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2018 ROSES – IT’S TIME & IT LOOKS LIKE WE ARE IN FOR A REAL TREAT!

John Tilson • 3/18/19        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

 

Yes it appears to have happened very quickly, but the 2018 roses are beginning to arrive. This perception of an early arrival maybe even more so this year given the cold weather we are having across the country. That includes here in Santa Barbara where we are in one of the wettest and coldest seasons (badly needed after a 10 year drought) that we have had in years. A recent thunder and lightning storm was indeed unusual.


And it is still early in the 2018 rosé season, but for me rosé season is pretty much all year round and depends on what I am eating as much as the weather. So far I have tasted only a few 2018 rosés, but the ones I have had are very light in color yet harmonious, beautifully balanced and flavorful. I am particularly fond of this style of rosé so if the trend continues all of us rosé lovers are in for a real treat. I will post another 2018 rosé article with many tasting notes soon. In the meantime, in case you missed it, take a look at my article from last year Is It Rosé Time?  This article covers when it is time to drink rosé as well as the history of rosé in the US and my involvement and the involvement of The Underground Wineletter with rosé (including links to all rosé articles posted on the website). As I said earlier, a series of 2018 rosé articles will follow, but for now here are notes on the handful that I have tasted so far (including the note on the 2018 Toad Hollow Vineyards Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir Eye of the Toad from my earlier Toad Hollow Vineyards article).

2018 Toad Hollow Vineyards Dry Rose of Pinot Noir Eye of the Toad Sonoma County
Very pale pink in color with a faint golden hue, this rose has a lovely perfume of strawberry fruit with faint hints of floral spice and citrus. Elegant and finesseful with a nice underlying crispness the wine is beautifully balanced with lovely subtle strawberry flavors accented by a citrus tinged crispness on the finish. This is a really delicious and refined rose that exudes charm and is a pleasure to drink. It is one of the first 2018 roses on the market and is one not to miss – Outstanding.       $13.99     Best Buy

2018 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare Owner/winemaker Randall Grahm has been a pioneer in many things including ingredient labeling, screw caps, and consistently outstanding and delicious wines including rosé which he calls Vin Gris de Cigare. (To read more about Bonny Doon Vineyard click here and to read about old Bonny Doon Vineyard Wines click here).

                                                                                                           

The Vin Gris de Cigare is a blend of Rhone varietals and has been made each year for some 35 years making it one of the oldest California rosés in terms of production. It is also is certainly one of the best California rosés year in and year out. This 2018 is particularly distinctive with a great balance of finesse and flavor. The varietal composition is essentially the same as it has been for the last dozen or so vintages with 38.55% Grenache, 30.5% Grenache Blanc, 12.5% Carignane, 10% Cinsault, 6% Mourvedre, 2% Picpoul, and 0.5% Vermentino. However, the color is substantially paler than recent vintages. The reasons for this are inexplicable according to Randall. But it should be remembered that the wine is made as a rosé (and not as the by product of a red wine) with the harvest done at the proper time and with minimal skin contact. Randall also says the 2018 Central Coast growing season was the coolest in some time which gives the wine wonderful natural acidity. The end result is a really gorgeous rosé which fully reflects the evolution of this iconic wine.
The color is pale pink with a faint yellow tinge at the edge and the perfume is stunning with exotic fruit overlaid with a floral nuance and a kiss of spice. On the palate, the wine is very elegant and silky with a beautifully balanced underlying acidity and the subtle flavors show exotically tinged fruit with a floral citrus tinge. In the 35 year  production of this rosé this 2018 is stunning and very special with a great combination of elegance, complexity, and flavor –  Outstanding Plus.       $16        Best Buy

Caves D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé Côtes de Provence
Here is what I said about this wine last year: This is a negociant wine (which can be made from from purchased grapes and/or wine) from Château d’Esclans in Provence. Since 2006 this ancient property has been owned by Sacha Lichine, the son of Alexis Lichine who was the former owner of Château Prieuré-Lichine in Bordeaux. We visited Chateau d’Esclans in 2011 where we were first exposed to Chateau d’Esclans Garrus Rosé. Chateau d’Esclans Garrus Rosé is made from an estate field blend of red and white grapes that is aged for an extended period in new oak. The oak gives the wine richness and flavors that, for my palate, masks the fruit. It has become a cult wine with a per bottle price approaching $100 making it the most expensive rosé that I know of by far.  As with a lot of other “cult wines”, Chateau d’Esclans Garrus Rosé has gotten big number scores from the critics.  But, let me just say straight out that Chateau d’Esclans Garrus Rosé is not a rosé that appeals to me. As for “Whispering Angel Rosé” there is no doubt that it is consistently a lovely rosé. The name “Whispering Angel” is very descriptive of the style and is reinforced by the label and embossed bottle. It is made in a large quantity and is brilliantly marketed. You can find this wine in many locations, wine stores, supermarkets, drug stores, and Costco where I purchased this bottle. OK. Having said that, how is this 2017 Whispering Angel? In a very short answer, not much different than it is every year. It is loaded with finesse and elegance and is flavorful. It also has a sexy name that is very descriptive of the wine, comes in a beautifully embossed bottle, and is widely available. These are good things.

2018 Caves D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé Côtes de Provence
Pale pink in color with a very faint golden orange hue this rosé has a lovely floral perfume with faint tinges of peach and citrus. Elegant, lush, and flavorful with lots of finesse the wine shows hints of peach with floral nuances and a faint exotic tinge. A subtle citrus undertone is evident on the finish which is very attractive. And, as usual, this Whispering Angel rosé is stylistic, delicious, and very easy to drink – Outstanding.       $19.99      Imported By Shaw Ross International Miramar, FL

2018 Rodney Strong Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
Pale pink in color this rosé has a gorgeous strawberry tinged perfume with faint floral spice nuances. On the palate it is elegant with finesse yet also flavorful with subtle hints of strawberry and citrus with a faint floral spice undertone. This is a very stylistic and beautifully balanced rosé with great appeal – Outstanding.       $13.99       Best Buy

In Vino Veritas,Sig

John Tilson

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