This epic package arrived at my door. A beautifully emblazoned box holding this radiant rosé. Oh yeah — and two pairs of sunglasses. “Gimmicky?” my partner in wine crime asked, skeptical that the contents of the wine bottle would be no better than the white zin that, in our house, is just called “pink.” “No,” I assured him, “I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
Spoiler alert: He was.
About the Wine: It’s not obvious from the website, but Day Owl is the product of O’Neill Vintners & Distillers who produce bulk wines as well as other spirits. The winemaker is local Bay Arean Steven DeCosta whose worked for such big-name wineries as Paul Hobbs before becoming O’Neill Vintners & Distillers chief winemaker in February 2015.
Day Owl 2016 Rosé is made from 100% Barbera grapes harvested from vineyards in the Madera County, Central Coast, and Paso Robles wine regions. The grapes were whole cluster pressed with minimal skin contact and fermented in 100% stainless steel tanks.
Flavor Profile: The Day Owl 2016 Rosé of Barbera is surprisingly not all that aromatic upon twisting the cap. If you put your nose just above the bottle, you will get a faint whiff of flowers and the essence of something “meatier,” but really you just have to get this wine in the glass. Visually, the rosé is a fun peachy-pink on pour, settling into the glass with on off-pink — what I would call “blush” — color.
Initial aromatics in the glass are almost what you’d expect from a rosé: grapefruit, pink roses, but again an essence of something heartier, meatier. Swirl and sniff again. Now you’ll find some dirt, leaves, and fertilizing mulch at the bottom of the glass. Move your nose to the top of the glass and find some softer fruit scents of peach, apricot, and a background of nectar. Now move your nose to the dead center of the glass, but pull away slightly. Here you will find the bouquet of petite spray roses. Still dead center, if you stick your nose all the way into the glass and take an extremely deep breath in, here you’ll find what that “meatiness” is — it is the solid structural scent of coconut meat.
On the palate, you’ll immediately encounter salivation on the sides of the tongue from the ripe acidity of those citrus fruits (namely grapefruit to my tastebuds). Despite that, the overall texture is actually soft. Not round, because there is that immediate acidity that, indeed, lingers forever and a day at the end. I would call the wine oval shape, beginning and ending with that sharpness, but softening the journey with a more calm texture.
Flavors during that mid-palate journey are equally calm and quite subtle. There’s almost a saltwater wateriness to it, and a constant background of rosewater. And as you get to the pointy end, you may just find (if you’re paying close attention), some grit of the earth — like the little pieces of dirt left by fresh rainwater.
Like I said, the finish is a lingering tingle from the refreshing acidity. Post-swallow, after the salivation subsides, close your lips and breathe through your nose. Left over aromatics of freshly watered grass, lemongrass, and just the faintest hint of pineapple take over the tongue.
An interesting mix of fresh and fruity, wet and rainy, and dirty earthy.
Food Pairing: Don’t. Well, I didn’t. As the name implies this is a day time wine. It makes a great aperitif, a great mid-day lunch wine, or serve at a picnic party.
More Info: I received Day Owl 2016 Rosé of Barbera as a sample for review. (Cheers Tiffany!) Retail: $15. For more information and to purchase the wine directly, please visit the Day Owl Wines website.
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