Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wine For Spring And Summer: In The Pink at Whole Foods Market

It’s now the season that makes wine lovers think pink.  I like having rosés year-round - they go great with Thanksgiving leftovers, are well-suited for holiday entertaining and make waiting for the Groundhog seem less annoying.  But the freshness and flavor of rosé wines certainly makes them a go-to choice for spring and summer.

Whole Foods Markets in Southern California have rosé gardens in them - places where you can pluck delightful rosé wines from the shelves, place them carefully in your basket and take them home to help make the spring and summer even brighter.

Fourteen specially selected pink wines are ripe for the picking at Whole Foods Markets.  Here they are, along with their retail prices: 
Bieler Rosé 2012, $11.99
Charles and Charles Rosé 2012, $12.99
Chateau Routas Rouvière Rosé, $14.99
Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé 2012, $19.99
Clos Alivu  Rosé, $19.99
Domaine de la Fouquette Cote de Provence Rosé, $17.99
Hitching Post Pinks 2012, $14.99
One Wine Ampelos Rosé, $17.99
Château Pampelonne Rosé, $19.99
Roquesante Rosé Provencal 2012, $12.99
Secco Rosé Bubbles, $12.99
St. Roch Cote de Provence Rosé, $14.99
Vie Vité Cotes de Provence Rosé 2012, $16.99 
The WFM wine folks say these wines will be available through June 2013 at Southern California stores.

Whole Foods Market has worked with a number of Central Coast vintners in recent years to produce special wines for their customers in Southern California.  You see two Central Coast efforts on the list above - Hitching Post Pinks and One Wine Ampelos Rosé.

I was offered a bottle of the One Wine Ampelos Cellars Rosé to review for this article, which is a task at which I was happy to slave away over a period of several sittings.  I have long been a fan of Ampelos wines, and I was excited to find that Peter and Rebecca Work had been commissioned to create a rosé for WFM’s One Wine series.

It is a limited-edition wine, with only 388 cases produced.  Warm and cool climate Syrah from Santa Barbara County make up this rosé, with a bit of dry Riesling and Grenache blended into it.  The blend is 76% Syrah from Cuatro Vientos Vineyard and Ampelos estate vineyard, 18% Grenache from Vogelzang and Ampelos Vineyards and 6% Riesling from Rancho Sisquoc Vineyard.  The percentages are very close to those of their own Ampelos Rosé of Syrah.  Most of the Syrah grapes are picked three or four weeks earlier than the harvest for red wine.  The alcohol comes in at a perfectly reasonable 13.6% abv.

The wine is beautiful as it sits in a glass or a carafe - or simply in the clear bottle in which it is sold.  It's a gorgeous, rich, salmon pink color - a fairly deep tint.  The nose gives earthy strawberry and cherry scents with a green bit of an herbal aroma.  It is the sort of bouquet I always hope for in a rosé.  The palate, too, is alive with red fruit flavors - also earthy, but candy-colored in a way that reminds me of Pixy Stix, or at least I think that's what those fruit-powder-filled straws of my childhood were called.

The acidity is just fine for pairing with a favorite salad out on the deck, but it's also a great wine to sit and sip while the sounds of spring and summer lull you into a restful time in your favorite outdoor chair.  Wake me for a refill, will you?

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