The creation of a well-balanced Rosé of Pinot Noir is a careful balancing act. The most inviting characteristics of Rosé are delicacy and freshness; however, the best ones combine inviting fruit characteristics and texture as well. Finding this balance is the challenge.
In principle, our Rosé winemaking process is fairly simple. Within the first few hours we remove (or bleed) a small percentage of the juice from the Pinot Noir ferments. We want the juice to extract some color and phenols from the Pinot Noir skins, but we do not want the juice to become dark or overly extracted. Conversely, we cannot bleed the juice too early because the resulting wine will lack character, color, and flavor. Since we have a wide spread of Pinot Noir lots in the vineyards, we select the lots with the most finesse to create our Rosé.
Once we remove the juice from the Pinot Noir ferment, we gently transfer it to stainless steel tanks. At this point, we ferment the juice in a similar fashion to a Chardonnay. We lower the temperature of the tank to keep the fermentation cool, which helps us ferment the juice slowly and maintain the bright aromatics and crisp fruit flavors.
After approximately 30 days, the primary fermentation is complete and we gently rack the wine off of its primary lees to another stainless steel tank or barrel. The wine is then lightly sulfured and aged for three months before being bottled in early February.
Our current release of this wine comes from the 2013 vintage and was sourced entirely from estate vineyards (80% Quail Hill Vineyard, 20% Susanna’s Vineyard) so our very own vineyard crew worked directly with this fruit throughout the entire growing season. This release showcases the delicate balance we strive for with a vibrant pink color and effusive aromatics of strawberry, rose petal, and pomegranate. A juicy mid-palate and a fresh finish also make this wine great to pair with food. Stay tuned for our next blog entry featuring a special food pairing from Chef Frakes to go with this 92 point release!