Both locally and around the world, rose comes in as many styles as there are ways to make it. Some winemakers use the saignee method, where they bleed off juice to concentrate their reds — with rose being the byproduct. Some, like Shinn Estate Vineyards, make rose for rose sake, even growing particular clones of merlot in a particular portion of their vineyard specifically for rose.
Others prefer to blend juice from red grapes with that from white grapes. Wolffer Estate's Roman Roth falls into this category, making his 2007 with 40% chardonnay, 35% merlot, 17% cabernet sauvignon and 8% cabernet franc.
Roth, like most everyone in the Long Island wine world, considers 2007 "an ideal growing season" because there were many warm, sunny days and only moderate rain. The fruit for this wine was harvested between September 26 and October 13. After crush, the juice gently pressed off and settled at 50° Fahrenheit followed by a cool fermentation temperature of 66° Fahrenheit to total dryness. Aged in stainless steel after blending, Malolactic fermentation was strictly avoided. Wolffer made a lot of it this year — over 4000 cases — but with another Hamptons summer ahead, they'll need it.
A beautiful pale (extremely pale) copper-salmon color, the nose is very reminiscent of sauvignon blanc with fresh squeezed citrus aromas –- grapefuit, lemon and lime –- with subtle hints of herbs and briary strawberry. On the palate, it continues its impersonation of a dry white wine with grapefruit and lemon staying in the forefront. Only as it warms do some strawberry and raspberry notes emerge. Medium-light bodied, it has great acidity and is no doubt extremely versatile.
Drink it with shellfish, non-shellfish, salads, or on its own on a hot summer day at the beach. Looking for the quintessential Hamptons wine? This might be it. I like just a little more heft and red wine character in my rose, but this one is plenty delicious.
Grape(s): 40% chardonnay, 35% merlot, 17% cabernet sauvignon and 8% cabernet franc.
Producer: Wolffer Estate Vineyards
AVA: The Hamptons, Long Island
Rating: (3 out of 5 | Recommended)