Everything’s Coming Up Rosés These Pink Wines are Perfect for Spring
Timing has a lot to do with rosé. That pink color – an alluring hue that can range from salmon to blush – is the by-product of grape juice and grape skins coming in contact for a few hours, or for a day, maybe two or three, until just enough tint bleeds into the wine. The result, to the eye, can be spellbinding.
Then there’s the timing driven by the calendar. With spring comes sunshine and warmth, along with that nagging desire for an adult beverage that’s as quenching and refreshing as it is pretty, and one that’s apropos to sip any time of the day or night. No wine fits that bill better than rosé.
Winemakers push rosés out young to preserve their freshness and verve, so you’ve likely seen a lot of 2020 rosé promos lately. No need to go far: some of the best in the market hail from Santa Barbara County, and they represent some of the best wine values out there. Here are six worth seeking out (and buying by the case) right now.
Tercero 2020 Mourvèdre Rosé ($30):
Winemaker Larry Schaffer is already seeing this one fly out fast from his Los Olivos tasting room. He stomped the grapes himself, by foot, and the juice only saw skin contact for about an hour before going into a stainless steel tank for fermentation at cool temps over four weeks. The mourvedre grapes – sisters to syrah – came from Camp 4 Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. This wine is brilliant and delicious, and it’s brimming with tropical notes (although that could be because I enjoyed a bottle of this one on the shores of Maui last week). Nab some of the Tercero 2020 Cinsault Rosé ($30), too – probably the lightest colored rosé around! tercerowines.com.
Kimsey 2020 Grenache Rosé ($29):
Montecito residents Nancy and Bill Kimsey hired right when they brought winemaker phenom Matt Dees on board right when they launched their eponymous brand in 2008. The grapes for this wine come from their lovely 22-acre estate vineyard in Ballard Canyon, a prime growing region just north of Buellton that’s prime for Rhone grapes, like grenache. Just over 30 hours of skin contact here, and a profusion of uplifting citrus notes. kimseyvineyard.com.
Epiphany 2020 Grenache Rosé ($25):
The bright acidity in this wine is enhanced by red berry aromas and watermelon flavors. A very subtle suppleness on the palate makes it especially food-friendly and super tasty. As part of the Fess Parker portfolio of wines, these grenache grapes hail from the brand’s proprietary Rodney’s Vineyard along Foxen Canyon Road. Fermentation took four months – half of it in neutral oak barrels and half in stainless steel tanks. epiphanywineco.com.
Fess Parker 2020 Pinot Noir Rosé ($25):
This rosé is elegant and polished. That may be the product of the fruit – pinot noir sourced from Rio Vista Vineyard in the coveted Sta. Rita Hills region, just west of Buellton. Kudos to winemaker Blair Fox and his team for another mouthwatering rosé that balances refined notes of strawberries and cherries with streaks of grapefruit and orange rind. Pop this one open at lunch and finish off throughout the afternoon. fessparker.com.
Zaca Mesa 2020 Rosé of Grenache ($25):
Winemaker Kristin Bryden and her team have crafted a deliciously dry rosé from estate-grown grenache grapes. This one screams spring, with its tasty tartness and superfluity of stone fruit flavors – lychee, apricot, peach. The color is also especially eye-catching, leaning toward diluted scarlet, and the texture is lovely. This is the rosé you quaff at the beach, or poolside, at that exact moment when the work week comes to an end. zacamesa.com.
Carhartt 2020 Chase the Blues Away Rosé ($25):
The Carhartt wine brand, with its popular cabin-style tasting room in Los Olivos, has been rebranded to drive the family angle home – welcome to Carhartt Family Wines. The “Chase” in the name of this grenache rosé is a loving tip-of-the-hat to Brooke and Mike’s son; the trio handles all grape growing and winemaker duties. This wine is big on minerality – most of the grapes were picked extra early to harness acidity – and the red berry and red apple flavors make it utterly yummy. carharttfamilywines.com.