Monday, June 12, 2017

Mendocino Pinot Pink

A recent Brandlive virtual tasting featured the wines of Napa-based Onward Wines. They are what the PR department calls, "single-vineyard, site-driven wines crafted by one of the most exciting winemakers out there." They’re talking about Faith Armstrong-Foster, whose "mantra" is, "I could never make a wine I couldn’t afford to enjoy myself." She grew up in British Columbia, a good little Canadian girl who went to school every day in a tiny boat called - wait for it - the Onward.

Armstrong says her wines are site-driven, and she owes part of her success to the growers with whom she has partnered - Hawkeye Ranch, Cerise Vineyard, Capp Inn Ranch, Casa Roja Vineyard, Ledgewood Vineyard, Knox Vineyard and Babcock Vineyard. A smaller part of her success could probably be attributed to that little boat. Onward Wines was created in 2009 and she has another line, called Farmstrong.

Charles Communication, the PR folks who staged the virtual tasting, tweeted "Faith fell in love with #wine while shoveling a fermenter - that's #truelove for you."

Rosé Hawkeye Ranch, Redwood Valley 2016

The Hawkeye Ranch rosé of Pinot Noir features the cool-climate version of the grape, as if there is another type. Grown by Peter and Stephen Johnson, fifth-generation winegrowers in Mendocino County, the grapes come from vines that were planted in the 1970s, some of the oldest in the vineyard. They were picked specifically for rosé and the whole clusters were pressed to make the juice. It sells for $22.

The wine glows pale salmon in the glass, and smells of fresh cherries, light raspberries and a soft touch of Meyer lemon, which was a bit of a surprise. The mouthfeel is fresh and rich, with a zippy acidity and a full mouth. Cherry flavors dominate, but a mineral aspect does not try to hide. This is a delicious rosé that’s as good at the dinner table as it is on the porch.