A rose might be a rose might be a rose, but a Rosé wine… now those are different from one another! Here are some you might try.

Rodney, a recent dinner guest, brought a Rosé from Uncorked in Tahoe City: Juliette’s Dazzle, a 2010 Pinot Grigio Rosé from Colan & Weiss Cellars. Grapes came from Horse Heavens Hills and the Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, WA. I wasn’t wild about the wax overcap on this bottle (a real pain to remove!) but the wine was fantastic. Bottle notes:”A special block of Pinot Grigio at the Benches Vineyard was left to hang until it developed a bright tint, then slowly fermented.” A nice dry rose, 13.0 percent alcohol. $20 the bottle at Uncorked.

The recent Rosé Avengers and Producers tasting in San Francisco featured a number of Rosés you might want to experience.

A perfect beginners Rosé was the 2010 Isabel Mondavi Deep Rosé, a real cotton-candy of a wine made from Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Alcohol is 13 percent. $15 the bottle. http://www.imwines.com/

A nice fizzy Rosé, perfect for an aperitif, is the Elyssia NV Pinot Noir Brut from Freixenet USA. Yep, the same folks who make that nice champagne! This is a blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Trepat. This Spanish Cava is easy going, nicely balanced and medium in body, with a strawberry-raspberry-spice taste and a dry and refreshing finish. The Freiexenet website notes that Trepat is an indigenous grape to the region, with only 1,000 hectares of thie grape grown. “Trepat needs a specific soil and can be found close to the coastal regions of the Penedés due to the unique climates there. It is used only for rosado cavas.” 11.5 percent alcohol. $18 the bottle.

Left to Right, Urban Legend and
Six Sigma winemakers.

Six Sigma Ranch, Lower Lake, CA, produces 2010 Marianne’s Rosé, using only Syrah grapes from the vineyard planted in 2008 near the winery’s Diamond Mine Vineyard, Lake County. It has an amazing bright red color, and after a bit of time in French oak, the flavor reflects bright red fruits and spices, candied apples and raspberries. A nice crisp finish. Only one barrel was produced. This wine is limited to the winery’s wine club members… and that might be a good reason to join. 14.5 percent alcohol. $24 the bottle. www.sixsigmaranch.com

Urban Legend Cellars poured its 2010 Rosato di Barbera. Grapes for this wine were sourced in Clarksburg; the winery is in Oakland. “The flavor is all about strawberries. It’s not sweet but not too tart with a surprisingly silky feel. There’s a little bit of lemonade on the finish that keeps it incredibly refreshing,” notes the website. 13.8 percent alcohol. $18 the bottle. www.ulcellars.com

Finally, Terre Rouge Vin Gris d’Amador: This is a dry rosé that’s excellent as an aperitif and with a variety of appetizers. You might try this easy recipe for Goat Cheese Spread with sun-dried tomatoes and capers, concocted by Jane O'Riordan, an owner at Domaine de la Terre Rouge, Amador County.

Jane O'Riordan of
Terre Rouge
 Sun-dried Tomato Goat Cheese Spread
Makes about 3 cups. Keeps 4-5 days in refrigerator.

3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbl. sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
6-8 oz. fresh-style goat cheese, Montrachet or California log
12 oz. cream cheese
1 Tbl. Capers

In bowl of food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. Cut the cheeses into small hunks and add to bowl. Pulse/process until all the cheese is blended into a smooth spread with no white lumps. Add the capers and pulse briefly to mix. Scrape into a pretty serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve surrounded by crackers, toasted baguettes or sliced bread.

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© 2011 Barbara Keck

For more information on dining and the wide range of activities around Lake Tahoe, see the online version of The Tahoe Weekly. This article appeared in my column "Wine Adventures" in late July 2011.

Book in Process: "Mountain High Wine: The Sierra and Its Foothills".


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