One great reason to be a Northwest wine lover is to experience the emergence of beautiful and seriously delicious rosés.
The days of sickly sweet California Kool-Aid are well behind us, and dozens upon dozens of Northwest winemakers are crafting crisp pinks that pair so well with fresh Northwest cuisine.
Rosés are made from red wine grapes, particularly sangiovese, pinot noir, cabernet Franc and frenache, though winemakers enjoy working with other varieties, too. It is a great time of experimentation.
Rosés that are made to show off bright red fruits backed by crisp acidity are perfect wines to enjoy with shellfish, grilled seafood, chicken, pork, turkey and more.
And these wines are meant to drink young. Save a couple of bottles for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, but otherwise age them on the way home from the store, then chill them down and crack them open.
Here are several tasty rosés we’ve tried recently. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.
L’Ecole No. 41 2015, Alder Ridge Vineyard Grenache Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $22: The lightly colored Provençe-style pink broadcasts energetic aromas of cherry, strawberry-rhubarb compote, graham cracker, caramel and vanilla bean. It drinks clean and bright with flavors of white strawberry and mint.
Vino La Monarcha 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $18: This features stunning aromas and flavors of plum, cherry and raspberry. A dash of 1.4 percent residual sugar is just ahead of tart cranberry and baking spice, offering a beautiful balance of color, flavor, acidity and sweetness.
Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2015 The Expedition Rosé, Columbia Valley, $15: Aromas of cherry juice, dried cranberry and celery leaf carry into more cherry and red currant flavors on the entry. There’s pleasing midpalate weight with plum juice, which leads to a clean, crisp finish.
Rocky Pond Winery 2015 Clos CheValle Vineyard Rosé, Lake Chelan, $19: A nose of strawberry taffy, dusty rose, baked cherry pie and smoky blueberry leads to a juicy, fruit-forward drink. Rainier cherry and raspberry flavors are joined by watermelon, huckleberry and blueberry as the finish is reminiscent of a fresh berry smoothie.
Dolan & Weiss Cellars 2015 Julia’s Dazzle Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $16: Aromas of pear, rhubarb-strawberry jam and clove lead to flavors of Honeycrisp apple, Rainier cherry and a hint of ripe pear. It’s all backed by bright acidity.
Tamarack Cellars 2015 Rosé of Mourvèdre, Wahluke Slope, $15: The peach color leads to generous aromas of dried strawberry, light cherry and lime peel with a pinch of dried oregano. Inside, it’s an easy bone-dry drink of Rainier cherry and lingonberry with a fascinating mouth feel.
Browne Family Vineyards 2015 Grenache Rosé, Columbia Valley, $18: Here’s a showy pink with a wardrobe of light strawberry, opening the door to inviting aromas of watermelon, pink raspberry and pie cherry. There’s penetrating acidity that leads to a blend of flavors that mirror the aroma.
Wind Rose Cellars 2015 Rosato, Yakima Valley, $15: This reveals alluring strawberry-rhubarb color with aromas to match, including Rainier cherry, nectarine and a rub of dried herbs. The fluid is refreshing with delicate red fruit flavors akin to raspberry, Rainier cherry and cranberry.
Sawtooth Winery 2015 Classic Fly Series Grenache Rosé, Snake River Valley, $25: An endearing nose comes with hints of strawberry, cherry and cotton candy. The drink is dialed to delightful dryness, bringing flavors of pink raspberry and strawberry. There’s a beautiful silkiness to the midpalate that’s brushed aside by dynamite acidity.
Maryhill Winery 2015 Rosé of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $16: Watermelon and strawberry aromas lead into flavor of the same fruits, plus a touch of red currants on the palate. It finishes with 0.9% residual sugar, which disappears from the palate with its close of juicy acidity.
Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company. Learn more about wine at greatnorthwestwine.com.