“I like rosés with lower alcohol and more freshness,” says Yannick Rousseau, owner and winemaker of Y.Rousseau Wines. “Of course,” he adds, “being made from 100% Tannat, the wine has a lot of structure and backbone, and so can actually be a great alternative to some lighter reds on warm summer days.” Perfect. Personally, I’m always looking for a rosé with some life to it. Something that, at a cooler temp, is perfect as an aperitif, but can last the whole evening with flavors and textures that amplify as it comes to room temp. With Y. Rousseau’s Rosé of Tannat you can actually rosé pretty much all day…

About the Wine: The Y. Rousseau 2016 Rosé of Tannat is made from 100% Tannat grapes harvested from a sustainably farmed, 4-acre vineyard near Winters in Solano County. Previous vintages utilized grapes sourced from Saralee’s Vineyard in Sonoma County, the same vineyard used for his 2014 RRV Tannat. But as that vineyard has since replanted some of their Tannat grapes to other varieties, Yannick had to hunt for another source for the rare grape. “I was pretty happy to find this new vineyard,” says Yannick, “it is on a beautiful hillside and planted with the French clone and French rootstock of Tannat.” (Read more about Tannat’s French origins.)

The grapes picked for the Y. Rousseau 2016 Rosé of Tannat  were harvested from a specific vineyard parcel at a much lower Brix than the true Tannat — a purposeful rosé from the start. The grapes were whole cluster pressed, slowly and with minimal pressure, and without any skin contact. The wine is kept sur lies in stainless steel for 5 months without battonage.

13.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Twist off the screw-cap and let the scents of citrus fruits fly up and into your breath: passionfruit, strawberry, watermelon — all with a clear line of refreshing acidity. This rosé looks baby pink on the pour, but settles into the glass with a denser peachy-orange color. Initial aromas are quite soft, adding a bit of peaches and cream to the scents listed above. The acid here has strength, and there’s an added floral sweetness that lingers in the background. Swirl and those floral components come alive with fresh greenery all around the. Lift the nose away from the glass to find a soft nuttiness, reminiscent of macadamias or cashews.

Take a sip and you can’t not smell the field of flowers as you take this wine into your body. They’re alive in flavor and texture, the tongue gently coated with an almost-tannin, as if licking the petal of a flower — smooth, but textural. The fruit — namely that passionfruit and strawberry — go almost had in hand, but like any good escort keeps itself just a few paces behind.

The finish is long, refreshing, with a slight warmth of the heart and an even slighter tingle of the tongue. The aftertaste holds a flicker of a flame that’s just been smothered.

Note: I started the evening with this wine completely chilled, but kept it out to come slowly to room temperature throughout the evening. As with other heartier rosés (like the Tercero Rosé of Mourvèdre), you will experience denser fruits but more importantly a firmer texture, as the temperature increases. Enjoy at the temperature you like or play with it like I did.

Food Pairing: The first night I enjoyed the Y. Rousseau 2016 Rosé of Tannat I had a spicy sausage pasta cooked with a cream sauce. What I loved was how the creaminess of the sauce and the soft texture of the pasta highlighted those textural notes in the wine. Meanwhile the spices and the herbs in the sausage pulled out the freshness in the wine. What I didn’t like was the actual sausage itself — for some reason that texture (kind of mealy) did not marry well with the wine and I found myself wanting the same flavor profile, but with seafood (namely shrimp) instead of sausage.

The second night I enjoyed the Y. Rousseau 2016 Rosé of Tannat I kept the wine cool throughout the evening and paired it with a simple salmon salad. What I enjoyed was how the heartiness of the salmon pulled out the body of the wine that tends to stay hidden at that cool temp. So if you’re looking to keep the wine cool but still want to have a bit of a bite to the wine, this would be the perfect pairing.

More Info: I received the Y. Rousseau 2016 Rosé of Tannat as a sample for review. (Cheers Olga and Yannick!) Retail: $24. For more information and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Y. Rousseau website.

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