Thursday, February 18, 2016

Beatrice's Blushes: Lorenza Rosé Vertical

For the past few years my wife and I have hosted a Valentine's Day party for our friends and neighbors as a way to avoid the hassle of getting a restaurant reservation but still enjoying adult company (almost all guests have children). We usually open a few bottles of wine and play a variety of board games. Cards Against Humanity always makes an appearance and is usually the highlight (or most awkward depending on your disposition) of the evening. This year we also played Pie Face, Five Second Rule and Quelf. The only child invited was Beatrice, and she actually invited herself when she refused to be left alone in her room. As long as she was being held, she was a perfect little angel. I thank her for being my good luck charm when it was my turn on Pie Face.

Lorenza 2013 Rosé
In addition to the trio of wines from Vall Llach, we opened a three-year of Lorenza Rosé. Lorenza is produced by the mother/daughter team of Melinda Kearney and Michèle Lorenza Ouellet from old-vine Rhône cultivars grown near the Sacramento Delta area. Their Bechthold Vineyard source was originally planted in 1847 and the likes of Bonny Doon, Turley Wine Cellars and Onesta Wines all use the grapes from Bechthold Vineyard in their wines. Comparing the 2011, 2012 and 2013 (all listed at 11.8% abv, 2011 purchased, but 2012 and 2013 samples $20) was quite interesting - not because they were wildly different, but because they were so similar.

All three shared a similar pale salmon color, with perhaps the 2011 (33% Grenache, 26% Carignan, 23% Mourvèdre, and 18% Cinsault) showing a slightly lighter hue of pink. They all provided aromas and flavors of citrus, strawberries, tart cherries and a little bit of spice. Where they most dramatically differed was in their texture and acidity. The 2011 was soft and smooth, almost with a creaminess to it. The 2012 (27% Cinsault, 25% Mourvèdre, 28% Grenache and 20% Carignan) had a bit more pep and brightness to it because the acid was more pronounced. Finally, the 2013 (40% Grenache, 37% Carignan, and 23% Cinsault) was the crispest of the group really showing off its acidic backbone. Don't get me wrong, all three were still fresh and mouthwatering - unique siblings if you will. Also keep in mind that these wines are several years removed from the current 2015 release. The most interesting thing revealed tasting these three wines is how the complex flavors produced by old vines and beautiful acidity resulting from harvesting fruit between 18° - 21° brix contributes to age-worthy pink wines. If you happen to live in CA, CO, IL, NY or TX do yourself a favor and look for Lorenza on your retailers shelf. It will make your spring picnics that much more enjoyable. It is a beautiful wine the minute you bring home a bottle or you can buy a case - if you can keep you hands off of them you'll get to see how high-quality rosé can evolve over a few years.


  1. I love the idea of creating a label solely dedicated to Rosé - especially with consideration given to sourcing from old, excellent vineyards in the Delta.

    Thanks for demonstrating that American pink stuff can not only survive, but develop, given a few years of age.

  2. I too like the focus on Rosé; I wish more wineries would focus on one style/cultivar and do it exceptionally well. I think most people write off Rosé (and most wine) as must drink now. I appreciate seeing how wine changes through time. It adds a more cerebral element to drinking wine!

  3. Curious as to where the Grenache and Mourvèdre are coming from in Lodi? Didn't think there was much, if any, old vines of either left out there.


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