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Cindy Lemos
June 29, 2015 | Wine | Cindy Lemos

Nothing Sweet About This Rosé

2014 Vin Gris of Pinot NoirNormally, when a rosé is poured into my glass, I expect a sugar rush to accompany the first sip.

Not the new Middle Ridge 2014 Vin Gris!  The color is a beautiful salmon pink and it is decidedly on the dry side.  Winemaker Chris says it has aromas of pear and lychee – I'm unfamiliar with lychee so I looked it up.  It is the sole member of the Soapberry family. {wildly unhelpful!}  I also see that it's popular in southern Asian cuisine.  As I have no experience with it, I'm putting it on my shopping list to check out.  However, the pear on the nose is unmistakable.  

Rolling it around in my mouth, the pear is still there and is joined by a burst of strawberries, finishing with a smooth cranberry love bite. 

This is a blush of Pinot Noir.  It retains earthy undertones of the varietal and I immediately went to the refrigerator to pull out some gorgonzola.  That was a bit too much, so I added a wedge of brie, put both in the microwave to warm them up and voila!  The melding of sharp and creamy cheeses pairs perfectly with this wine and really brings out the strawberries in this delightful rosé. 

The fruit for this wine was sourced from the Santa Rita Hills, home to the Pinot Noirs made famous in the movie Sideways.  The region's fruit has always been stellar, however, Pinot Noir is extremely finicky and hard to grow.  It is a thin-skinned grape and needs the cool ocean breezes and almost perfect soil to reach its potential.  It's a wimp of a grape really ... you won't find Pinot Noir clinging to a steeply terraced hillside like Cabernet Sauvignon.  Then even with the best fruit, it requires a talented winemaker to create a truly exceptional wine. 

Hence, you'll rarely find a rose made from a Pinot Noir.  Most winemakers simply aren't up to the challenge.  Our Mad Scientist from Idyllwild was not daunted.  Nor would he knuckle under to popular thought which would dictate a sweeter wine in the finished product.

The result is a smooth, dry, crisp rosé with gorgeous color and perfectly balanced acid.  It’s the perfect accompaniment to grilled salmon or a juicy pork chop – either of which would be awesome with a savory pear sauce.  I plan to enjoy another glass with some bacon/gorgonzola/brie stuffed mushrooms on a bed of greens with pear balsamic vinaigrette.

Cheers!  Oh, and while you're enjoying a glass of Vin Gris, read more about it in the summer newsletter, including an interview with Winemaker Chris.  Carry on!


Cindy Lemos's Gravatar
Cindy Lemos
@ Jun 29, 2015 at 8:59 PM
I loved this wine! So much flavor and a perfect summer wine for chilling on the patio in the shade.

Paula's Gravatar
@ Jul 22, 2015 at 12:26 PM
Cindy, Thanks for insightful review. Must if made sparkling, the winemaker would take it to new level. I think lychee can be found at 88 Ranch Market on Ynez.

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