This month, as we celebrate Earth Day, we are spotlighting rosés that are organic, biodynamic and sustainable: The Monarch Challenge Rosé from Raen Winery in Sonoma, and Villa des Anges Old Vines Rosé from Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France.
‘The Monarch Challenge’ is a unique partnership between Raen and a group of wine world organizations and individuals wherein Raen donates 100% of the profits from a Rosé bottling of their Pinot Noir to efforts to raise awareness regarding the importance of sustainable and environmentally responsible farming methods. The project takes its name from the Monarch butterfly, whose population has declined by 90% in the last 45 years and is currently under threat of extinction, due to the widespread use of a chemical herbicide called Roundup. The goal is to align the farming community with the best options available to them that are effective and allow the wine region to be recognized not only for its world-class wines but also for its conscious alignment with nature and the surrounding community. You can learn more here about the project here: https://www.themonarchchallenge.org/thecause.
The Villa Des Anges Old Vines Rosé is crafted by the amazingly prolific Jeff Carrel at the Espitalet des Anges domaine in the village of Capestang in Languedoc-Roussillon. Situated on the ruins of an ancient Roman villa, the domaine is owned by Jaqueline Menard de Ginestous, who married-into and is herself from a prominent Languedocienne winegrowing family. It consists of approximately 173 acres situated in clay/limestone and ancient alluvial terroirs to the northwest of Beziers. As with all of Carrel’s many endeavors, the aim is to create a wine with a strong identity and sense of environmental values, sustainably produced, with technical precision and personality, all the way from the vines to the bottle.
Lean Green and Think Pink!
The PlumpJack Buying Team
Location: Sonoma Coast, California
Winemakers: Melanie McIntyre & Carlo & Dante Mondavi
Price: $29 bottle/$313.20 case
About the Winemaker: Scions of the most storied name in California wine history, Carlo and Dante Mondavi grew up making wine under the tutelage of their legendary grandfather Robert, and winegrower dad, Tim. After the Mondavi family sold their wine business in 2004, Carlo and Dante founded Raen to make site specific Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the Sonoma Coast. New Zealander Melanie McIntyre joined them as assistant winemaker, cellar master & enologist in 2017.
About the Winemaking: 100% Pinot Noir from free-run juice captured at sorting. Natively fermented in neutral French oak barrels. Full malolactic fermentation. Made using organic, biodynamic and regenerative farming practices.
Tasting Notes: The Monarch Challenge Rose is floral with notes of wild strawberry, just ripe nectarine, crushed wet rock and elderflower. This gives way to citrus zest and vine ripened fresh raspberries. On the palate the wine is fresh and vibrant with continued flavors of red berries, stone fruit and lime blossom. The finish is bright with lingering minerality, fruit and flower notes that is all held together with a captivating fine lined acidity.
Suggested Food Pairing:
Prosciutto and Melon
Bacon wrapped dates
Location: Languedoc-Rousillon, France
Winemaker: Jeff Carrel
Price: $11 bottle/$118.80 case
About the Winemaker: Jeff Carrel was born in 1969 in Paris and lived in the neighborhood of La Goutte d’Or for 22 years where he studied chemistry. In 1991 he decided to change his life and started to study oenology in Montpellier in the south of France. Jeff graduated in 1994 with a National Diploma in oenology. He then toured France, vinifying in the Loire at Martignié Briant at the heart of Layon, then in Alsace for Wolfberger on their site Dambach, and in Languedoc at the laboratory of oenology Council. At the end of 1996, he became a technical director of a languedocienne subsidiary of a trading company of Bordeaux, Promocom. During this time, he vinified for the Mondavi range Vichon, for the Stimson Lane range Color Volant, les Domaines, La Noble, Pomarèdes and Puydeval. Today Jeff Carrel vinifies and advises mainly in the Languedoc Roussillon, but also in Priorat, in Bordeaux, Beaujolais and in Bourgogne.
About the Winemaking: Sourced from old, Guyot-trained vines averaging 40+ years in age. Grapes harvested at optimal maturity. Directly pressed and filtered cold. Fermentation occurs at 25°C in temperature-controlled vats. 78% malolactic fermentation. On lees for 2 months. 100% Cinsault.
Tasting Notes: Light salmon color. Fruity, with hints of melon, peaches, strawberries and spring flowers. A simple wine and easy to drink, with fresh sharp notes of cherries and strawberries for a light, soft and simple touch on the palate.Suggested Food Pairing:
Oysters with raspberry mignonette
Chips and dip
No food necessary!