Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Wine: Napa Rosé That Is Made To Be Rosé

Cornerstone Cellars makes a rosé wine that is intended to be a rosé from the moment the grapevines experience bud break in the spring. Rosé wines are sometimes produced as a by-product of red wine. Need a little color concentration on that Syrah? Bleed off some of the lightly-colored juice and use the remaining deeply-hued skins to beef it up. What about that leftover juice?  “Oh, look, we made a rosé!”

That’s not how they do it at Cornerstone. Managing partner Craig Camp writes that their Corallina Syrah Rosé 2014 is “Napa Valley rosé with a purpose.” He says Corallina is made “as mindfully as we make any other wine,” and he says the 2014 vintage is “our most delicious Corallina yet.”

The Syrah grapes for Corallina are grown in Crane Vineyard, in Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll AVA. They are pressed whole-cluster, fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for five months in French oak barrels. About 500 cases of Corallina Syrah Rosé are produced each harvest. This year’s wine is vinified completely dry at 13.8% alcohol and it retails for $25.

Corallina's beautiful coral color is striking enough, but wait until you get a whiff. The fragrance of peaches is almost overwhelming. Then come the cantaloupe and watermelon aromas. This isn't just great with a picnic, it is a picnic. On the palate, strawberries and cherries mix with a fresh herbal flavor. Orange peel persists into the finish. It has great weight and acidity to spare. Good, serious fun here.

Corallina is in Cornerstone’s “Wine Dance” series, and features the beautiful label art by Janet Ekholm.

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