Ever wonder what Italians sip under the hot Tuscan sun with their lunch of mozzarella caprese, grilled calamari and carpaccio?
It would not be a Super Tuscan, that’s for sure. But it would be made with the same grape – Sangiovese. Sangiovese (san-jo-veh-zeh) is a red grape which translated means “Blood of Jove.” Jove was one of many important gods of the Roman Empire, by Jove.
Sangiovese is the essential, and required by law, ingredient of some of Italy’s most famous wines. Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino are 100% Sangiovese. Chianti’s main component since 1996 is 75 to 100% Sangiovese. Carmignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano, and Super Tuscans all use some or all Sangiovese. But these are not the types of wines for dining al fresco. Too big, too heavy and we need something fruit forward and with a chill on it.
Enter Sangiovese Rosé, one of the most food friendly wines out there. Perfect with antipasti, salads of any type, grilled oysters or salmon, barbequed ribs, hamburgers, chops, and grilled pizzas. You get the picture. There is a swarm of Sangiovese Rosés right here in Washington State that you need to explore this summer.
One that I would highly reccommend is from Kaella Wine Company. While touring the Woodinville Warehouse District a few months ago, I happened upon the winery. This was my first taste of Rosé this year and boy! I was impressed. This Rosé is a red wine drinker’s summertime best friend.
Made from 100% Sangiovese from one of the best vineyards in the state, Ciel du Cheval on Red Mountain, the grapes were processed in the usual fashion of Rosé making.
After harvesting, those tough stems are removed, in a process called destemming, and then they’re crushed, and the skins are left to macerate for 24 hours to allow the skins release their color, flavors and aromas. The next day, the juice is pressed and then fermented in stainless steel tanks. Stainless steel fermentation accentuates the fruitiness. Rosés rarely see oak.
Kaella’s Rosé has enticing aromas of strawberry, watermelon, and raspberry that are rich and full bodied with great acidity and an impressive finish. Consumed over three days with all manner of fresh crab dishes, I swear I did not notice the 14.2% until the last drop.
Maryhill, Winery of the Year in 2014, makes a wonderful Columbia Valley Rosé of Sangiovese that is bright pink in color and has this sun ripened strawberry and watermelon flavors. Crisp and clean, it also was fermented in stainless steel. Sourced from two award-winning vineyards, this Rosé is comprised of 86% Sangiovese from the Tudor Hills Vineyards and 14% Grenache from Art den Hoed Vineyards.
Barnard Griffin has been producing award-winning wines for over 30 years. It was founded in 1983 by Rob Griffin and Deborah Barnard, while Griffin was still working for Hogue. Barnard Griffin Winery only recently built their own winery in the heart of Washington State’s wine country, at the confluence of the Yakima, Columbia, and Snake rivers.
Their Rosé of Sangiovese is a luscious array of strawberry, melon and cranberry notes with crisp acidity. The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition has awarded this wine Gold or better nine times. A seriously great summer quaffer.
At the Kitsap Wine Festival, celebrating its seventh year, there are a number of Washington Wineries that will be serving up rosés. This fun-in-the-sunshine event is the perfect opportunity to try before you buy.
Their villa is located at the top of a hill just like Tuscan Villas. And the vineyards are blessed with Tuscan-like terroir, located in an area historically considered to be among the warmest in the state. Patio Red is a light Sangiovese blend with strawberry and dark cherry aromas and flavors. It pairs nicely with deck chairs, grilled foods and great friends!
Last year, we gushed over the Forgeron 2013 Ambiance, a blend of white grapes in the Rhone way with Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, & Marsanne. Forgeron is back again this year, serving up a versatile and food-friendly Rosé of Sangiovese. Crisp and delicious from start to finish with juicy red berry flavors.
Davenport Cellars is a boutique winery located in the warehouse district in Northeast Woodinville. Davenport Cellars also makes a Sangiovese called Rosé de Vins from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard on Red Mountain.
Their other fabulous summertime sipper is the Orange Muscat from Lonesome Spring Ranch with a residual sugar of 3.5%. This is a perfect wine for a summer’s day, fragrant, crisp and 100% stainless fermented. Try adding sparkling water for a really refreshing al fresco wine.
Olympic Peninsula’s Harbinger Winery will be pouring their rosé, a crisp beauty from Red Mountain. Although technically a Rhone Rosé, It’s well balanced with bright berry notes and racy acidity, this ruby-colored gem is all cherry pie and sweet spices.
Many of these Washington wines can be tasted at the Kitsap Wine Festival on the waterfront, Saturday, August 8th starting at 2:00pm. Harborside Fountain Park is one of the more splendid venues Kitsap has to offer. Close to the ferry, gorgeous views and spectacular fountains. Enjoy the wines, the delectable bites and friendship; it’s a great Kitsap summer event. Tickets are for sale at Brown Paper Tickets. More info at http://www.kitsapwinefestival.com/sip.php