Word came through the twitter machine that Paul Gregutt was assembling a taskforce to face off against arch-villain White Zinfandel. Summoned to the waterfront was a taskforce comprised of Washington Wine Heroes the likes of which California has never seen. It was Justice League of America meets X-men meets Voltron, which means it was pretty serious, and very hero-ish.
We assembled on our floating headquarters, the Randall PR Boat of Wine Justice & Ass Kicking. Paul had called forth some of Washington Wines most powerful blogosphere types: Seattle Wine Gal, the Wine Social Media Maven who could assemble an army of followers with a wave of her iPhone; Wine Peeps, who was a fast writer; Shona425 has the power of another area code, what? Write for Wine could write for wine; Washington Wine Report had the ability to unleash his encyclopedic knowledge of Washington wine, terroir, fruit traits, weather, soil composition, oak programs, etc. rendering listeners at a loss to understand how this man could possibly hold down any other job, or even have time to dress himself. Washington Wine & Beer had the ability to provide beer, a power that should never be underestimated. Yashar Wine Monger could blind evildoers by spitting wine at them at high rates of speed, after analyzing them for mouthfeel, balanced acidity and mid-palate character within seconds. I was clearly among a talented group, and my only power was to unleash funnyness, oh, and the handsomeness.
Paul took one look at us and shook his head. We clearly did not have the power to make White Zinfandel quake in fear. Aside from SeattleWineGal's ability to assemble large quantities of people, and Sean of Washington Wine Report's ability to astound people with an infinite amount of wine minutae, we were pretty much worthless. Our power to write stuff down did not intimidate. Paul hung his head, unsure of how to defend the world from swill and advocate for quality dry rosé out of Washington state. The situation looked grim. One of the emmissaries on the Boat of Wine Justice & Ass Kicking, Andrea, piped in, "Well, if the world is going to drown in icky pink White Zinfandel, we might as well open the incredible Washington rosé I assembled. You know, go out in style. Maybe even tweet about it."
And that, folks, is what we did. To counteract the global, or really just American prevalence of White Zinfandel, we popped bottle after bottle of high-quality, nuanced, layered and complex pink wine. Yes, I said pink. This was wine that was a crisp and refreshing summer option but had much of the complexity that makes people say things like, "I only drink red wine." While there are plenty of mindless sweet pink sippers out there, we didn't have any of these on the boat.
Trey Busch of Sleight of Hand Cellars joined us and brought his Magician's Assistant. This was his third Rosé, and he was out to make a light wine that could be enjoyed seasonally. Trey believes that Rosé is best between Memorial Day and Labor Day; that it's not meant to hang around long. Not sure what would happen if Trey lived somewhere without these two holidays, like anywhere but here, I suppose he just wouldn't drink or make Rosé in that case.
The Rosé of Sangiovese from Barnard Griffin is one of the most available Washington Rosés. It's very approachable yet still has a complexity in its off-dry profile. The Syncline Rosé from Columbia Valley was a Rhone style masterpiece. The wine was predominantly Cinsault and Grenache, as well as Mouvedre and Counoise. Chinook Wines Cab Franc-based rosé has been one of the long standing quality rosés in Washington for a long time. This wine has become a way for Washington wine drinkers to mark the changing of Spring into Summer.
Virginie Bourgue, the winemaker at Lullaby Winery from Walla Walla, also stowed away with us. Her Rosé was the most unique of the bunch, and the only 2008. She disagreed with Trey's idea that Rosé is meant to be consumed right away. She bottled this wine in the autumn and feels like it's just now ready. It may have something to do with the fact that she's from France and doesn't understand Memorial Day & Labor Day rules having to do with white slacks and shoes, and apparently for Trey, Rosé. Her 2008 Rosé was was made with Grenache and it came in a 500ml bottle. Being French, she uses the metric system or something so, smaller bottles. The wine was a beautiful light copper hue.
The Charles & Charles Rosé is a single vineyard effort from Wahluke Slope, done by Charles Smith of K Vintners and Charles Bieler who has made wine in Provence, France. The last two wines we drank were Rosés from Walla Walla favorites Waters Winery and Dusted Valley. These were two amazing examples of Washington Rosé that I'll talk more about in a separate post. The Waters Rosé was one of my favorites, and came from the Forgotten Hills vineyard, which I think ranks among the most distinct. It was 75% Syrah co-fermented with 25% Viognier. Amazing wine. The Dusted Valley Rosé from Columbia Valley, is a blend of Mouvedre, Counoise, Syrah and Viognier. The wine is a interesting and unique blend of Rosé that would be a great food pairing wine.
Washington Rosé was poured long into the evening as we all fought off the anxiety caused by the impending flood of White Zinfandel that would soon be upon us. We waited for the end that never came. As the sun came up, people were dancing in the streets with bottles of off-dry Washington Rosé. The evil that is White Zinfandel had been conquered, defeated by superior taste in summer wine and a superior effort from Northwest Winemakers to take back a wine that is an important part of the wine drinking tradition. We had prevailed and lived to drink another day.