This month we are featuring two California winemakers that partner with local vineyards to produce site-specific, terroir-driven Rosé, Arnot-Roberts in Healdsburg and Malene Wines in San Luis Obispo. Both are great, prismatic examples of the Golden State’s plentiful shades of Pink.
Established in 2001, Arnot-Roberts has, in a relatively short amount of time, become an incredibly influential and iconic California winery. Owning none of their own parcels of land, they have instead located obscure and distinctive vineyards across the state and formed close, long term relationships with the owners to redefine the parameters of California wine. Their Rosé, made mostly from the Portuguese varietal Touriga Nacional, is an annual highlight and we are very excited to have it as our first 2020 vintage in the rosé club. It is also an allocated selection; we have very limited supply, so if you would like to buy more don’t hesitate! When these are gone, they’re gone until the next vintage is released.
Malene Wines follows a similar template. Founded in 2016 as a Rosé only label (it now makes a Grenache Noir as well), winemaker Fintan du Fresne carefully selects grapes from specific sites in the California Central Coast regions of Santa Barbara and Paso Robles to craft lovely Provencal style Rose, utilizing traditional techniques like whole cluster pressing and sur lees aging.
The PlumpJack Wine Buying Team
2020 Arnot-Roberts Rosé- $29 bottle/$313.20 case
About the Winemaker: Arnot-Roberts was founded in Healdsburg in 2001 by childhood friends Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts. The focus of Arnot-Roberts is to produce distinctive, site-driven wines that highlight the nature of the unique terroirs in which the grapes are grown. The journey to this end has led Duncan and Nathan to seek out vineyards throughout Northern California and now includes incredible sites in Napa Valley, Sonoma Coast, Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Rita Hills, Clearlake and Sierra Foothills. Single-vineyard wines are the core of the production as well as a few appellation bottlings that clearly speak of their individual upbringings.About the Winemaking: This Rosé comes from several different vineyard sites including Luchsinger, Barsotti, Witters and Watson. Arnot-Roberts began making their Rosé of Touriga Nacional in 2010, sourcing fruit from the Luchsinger vineyard located at 1400′ in the Clear Lake AVA. This rocky, volcanic site enjoys a warm growing season suitable to Touriga Nacional. Touriga is a late-ripening grape that needs some heat to mature, and the Luchsinger site is a perfect match for this hearty variety. Since then, they have added grapes from similarly situated
high altitude vineyard sites in the Sierras.
The winemaking begins with light foot treading of fruit before being transferred to bladder press (30 min of pre-press skin-contact). Fermented with native yeast for primary and secondary fermentation, no blocking of malolactic fermentation.
Tasting Notes: Very light, delicate and dry, the 2020 Rosé leads with a brine-kissed nose of citrus, red berry fruit and a faint background aroma of ginger. The palate is soft and easy, as the saline theme continues underscored by tangerine and grapefruit notes ripening to a bright finish. It is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Gamay, Cab Franc and Grenache.
Suggested Food Pairing: Oysters on the half shell, Roasted chickpeas with basil and cilantro, Caprese salad.
2019 Malene Rose- $17 btl/ $183.60 case
About the Winemaker: As the son of prominent New Zealand wine journalist Karl du Fresne, Fin grew up with wine integrated into his life. Originally from the southern end of New Zealand’s North Island, upon completion of his viticulture and enology degree, Fin worked as a viticulturist at Martinborough Vineyards, one of New Zealand’s pioneering Pinot Noir producers. During his stint there, Fin spent four months in the U.S. working the 2001 harvest at Calera Wine Company in California’s Central Coast with legendary Pinot Noir winemaker Josh Jensen and his assistant Terry Culton. Jensen’s dedication to Burgundian varietals and his deep knowledge of soil types shaped Fin’s love for the Central Coast and his purist ideals about winemaking. Since 2006, Fin has also been the winemaker at Chamisal Vineyards, where he makes a store favorite Chardonnay.
About The Winemaking: Picked in the cool of the night, grapes typically arrive at the winery in the morning, where they are gently fed into a state-of-the-art inert gas press that blankets the grapes with nitrogen during the press cycle so there is no exposure to air. The resulting juice is settled to reduce solids, then racked to fermentation vessels for a long cool fermentation. The juice and wine is carefully protected at every stage with inert gas to prevent any oxidation and preserve the delicate color, flavor and aroma. This wine does not see any malolactic fermentation as we want to preserve high natural acidity. 48% Grenache, 23% Mourvedre, 12% Rolle, and 17% Cinsault.
Tasting Notes: The 2019 Malene Rose is incredibly expressive on the nose, leaping from the glass with intense notes of peach, white grapefruit, and peony. On the palate, the wine is bright and lively with juicy notes of strawberry and nectarine that lead to a crisp and refreshing finish that evokes an ocean breeze.
Suggested Food Pairing: Thai style basil Shrimp, Asparagus Risotto with Lemon, Mushroom Quiche, Bouillabaisse.