I feel like I’ve been presenting a lot of rosés lately. I guess it’s the season for it. And what I’m discovering as I taste through all these rosés is that, in the right hands, rosé is not a drink for a season, but can be as timeless as even the finest reds. Of course the French figured this out long ago, and California, we seem to be headed in the right direction.
Conch Beery, winemaker and cellar master for J. Cage Cellars says “As a winemaker, it is my duty to create wines that are true to place, true to the soil, true to the climate, and true to the spirit of the growers. My goal is to translate the magic of each vineyard into every glass of wine.” And it’s evident he gives just as much care and attention to his rosé as he does with any other of his single vineyard, single varietal wines.
About the Wine: The J. Cage Cellars 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir is made of 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from “a small, unnamed vineyard off River Road,” according to proprietor Roger Beery. The grapes were destemmed and gently pressed. The wine aged in combination stainless steel (50%) and neutral French oak barrels (50%), and about half of the wine went through secondary, malolactic fermentation. During blending, about 20% of Pinot Noir saignée of Pinot Noir (from a different single vineyard lot) was added for “a bit of body and color.”
Flavor Profile: Pop the cork of the J. Cage Cellars 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir and breathe in spring and summer aromas of strawberry, watermelon, and citrus. This rosé is my favorite color of rosé — not pink at all but a light peach on the pour, settling into the glass with the orange hue of the setting sun. Initial aromas are of citrus, cherry blossoms, sea salt air, and a hint of white chocolate. Dive the nose deep to find a subtle hint of something savory, perhaps lemongrass.
The palate of the J. Cage Cellars 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir is smooth, the body almost round. The flavors speak absolutely of strawberries, but also some wheat-like notes as well. There’s bursts of lemon zest, floral aromatics encompass every sip, and the subtle flavors of lavender and honey. The acid here is surprisingly low, but the wine maintains a freshness with every sip.
Food Pairing: I paired the J. Cage Cellars 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir with, well, pizza. I can’t negate a good pizza and Pinot party and yes the pairing was perfect — especially on a Friday evening after a long hard week. The roasted red peppers on the pizza brought out the liveliness of the fruits: white raspberry, pink lemonade blueberries, and the funk of strawberries. The fresh tomatoes and spinach brought out that savory, wheat-like flavor I sensed earlier, while the parmesan added an interesting textural element to the wine I hadn’t noticed before.
That being said, you could easily elevate this wine with a more refined meal. I think it would pair perfectly with my fancy salmon salad or even my Mediterranean quinoa dish.
More Info: I received the J. Cage Cellars 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Roger!) Price: $28. For more information about J. Cage, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the J. Cage Cellars website.
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