Prettiest Rosé in the Garden

Given we are just beginning rosé season I thought I’d share some beautiful rosé wines to drink this spring & summer or if you are willing to share they make the best gifts. I know your not “supposed” to judge a wine but it’s label however sometimes it’s just best of both worlds scenario and they are blessed with looks and taste. Enjoy the following list of rosés that I personally thought were some of the prettiest out there:

Summer in a Bottle Rosé 2017 by Wolffer Estate Vineyard – $25

This unique shiny coppery rosé gold color stems from its blend of 51% Merlot 23% Chardonnay 9% Gewürztraminer 8% Cabernet Franc 5% Cabernet Sauvignon 4% Riesling. This isn’t called summer in a bottle for nothing. It’s the bright fruit, melon and lychee that make you feel like you are drinking summer. Made and bottled in New York!

Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses Rose 2016 -$15.99

This peachy Rosé is from Languedoc-Roussillon, France.  

The bouquet releases aromas of summer fruits, cassis and redcurrant. Floral notes of rose along with hints of grapefruit complete the picture. The finish is fresh, offering notes of candy. On the palate the impression is fresh and full, with great aromatic persistence and balance.

Notorious Pink 2016 Grenache Rose   -$ 16.99

This rosé is pale pink in color that exudes floral orange blossom aromas. Made from 100% Grenache from the South of France, we use mature berries to balance the flavors of ripe berries that gives it a wonderful acidity and soft minerality. I received this one from my amor for Valentines Day and truly the bottle is so feminine and pretty. Sleek opaque glass with a glass cork epitomizes class and elegance.

J Vineyards Sparkling Rose    –$31.99

Made in Cali (whoop whoop). This rosé yields aromas of strawberry, nectarine and juicy red apples. On the palate, the wine opens with flavors of cherry, orange, citrus peel and the tropical star fruit that are underlined by a bright acidity that keeps the impression delightfully fresh with a lively, lingering finish. This simplistic design is perfect for anyone you know that has a name that starts with J.

Armand de Brignac Rose –$ 439.97

Made in Champagne, France with a champagne in France price point. A stunning wine, with aromas of strawberries and toast layered over a creamy palate filled with apple tart and fresh berries. Elegant, supple and rich, with a balanced finish and fine mousse. One of the top Champagnes to be found today. This wine is for a very special occasion or if you have money to throw around. Not your average summer pool party rosé.

 

Cavicchioli 1928 Rosé Spumante Dolce is made from 100% Lambrusco grapes. In the vineyard, the vines are raised with a Guyot training system, with spurred cordon pruning, on loose mixed soils. When poured and tasted, white and evanescent foam; fine and lingering perlage; bright and pale pink “candy” color; fresh and fruity aroma; sweet, slightly spicy and aromatic taste with red fruit notes with a lingering aftertaste.

Tsarine Brut Rose NV -$49.99

Aromas of red fruits with hints of brioche; this Champagne brings layers of fruit and creaminess on palate with bright freshness leading to an elegant finish. This twisted glass bottle makes for a elegant gift to a friend worth giving a $50 bottle of rosé. Not your average summer picnic wine.

Up & Coming Wine Region in East Bay

Today I ended up strolling to the far back of Total Wine & More where there was a 5 cent tasting. Of course I gathered 5 cents from the bottom of my purse to have a taste. There were over 10 different types of wines to taste.

There stood local winemakers with their hard work being poured into small tasting cups. My attention was quickly captured seeing that these wines were made less than a few miles from where I live & I had very little clue this was going on.

lamorinda_ava_map2On Feb. 24, 2016 after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau established the 29,369 acres of Lamorinda as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). The new-ish wine region includes Orinda, Lafayette & Moraga (map shown).  The 3 winemakers I met today gave me a warm feeling as they seemed humble and excited to have people tasting their hard work.

 

The two local wineries there were Meadow View Winery & Los Arabis Vineyards.

Meadow View had 4 wines to taste 

  1. Meadow View Super T Lamorinda ($21.99)- French Roast  coffee and ripe cherry on the nose. In the mouth Dutch cocoa with hints of raspberry.
  2. Meadow View Cab Lamorinda Joyce ($21.99) – A violet nose with fruit and earth. In the mouth, earth and minerals blend plums and dark chocolate.
  3. Meadow View Pinot Noir ($21.99) – Dark cherry and hint of licorice in the nose turning into lush ripe strawberries in the glass.
  4. Meadow View Rose Lamorinda ($15.99) – hints of cherry blosson, hibiscus flowers, watermelon.

Los Arabis Vineyards (Ward Family Wine) had 1 wine to taste:

  1. 2013 Pinot Noir ($21.99) – dry and silky, with flavors of cola, nutmeg and mace.

*Prices are without pick 6 price, if you pick 6 you get 10% off.

I ended buying the Dry Rose from Meadow View and the Pinot Noir from Los Arabis both can be purchased at Total Wine & More.

 

I see this wine region as a little gem of the East Bay. As flocks of tourists head to Napa, I will take the road less traveled to Lamorinda AVA. Get the wines in local stores or online at most of their website or simply take a trip down.

Cheers!

St. Supery

 

After heading to V. Sattui we drove a whopping 8 minutes to get to St. Supery. St. Supery is more of a modern winery with beautiful vineyards surrounding the estate. There is a definite modern sleek feel to the tasting area. We arrived and the tasting bar was quiet and staff was welcoming and friendly. We were welcome by the hostess with a tasting of their Rosé.

It was nice to be greeted with a drink and then we were introduced to the server who we tasted with. He was knowledgeable of the wines and told us a bit about the history of the brand and wine.

Tasting:

2015 Napa Valley Estate Rosé: Brilliant shades of red and pink combine to present a light and elegant Rosé that is bursting with vibrant young berry flavors. Strawberry, raspberry and watermelon dominate the aromatics, with a background hint of subtle rose petal. Raspberry, strawberry and cranberry laced with an underlying note of blueberry and pomegranate add to the flavorful makeup of this youthful Rosé that finishes bright and full of life.

We did the Estate Tasting ($25) very loosely because of time constraints due to our tour.

2015 Napa Valley Estate Virtu ($30): A blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, the 2015 Virtú displays elegant shades of pale yellow and aromas of lemon essence. Lime, quince and lemon rind round out the bouquet with a subtle layer of toasted vanillin oak. Lemon and quince flavors continue throughout the palate with fig, pear and crème brûlée. This is an ornate wine with bright fruit characteristics and an excellent lemon and lime finish.

2014 Napa Valley, Dollarhide Estate Vineyard Chardonnay ($35): Attractive pale yellow hues present in this Chardonnay, while aromas of subtle nectarine and pear entangle with toasted smoky French oak. Flavors of pear, mango, cantaloupe, butterscotch and caramel are met with a creamy texture on the finish from the barrel fermentation and sur lie maturation. This is a round and elegant Chardonnay.

2012 Napa Valley, Rutherford Estate Vineyard Merlot ($50): Deep shades of reds and purples present in this single vineyard Merlot. Aromas of rich ripe blackberry with subtle notes of currant, anise and charred oak combine with just a hint of graphite. Flavors of black plum and dark mocha, couple with subtle raspberry, espresso and toasted vanillin barrel. This is a wine of fine texture, terrific length and structure.

2013 Napa Valley, Dollarhide Estate Vineyard Malbec ($50): This Malbec showcases deep, vibrant, dark purple and red hues. Aromas of juicy boysenberry and dark plum combine with a hint of vanilla oak and black licorice. Flavors of youthful, focused blueberry, black plum and espresso complete the profile. It is a bright wine with fine-grained tannins, nice structure and a gentle and elegant finish.

 

Visiting & Tasting:

Their tasting bar does not require reservations unless you have more than 10. Otherwise call to make a tasting reservation.

They have a huge variety of tastings and tours!! For example: Veggies + Vino,  Aromatherapy with a Corkscrew, Vineyard to Glass tour etc. They can all be booked online .

 

Sum it up:

1). Great Sauvignon Blanc! Which I rarely love.

2) charming, quite and modern estate

3) Tons of tasting classes and tour options.

Jamieson Ranch Vineyards

I began my day at Jamieson Ranch Vineyards and was woo’ed by the large estate with trees lining the entrance and vines as far as you could see. Most of the grapes have been harvested but it did not take away from the beauty. The winery is not in Napa but considered “the gateway to Napa” located in American Canyon.

Upon arriving the staff brought us quickly to our outside reserved tasting area with couches and heaters. It was a nice ambiance. We were given both a tasting menu that was included in our tour and a menu if we would like to purchase additional glasses/tastings.

Wine we tasted are person blends of the jazz musician Brian Culbertson in conjunction with Reata wines.

We tasted the following:

2015 Reata’s Brian Culbertson Rose of Pinot Noir

2014 Reata’s Brian Cubertson Los Carneros Chardonnay

2013 Reata’s Brian Cubertson Pinot Noir

My Favorites:

2014 REATA “BRIAN CULBERTSON” LOS CARNEROS CHARDONNAY: Deep straw yellow hue, the nose is marked by green apple, walnut, pear, honey and apricot. Flavors are honeysuckle  and apple with crisp nuances of dried pineapple.

I typically don’t love Chardonnay but really enjoyed this one. It was light and crisp and scarily easy to put back.

 

Visiting & Tasting:

Seems all their tastings require a reservation and typically range from $40-50 according to their website. After researching online seemed as though their pairings are either $35 or $45 and white only tasting started at $25 and go up to $5o for their Cab. tasting.

Free tastings for Military! (limited menu/tasting)

30% off glasses and bottles for military as well!

Sum it up:

  1. Avoid the craziness of Napa by heading to American Canyon
  2. Great outdoor seating
  3. Appreciate art & music! They have a awesome mural from apexer 

Mumm Napa

I was with two girlfriends who are in the Air Force and suggested we visit Mumm because they are great to the military and it is their favorite sparkling wine. This was my first time drinking Mumm.

When we arrived at Mumm it was a bit crowded but it was a Saturday at 1:30 pm. We waited about 15 minutes for a table, once we sat down we were greeted quickly by our server. She was energetic and was very excited to get us tasting. She was kind enough to suggest us 3 girls splitting two tastings. This was cool because this was before she knew they were in the military and the tastings would be free. She wasn’t pushy and let us sit back relax and enjoy each sparkling wine. She gave us an overview of each of the wines and a bit on the history of the brand. What I found most enjoyable is the noticeable difference in all the wines I tasted. Each were so well crafted and delicious. It was a great experience and I plan on going back early November.

My Favorites:

Brut Reserve Rosé: a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with a small amount of red wine added to enhance color, body and flavor. A lovely, all-purpose sparkling wine that looks beautiful in the glass, this wine provides a fine accompaniment to a wide range of foods and makes a unique gift.

Brut Reserve Rosé displays fresh, fragrant strawberry jam and dark plum aromas. Creamy and impressively dense on the palate, its bright red fruit flavors pick up a pleasing dash of spice in the long, crisp finish.

Demi-Sec: Meaning “half-dry” in French, this semi-sweet sparkling wine is very soft and subtle with a light and fresh style.

Mumm Napa Demi-Sec is a deliciously light, fresh and fruity wine with a delightful pale straw color, edged with a hint of yellow-green. The rich aromas are predominantly citrus with a faint touch of caramel in the background. This wine is rich, full and lush on the entry with orange blossom, citrus fruits and cantaloupe on the palate. The finish is long, dominated by white chocolate and vanilla flavors.

Visiting & Tasting:

No reservation required for tastings with less than 6.
Priced from $25-30 for flights

Free for Military!! 

Sum it up:

  1. All sparking wines are very different and high quality
  2. Full glass pours
  3. Worth the wait!!

Larson Family Winery

Larson Family Winery has a great vibe! We arrived on a party bus with 20+ people. Larson has an awesome outdoor area where you can taste wine, play outdoor lawn games and you are right next to the vineyard. We spent over 2 hours there. We had a server come to our tables to taste 5 wines and explain the characteristics of each. She was very friendly and patient with our large and rowdy group.

My friend, husband and I decided to do another tasting at the bar inside to cool off from the blazing sun. The man who served us was funny and knowledgeable.  The tasting was 5 wines however he was generous with his pours and allowed us to taste a few of the higher tiered wines. There is also 3 labs, Buster, Bubba, and Pete that roam around the winery and they are featured on the wines. I loved that! Larson Family Winery makes you feel like you are part of the family.

My favorites:

2013 3 Lab Cab: BEST TASTED WITH THEIR CHOCOLATE SAUCE!! DO IT! Rich full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Merlot. The North Coast appellation provides cool coastal air and fog and consistently cooler temperatures for growing some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The blend is smooth yet structured providing mild tannins. Tastes of dark ripe cherry make this a perfect wine for grilled meats or chocolate treats.

2014 Larson Family Gewürztraminer: Showcases a rich, complex Alsatian style. Made in the medium-dry style, (1.6% residual sugar), this wine expresses a layer of seductive flavors such as lychee, Muscat, citrus, and tropical fruits. Enjoy this wine with spicy Asian food. Great for picnics or just a nice summer sipper alone. The cool Carneros climate produces a naturally crisp balanced wine, which will age well in years to come..

 

Visiting & Tasting:

Picnic Table & Tasting reservations can be made online for
11:30 – 1:30 & 2:30 – 4:30

5 wines for $15 per person + 18% gratuity/service charge may apply.

This can vary depending on if you would like to try higher tiered wines.

Sum it up:

  1. Great outdoor space with cornhole and room to throw a football around
  2. Country feel with goats and sheep on the property and the 3 labs lounging around.
  3. Tastings are cheap and plentiful

Domaine Chandon

We drove up to Domaine Chandon on a perfect Sunday morning excited to have some bubbly to start my day. Going into Chandon I was expecting a bunch of  snobs but surprisingly it was the complete opposite. The staff was awesome and super relaxed!

I went with my best friend, Amanda, and we decided to each get a tasting. Each tasting flute had a heavy pour. The staff suggested enjoying each tasting and walk around the grounds and come back when we are ready for our second and third. We didn’t feel stuck to the tasting bar like some wineries. We could enjoy Chandon while enjoying the beautiful outdoor space overlooking it’s vineyard.

My favorites:

Chandon étoile Rosé: The wine is elegant and restrained with fresh aromas of plum, raspberry and nutmeg. These aromas follow through on the palate and are layered with subtle and delicate flavors of cocoa powder. The wine finishes with excellent length and richness.

Vintage Mt. Veeder Brut 2011: The nose leads with pleasing aromas of candied lemon, baked apple, and gingerbread. The vibrant palate is bursting with a bright crispness, balanced by creaminess and ending with clean finish typical of its Brut style.

Visiting & Tasting:

No need to reserve if you have less than 10 people! 

Classic Tasting – 4 sparking wines – $20
Vintage Tasting – 3 sparking wines – $25
Prestige Tasting – 3 sparking wines – $25

Sum it up:

  1. Enjoy the grounds between each tasting
  2. Heavy pours
  3. You get to keep tasting glass