California Rosé Is More Than Just a Color

The New York Times’ wine writer Eric Asimov revisits rosé wines from California this week. Once maligned as stereotypically heavy, sweet and high-alcohol, California rosés have stepped up their game significantly in recent years. As many California wine producers “have emphasized restraint, subtlety and freshness in their reds and whites,” similarly, they have turned their attention to rosés, “expanding the notion of what California rosés can achieve.”

Asimov is joined by Mia Van de Water, the wine director at North End Grill, and Jerusha Frost, a sommelier at Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud, to compile a list of the top ten 2013 rosé vintages. All of the wines impress and are found to be “blessedly dry,” which is in line with American wine consumers’ maturing palates, which have grown to enjoy more austere and nuanced wines. 

The critics’ favorite is the Country Line Rosé from Elk Home Ranch in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley, made entirely from pinot noir. Asimov also enjoys Edmunds St. John Eldorado County Witters Vineyard’s Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rosé. Tangy, tart and only $20, it was voted the best value. 

“Too many rosés—worldwide, not just from California—are made cynically, blueprinted and manufactured to appeal to an audience buying a color, not a wine,” writes Asimov. “Here, though you have honest rosés meant to appeal to wine lovers rather than followers of fashion.”

Head over to check out the entire list list. [The New York Times] [Photo: Flickr/jenny downing]