Everything is coming up Rosés – a peek at local pinks



“…But just suppose, you had no nose, then you could never smell a Rosé …”
Dr. Seuss, modified

And that would be a shame, wouldn’t it? Rosés truly combine the best of both worlds in wine. The freshness, acidity and best food-friendliness of white wines, with the structure, berry fruit, tannins and best food-friendliness of red wines. The result, a very food-friendly wine! A key sommelier go-to, when in doubt, select a Rosé  – or Rosado (Sp), or Rosato (It).

Rosés come in various styles – from bone dry and mineral wealthy, to semi- and fully sweet, to sparkling. And any black grape can be used to make a pink one, the final result carrying through the grape’s intrinsic flavours and aromas.

Rosé wines can be made in three basic ways:

Saignée – or bleeding. The winemaker will bleed off a portion of must (unfermented juice) after only a short period of contact with the grape skins (6-48 hours). Because the colour of red wine is derived from pigments in the skins, the juice is only pink, not red. Rosés made this way include Anjou, Clairet and Cotes de Provence.

Direct Pressing – directly pressing freshly harvested black grapes. A measure of colouring compounds are extracted from the skins during this process, and the winemaker uses caution to not extract too much tannin. Rosés made this way include Cotes de Provence and Languedoc.

Blending – Quite rarely seen, and is forbidden by law in France, except for Champagne. Some Rosés are made by blending a small portion of red wine with a white wine.  Rosés made this way include Rosé Champagne and some new world Rosés.

In general, the longer the period of skin contact, the darker and more tannic the wine. To make rosé, the juice is separated from the skins relatively quickly, resulting in the pale color. Colours range from pale copper to hot pink, depending on the length of skin contact as well as the grape variety. Regardless of production or grape or style or provenance, Rosés are wines meant to be enjoyed young. The following are BC wines I’ve tasted recently, newly released and ready to be enjoyed under sunny skies (or for Mother’s Day this weekend).


Clos du Soleil Rosé  2011
Similkameen Valley. $17.90. 12.2%
Cabernet Sauvignon

Could this be my new favourite BC wine I’ve tasted this year? It’s certainly among the top. 15 year old sustainably farmed Cab Sauv vines sourced from Osoyoos have yielded a scant 390 cases of this herbal, stony, savoury beaut. Dry, with sweet raspberry, bright acid and lingering mineral notes.

JoieFarm Rosé 2011
Naramata. $20.90. 12.4%
Gamay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Gris

It’s not spring in my books until I’ve tasted JoieFarm Rosé. Every year the blend shifts, speaking to the season and soils (grapes are harvested from Kelowna, Skaha Bluff, Summerland and Naramata Bench). This year is a pleasant touch off-dry, with desert sage, wild strawberries and structured cherries.

Fort Berens Estate Winery Rosé  2011
Lillooet. $17.99. 12.5%
Pinot Noir

You read that right – Lillooet. And these aren’t trucked in grapes either – these are estate grown, specifically selected and purposefully picked for this wine. Bright pink (48 hours skin contact) and bone dry, with a saturated saline nose, jammy strawberry, candied cherry and herbal-cherry finish.

Okanagan Crush Pad Rosé  NV
Summerland. $52 for 3 L box.  $13.7%

The sustainably farmed Secrest Vineyard in Oliver has graced us with this lively dry Rosé with clean and pure notes of orange, savoury cherry and river rock. Serious, sans staidness. PLUS the packaging is perfect for a picnic.

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Oldfield Series 2Bench Rosé  2011
Oliver. $22.99. 12.9%
Cabernet Franc

A fairly new wine to a very established portfolio, this is the 3rd vintage of Tinhorn’s Oldfield Series Rosé. And just as previous years, it is made in limited quantities. 100% Cab Franc from the famed Black Sage Bench, this dry wine shows its parentage with black pepper, alluring bramble and savoury strawberry notes.

De Vine Vineyards Rosé  2011
Saanich Peninsula. $16. 11.2%
Pinot Noir

Only 35 cases, so move quickly because it will. This estate grown Pinot Noir exhibits wild strawberry and spice, earth and summer herbs. Lovely mouthfeel and fresh finish – and spectacular value here.

Quails’ Gate Winery Rosé  2011
Kelowna. $14.99. 13%
Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris

A long-time BC go-to favourite, this classic Rosé overdelivers year after year. Technically dry, but bursting with sweet strawberries, redcurrants, and watermelon.

Tantalus Rosé 2011
Kelowna. $21.99. 13.2%
Pinot Meunier.

I kind of have a geek crush on this wine. I mean – single vineyard sustainably farmed Pinot Meunier vines from 1985? Be still my heart! Bone dry and intense, with layers of wild raspberry, bright rhubarb and stony minerality and a lingering dried cherry finish.

8th Generation Vineyard Confidence 2011
Summerland. $22.50. 12.5%
Dunkelfelder, Pinot Gris, Syrah

I adore this mid-sweet frizzante wine on the inside and out. Pink grapefruit, candied strawberries, lively bubbles and as refreshing (and fun!) as a summer run through a sprinkler.

Misison Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards Rosé  2011
Kelowna. $14.99. 12%
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

Off-dry and patio-friendly, this is another local favourite that appears as soon as the sunshine does. Sweet strawberry jam, candied cherries and zingy finish, this juicy blend is from vineyards in Oliver, Osoyoos and Naramata.

Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

Comments are closed.