Passion project of two Napa Valley natives, Jake Krausz (Estate Director of Arkenstone Vineyards) and Vincent Traverso, this simply labeled “California Rosé” is anything but simple. To look at it, with it’s darkish color in the bottle, the extremely large font, and the generic label — you may think (like I did) that this is some kind of weird blended saignée-style rosé made from leftovers. It’s actually, quite the opposite.

In fact, Krausz and Traverso started this project to get rid of the “California Rosé” stereotype…

About the Wine: The AMB Wines Ambrosé 2016 Rosé is made from 90% Syrah grapes harvested from a single vineyard in Northern Sonoma’s Bennett Valley and 10% Mourvèdre harvested from a single vineyard in Brentwood, just south of Napa Valley. The grapes are purposely picked to create this rosé — early, but at full ripeness. Hand sorted and gently pressed, the wine then goes through a cool fermentation process with the Syrah fermenting in stainless steel and the Mourvèdre fermenting in neutral French oak. The resulting wines are then blended and aged

At full phenolic ripeness, the grapes are picked at sunrise and brought straight to the winery on Howell Mountain, where they are hand-sorted and dropped gently into a bladder press.  sur lie in a combination of stainless steel and neutral French oak

2015 celebrates Krausz and Traverso’s inaugural vintage of Ambrosé. The wine was just released spring of 2016.

14.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Just the aroma of the Ambrosé in the glass will tell you how full-bodied and full-flavored this wine will be. There’s an undeniable meatiness about it on the nose — even when completely chilled. Primary scents include white pepper, blood orange, over-ripe strawberries, arugula, and watermelon.

On the palate, as expected, the Ambrosé is full, round, and lush with (suprisingly) ripe expressions of the fruits listed above. It has the body characteristics of a red wine, with just an underlying refreshing quality due to the acidity. The acidity is solid and comes in about 1/4 of the way — as does the spice kick. Indeed it is the essence of cayenne pepper and paprika that gently dusts the inner side of the lips and leaves a lingering tingle in the mouth and body.

Food Pairing: Hearty, substantial, Ambrosé could pair with a variety of meals. And, note, it should be paired with a meal. This isn’t really the “back porch summer sipper” that you’d think it is based on the label. I think this would pair well with a light pasta (I’m thinking basil and ricotta ravioli in a light tomato sauce); a spring vegetable risotto; or a grilled salmon salad.

More Info: I received this bottle of Ambrosé as a sample for review from Last Bottle Wines. Retail: $75 for 3-pack. For more information about Ambrosé and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Ambrosé website.

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