I’m officially declaring 2010 the year of the rosé. Yes, I know that many wineries have been producing stellar rosés for years, but I felt that this year was the tipping point where the public started to get behind the pink drink again. It was the year when wineries paid much more attention to the making of it and the quality of the wine rose (no pun intended) to a higher elevation. While only one rosé officially made the list, it was a subconscious collaboration that led to the announcement.
And now I give you, the top 10 wines of 2010:
#10 Acacia 2009 Viognier
You can buy this wine at acaciavineyards.com
A delectable white wine that will get your taste buds humming. The Viognier is classic with a bit of white peach and apricot along with a touch of sweet orange. You also might find a hint of honeysuckle on the nose. Yum.
#9 Montemaggiore 2009 3divas white wine blend
You can buy this wine at montemaggiore.com
(A blend of Viogner, Marsanne & Roussane)
This wine begs for the spotlight (it’s a Diva, after all). The nose of the wine displays more of the Viogner with a bit of honey, butterscotch and a hint of pear. The mid-palate brings in characteristics of the other two grapes—Marsanne & Roussane, with the wine displaying characteristics of melon and orange along with a bit of light spice.
#8 Aver Family Vineyards 2007 Blessings (Petite Sirah)
You can buy this wine at averfamilyvineyards.com
Aver Family Vineyards is turning it up to 11 when it comes to Petite Sirah. This wine is dark and inky and showcases black cherries with a wet leather component. Petite Sirah fans: this wine is for you.
#7 Bedrock 2009 “Ode to Lulu” Rosé (Mourvedre)
You can buy this wine at bedrockwineco.com
Morgan Twain-Peterson is one of the mavericks leading the charge to reshape the rosé world. His rosé, made from 120 year old Mourvedre grapes, is stunningly gorgeous. Bright red berries dance along your mid-palate and then surprisingly, a bit of luxe creaminess sneaks in. It’s bright minerality will leave a lasting finish.
#6 Chelan Ridge Chardonnay
To order: Give Chelan Ridge a call at (509) 687-4455. The website is on its way.
The wine showcased ripe granny smith apples along with honeysuckle and a bit of vanilla. The honeysuckle was also present in the bouquet of the Chardonnay. You can also find a bit of apricot upfront. Hat’s off to this brand new winery for hitting it out of the park on their initial release.
#5 Kokomo Syrah
You can buy this wine at kokomowines.com
Wow. You’re in for a spectacle when you uncork this wine. It’s a Rhone-style wine all of the way—with hints of white pepper, dark berries along with a bit of currant. Kokomo raised the bar on what a Syrah can be.
#4 2008 “A Tribute to Grace” (Grenache)
Price: Retail $35 to $40
You can find this wine at local merchants in Sonoma County along with San Francisco and San Diego. Or e-mail the winemaker directly at email@example.com
Watch out for winemaker, Angela Osborne. The subtle power of her Grenache is stunning. It’s reserved, balanced and simply beautiful. To top it off (no pun intended), all of the 2008 vintage were hand bottled, all 2000+ plus of them. The Grenache has a particular softness, a delicateness that is rarely seen in the wine world.
#3 Bedrock Wine Co. 2008 Heirloom Red Wine (Zinfandel)
This wine has more varietals in it than most wine 101 books out there on the market. It’s mostly comprised of Zinfandel (40%), followed by Carignane. As Steven Tanzer puts it, this wine has “seductive aromas”, and I must agree. Dark fruit notes mixed with a hint of spice make it exceptionally seductive.
#2 LaFollette Winery 2008 Chardonnay
This wine is dark rich golden yellow by traditional Chardonnay standards. A bountiful mix of butterscotch, spiced pear and a hint of lemon can be found in the wine. It’s a full-bodied Chardonnay. Period. You might need to sit down or at least catch your breath after your first glass, as this is a serious Chardonnay. Winemaker Greg LaFollette is a master winemaker and he once again showcases the potential in a Chardonnay grape.
#1 Just Joshin 2007 Sierra Foothills Tempranillo (81% Tempranillo, 19% Grenache)
You can buy this wine at steinfamilywines.com
Ahh the tempranillo grape. Quiet, subdued ,yet under the right control, it can be a beautiful spectacle to behold. Stein Family Wine’s Tempranillo showcases a balance of blueberries & brighter red berries combined with with a mocha aspect, and topped off with a dusting of terrior. A good amount of tannins make it perfect to pair with food. Yet the softer nature of this wine (in part due to the Tempranillo itself) makes an equally good sipping wine. Winemaker Josh Stein hit every note perfectly in crafting this wine.
A relatively quiet grape from a small producer who deserves a large amount of credit. And the icing on the cake? It’s only $15! This wine is near if not perfect on multiple levels.
This wine embodies the mission of Beyond Napa Valley: To discover new wines and wineries, beyond Napa Valley.
Cheers to 2011 and more wine finds,
Haydn S. Adams
Haydn Adams is the author of the book, Wineries Beyond Napa Valley: Dry Creek and Alexander Valley, an insider’s tasting guide to the hidden gems region. He also contributes to the Beyond Napa Valley Wine Blog, writes for vinvillage.com, and can be found roaming the hills of Sonoma County looking for the next hidden gems. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. A big thank you to writer / editor Robin Barr Sussman for her help on this list.