Let me begin by stating I am not a rosé wine fan. I don’t possess a single bottle in the cellar. Now thinking back I believe it has to do with my some of my first experiences with Rosé. It was sweet, sweet and only sweet. It had no wine appeal whatsoever!
Then against my protestations, Rhonda Wood almost a year ago, literally arm wrestled me to have a taste of her Grenache rosé called the Pink Pearl. The first sip seem like another rosé, but this was after tasting a few other wines. About the third or fourth taste, I was taken back tasting Grenache wine qualities. I started wondering why I had been so pre-set against rosé wines as this wine had no sweetness and actually had wine characteristics.
Fast forward to last week, Rhonda sent me a bottle of her 2020 “The Pink Pearl”. Again, I lamented having to taste and perhaps write a good word or two about the wine. So this last Saturday with the weather being a balmy 64 degrees with bright sunshine, we sat outside on the patio with another couple. She is well known winemaker in Lodi. We tried to dice and slice and poke holes in rosés on the whole, but we failed miserably with this one.
First on the eyes, the first misconception is that it is not pink! But that takes one back to why it is called The Pink Pearl. The wine is dedicated to several of Rhonda’s girlfriends to use to frequent a restaurant in Fremont called Pearls Café (locally known). Their regular meetings there sharing their life stories, supporting each other and often with loud laughter earned them the nickname “The Pink Pearl Gang”. Perhaps not very intimidating for a gang, nevertheless Rhonda dedicated this wine to their friendship.
So while not being able to state the color was incorrect, let me begin that the color was extremely eye catching with its uniqueness. It is somewhere between salmon and copper color with light viscosity. On the nose, a strong floral characteristic came forth but we could not initially determine a specific flower. Rhonda in her description calls it a “delicate rose”. In the mouth is where this wine shone brightly with spices and stone fruit. What stood out was the dryness of the wine, with no sweetness, and tastes of a refined new world Grenache. The finish revealed a spiced apple flavor, minerality and then a modicum of sweetness.
The acidity was almost not present, but an underlying structure was apparent! Rhonda purposed to pick the grapes in the cool night, then go directly to a gentle press with whole clusters. The wine is allowed to ferment slowly in a cool temperature in stainless steel tanks.
The wine sells out each year so for the 2020 they doubled the production to 460 cases. It will be released Tuesday, February 9th.
Paired with aged cheeses, both Kerry Gold and Tillamook Habanero pepper, crackers, spiced walnuts, grapes and two different sliced apples, I threw up the white flag of surrender. I liked the wine. There I said it and am now a self-admitted rosé wine drinker. The next day during the non-super Super Bowl, with another couple, they brought a rosé wine made from Syrah grapes. I also enjoyed that.
So enough of my journey into the world of rosé wine. I suspect this summer on a warm afternoon and evening, rather than opening up a cool Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, I may in fact open a cool “Pink Pearl”. Nice job Rhonda Wood converting a stubborn committed hearty red wine drinker to your rosé!