By: George Balling
Every year wine releases fall primarily in two seasons, spring and fall. It is an exciting time of year. Spring release typically includes many new whites, and of course a whole “flock” of dry rosés, all of which are great in the summer. This year is no exception, fortunately most white grapes and reds that were destined for rosé production were harvested prior to the massive and damaging fires that started last year. Here are some of our favorites from what we have tasted so far.
Each year the release of the Skylark Pink Belly dry rosé of Grenache is one of our most anticipated arrivals. We received a sample bottle last week from the winery and we can say the 2020 is spectacular again! Bone dry, light and crisp across the palette but at no time does the crisp clean acid sacrifice texture. The wine is just flat out delicious and will arrive in June. The price for the 2020 will be the same as last year $24, $21.60 if you are in our wine club. You are welcome to reserve bottles now for the wine by calling us here at the shop or by emailing me at [email protected] .
But wait there’s more…. With all of the restaurants being closed last year during the height of Covid the local, Washington based distributor did not go through all of their wine from last year. We received a small allocation of the 2019 Pink Belly at a very special price. There is not much and it is moving fast but we have the bottles of 2019 available at $17, $15.30 if you are in our wine club. At this price with the caliber of the wine we expect it to be gone quickly, so let us know if we can hold some for you. The bottles of 2019 will arrive on Saturday May 1.
One of the big hits in dry rosé last year was the Pratsch from Austria. The 2020 Pratsch ($15, wine club price $13.50) arrived in the shop last Friday and what a treat it is again. The wine is a bit darker than many roses but don’t let that fool you, it is dry and crisp just like we want on a warm summer day. The wine is berry noted on the palette with flinty minerality aromas.
A new wine for us this year is the 2020 Scaia Rosato ($15, wine club price $13.50). From Northern Italy the wine shows a distinctive watermelon character on the palate to go along with the more predictable red berry notes in both the aromas and on the palette. Despite the reasonable price we are told the Scaia is typically not around for long and represents a small production lot for this storied winery.
Another new addition this year is the 2020 Chante Pierre Rosé ($15, wine club price $13.50) from the South of France. Crafted from Grenache, Cinsault and Carignane like the best Provencal wines, it shows wet stone mineral driven aromatics with plenty of ripe berry notes. The palette is crisp and clean berry noted throughout and lovely. I can’t imagine anything better than enjoying this wine on a warm summer day with a plate of charcuterie.
One of our best-selling Viogniers recently left the market and we went on the search for a replacement. We were thrilled to try the 2020 La Playa Viognier ($12, wine club price $10.80) from Chile. We have carried the Sauvignon Blanc from La Playa for a number of years, that is also delicious but had no idea they made Viognier. The wine is unoaked as it should be and shows rich aromas of peaches and nectarines. The palette is loaded front to back with more stone fruit flavors with a clean dry finish.
We have long been fans of the Tablas Creek Winery located in Paso Robles. This is the American property for the Rhone Valley powerhouse Perrin family that among other notables makes the Chateau du Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape. This lovely white wine is made from Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, and Clairette Blanche, some of the primary grapes used to produce Chateauneuf du Pape blanc in France. Each year the Patelin de Tablas Blanc ($30, wine club price $27) is one of our absolute favorites. The 2018 offers generous texture to go along with stone fruit flavors of peaches and apples. White Rhone varietals like this should never be placed in an oak barrel, the Tablas Creek is not allowing all of the ripe rich fruit to shine through, but maintaining a silkiness throughout.
More wines from the Spring Release of 2021 will be arriving every week so stop by the shop to check them out.