstanding, from a great vintage. It possessed a deep ruby color and a rich, almost spicy nose of dark berries, crushed roses and violets. The flavors were thick and generous, with plenty of backbone. Sadly, the 2015 is sold out. 19/20 points.
2016 Joseph Drouhin Côtes de Nuits Villages ($32.99 - wine.com) - While not "big" Pinot, this was a real charmer. Medium brick colored, it showed lovely perfumed aromas of strawberries and red currant, and pleasing medium bodied red fruits and a velvety, nicely fruited finish. 18.5/20 points.
2015 Louis Jadot Beaune Boucherottes Premier Cru ($69.99 - wine.com) - This was quintessential Beaune Pinot Noir. Brick red colored, it emited aromas of raspberry, cherry, cassis, crushed roses and incense. The flavors were rich and fleshy, with plenty of minerals and chewy textures, followed by a long, rich finish. One of the favorites of the tasting. 19/20 points.
2013 Domaine Pierre Gelin Gevrey Chambertin Clos Prieur Premier Cru - This was another popular Pinot. It showed a brick red color and smoky aromas of strawberry, cherry, cassis, rose petals and wood smoke. The flavors were velvety yet vigorous, with an abundance of red fruits and a long finish. 19/20 points.
2015 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage, Domaine de Thalabert ($39.99 - wine.com) - This 100% Syrah from the North Rhone Valley was another winner. Deep ruby colored, it possessed rich aromas of blueberry, black currant, crushed roses, lavender and violets. The flavors were well structured, yet smooth, with notes of licorice and schist minerals, followed by a long finish. 19/20 points.
In looking at the participants' tasting sheets, I was struck by how much variation of there was in the likes and dislikes of some of the wines. People either loved a particular wine or hated it. Wine preferences are very much personal. This is the way it should be: make your choices in wine on the basis of what you like.
- Written by Rand Sealey
In the August issue of the Review of Washington Wines, there will be sixteen red wines from the 2017 vintage. This marks the beginning of a new vintage going into the consumer market while the 2016 vintage is in full cycle and the 2015 approaching its end.
The 2017 grape harvest in Washington State was down 16% (227,000 tons) from the record 2016 harvest (270,000 tons). The harsh winter was the main reason for the lower crop size. After a wet spring, the growing season turned normal and the grape quality was high, making most winemakers happy. Dick Boushey stated, "I think I picked some of my best fruit ever last fall."
On the basis of wines tasted so far, I have found the 2017 red wines to be of consistently high quality, with many wines scoring 18.5/20 and 19/20 points. The wines are well balanced and show fine fruit and depth. It is a vintage to put into your cellar. Here are some noteworthy wines recently reviewed.
Syncline: Cinault, Horse Heaven Hills McKinley Springs Vineyard ($36) - This South Rhone variety is a rarity in the U.S. The aromas and flavors are seductive, medium bodied but mouth filling and layered. 18.5+/20 points. To be reviewed in the August issue.
College Cellars: The new 2017 releases include a Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, all tasty versions of their respective varieties. To be in the August issue. The 2017 Carmenère and Tempranillo were reviewed in the May issue.
Mark Ryan: The 2017 Dissident (18.5+/20 points) and Wild Eyed Syrah, Red Mountain (19/20 points) will be in the August issue.
Dama Wines: The 2017 Grenache is tasty, medium bodied and mouth filling (19/20 points). August.
Amavi Cellars: The 2017 Syrah and 2017 Ceres Red Wine (55% Cabernet Franc, 45% Malbec), both19/20 points are in the July issue.
Owen Roe: The 2017 "Rosa Mystica" is a fine rendition of Cabernet Franc (18.5/20 points) - July issue.
Prospice: The new Walla Walla Winery has two Syrahs, one from the Les Collings Vineyard and one from the Resurgence Vineyard both 19/20 points.
Valdemar Estates: This Spanish-owned winery has a trio of "Component Trial Syrahs one from Blue Mountain Vineyard and two from Red Mountain. All 19.5/20 points in the July issue.
Aluvé: This winery has an impressive 2017 Sangiovese (19/20 points). Reviewed in the June issue.
Time & Direction: "Diamond Cutter" Red Wine (92% Syrah) - 18.5/20 points. June issue.
Buty: The Merlot (74%) / Cabernet Franc (26%) blend is impressive (19/20 points). June issue.
Rote Cellars: The 2017 Northern and Southern Red Blends were Highly Recommended (19.5/20 points) in the May issue.
Seven Hills: This winery turned out an impressive Carmenère (19/20 points). May issue.
- Written by Rand Sealey
For the past few months, most of the wines reviewed in the Review of Washington Wines have been from the Walla Walla and Yakima Valleys. They are close to home so it's easy to stay up to date. But over the next few months, we will be exploring wineries further out. Here's what we have coming up.
Tomorrow, July 4, we will be driving to the Columbia Gorge, an area we haven't visited for almost a year. We will be making the Lyle Loop: Memaloose, Tetrahedron, Syncline, COR and Domaine Pouillon. Yes, the wineries will be open on the Fourth. A report on this visit will be in the August issue of the Review of Washington Wines.
On July 17, we will drive to Woodinville to get up to date there. We will visit DeLille Cellars at the Carriage House. Also on our list are Avennia, William Church, Guardian and Darby. My report will be in the September issue.
Further down on the calendar are visits to Chelan and Spokane, will schedules to be determined. So there will be plenty of wines from around the state to write about.
On July 14, we will be hosting a Bastille Day Celebration with a tasting of French wines - reds, whites and rosés - from Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. A report will be in the July 15 Review Blog posting.