Advent – Day 12

Wine: Rose’ (California)
Winery: American Vintners
Cheese: Wensleydale with Cranberries

Halfway through the Advent Calendar is a surprise. After days of red and white, Day 12’s wine in the Holiday Sweater collection is a rose’. The tasting notes say that this rose’ wine is made through the maceration process, where the crushed remnants of the red grapes (skins, seeds and stalks) rest or “macerate” in the unfermented grape juice for a period of time – usually 2-20 hours or so – before being removed and the juice finished into a rose’ wine. This method of making rose’ wine is traditional in Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence, where maceration is considered by many to be the only true method of making rose’ wine. Yet in Napa and Sonoma valley the saignee’ method of rose’ making is preferred. That’s where a portion of the juice intended for red wine making is “bled off” and stored separately to make rose’. Seeing the amount of reds in the AV collection so far as well as its location one would almost expect them to go the saignee’ route here but they chose the traditional maceration method. I thought that was interesting and a potentially unique decision for the region.

So rose’ making lesson aside, how is the AV rose’? The color is a washed out, pale pink with a perhaps a hint of orange. My wife Carleen says it reminded her of a peach. The pale, faded subtlety extends to the nose, the aromas are extremely subdued here. I picked up hints of strawberry and cherry, and a little peach, but they didn’t pop with any sort of intensity. I’m not looking for a heavily perfumed rose’ but a little more of a presence would have been nice.

Surprisingly the palate was a different story. Dry, crisp and very tart, I found the palate to be more lively than the nose – a rarity, actually, usually it’s the other way around. The strawberries and cherries were bursting here as well as notes of melon. The tasting notes said there were floral notes as well, normally I pick up floral right away, but not so much here. But nonetheless the wine was very refreshing and fun to drink. Overall I give this wine a 3.5 (A-). The nose was a tad disappointing but the palate more than made up for it. This would be a great summer wine.

Today’s cheese is the Wensleydale with Cranberries, a cheese I described earlier in Advent Day 6. Carleen enjoyed pairing the two. I thought the wine was too dry for the sweetness of the cheese but I did note that the fruitiness of the wine complemented the cranberries.

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