Skeptical, as always, when I receive a rosé — I’ve had some high highs and some low lows when it comes to the varietal. On the other side of that, though, is my track record with Grgich Hills Estate: from their light and lively Fumé Blanc to their downright earthy Napa Cab, Mr.’s Grgich and Hills have never steered me wrong.
Of course, then I read the blend. Cautiously concerned, but ultimately curious, there was nothing left to do but dive right in and taste.
About the Wine: With Grgich Hills, all grapes are 100% estate grown. With five different estate vineyards from the American Canyon, Carneros, Yountville, Rutherford, and Calistoga regions of Napa Valley, Grgich has access to the specific soils and climates best suited to their claim-to-fame grapes — Bordeaux varieties. I mention this because…
The Grgich Hills Estate 2016 Rosé is made from 45% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 8% Zinfandel, 6% Petit Verdot, and 1% Gewürztraminer.
Whoa, right? What didn’t they put in this blend? Actually, I can tell you: Old Vine Zin, Petite Sirah, Sauv Blanc, Chard, or Riesling. (All varieties the GH Estate also grows.)
My point is, it’s not literally a kitchen sink wine. The blend actually makes Bordeaux-style sense. Think of this wine as a red blend first. In fact, you should because this particular rosé was made in the saignée method, using the free run juices of the blended grape varieties after hours of skin contact (hence it’s super pink hue).
The juice went through a cold primary fermentation for about 5 weeks and then left to age in stainless steel tanks (70%) and neutral French oak barrels (30%) for 1 month.
Flavor Profile: The Grgich Hills 2016 Rosé is so pretty in the glass — it really is perfectly pink. The aromas are rich with green grass warmed by the morning sun after a light nighttime rainfall. There’s a strong essence of strawberries, just picked from the bush, hints of grapefruit zest, and just the faintest background scent of pollen being blown by a soft breeze.
The palate is surprisingly dry. Though, admittedly, this is not a fully dry rosé — more off-dry. I think it gives the illusion of being drier than it is because there’s a bit of sparkle, a bit of effervescence that tingles the tongue just slightly, but enough to break up other flavors and textures and give the wine an excellent balance.
The vivacious fruit flavors — watermelon, strawberry, raspberry, and pieces of lemon peel pith — don’t come to play until mid-palate. But when they do, they give the rosé a bit of body — not quite voluptuousness, but you might be thinking full-figured thoughts.
Then the wine mellows, solidifies, giving off some fruit-skin textures and even a hint of earthiness as if tasting the dirt from where the fruit had fallen and was gathered.
Food Pairing: None. Don’t bother. This is just a fun pre-dinner or sitting-in-the-summer-sun wine. Enjoy the flavors and textures on their own. You’ll be surprised what you discover.
More Info: I received the Grgich Hills 2016 Rosé as a sample for review. (Cheers Ken!) Retail: $25
Looking for more Grgich Hills recommendations? Check out these Grgich Hills reviews.
For more information about Grgich Hills Estate wines and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Grgich Hills Estate website.
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