California: Oakville (Napa)
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine is the perfect summertime Rose, and the best we have sampled all year, handily earning it this special alert.
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Mission Codename: Worth the wait
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Swanson Vineyards and secure the latest vintage of a Wine Spies’ Operative favorite, their stunning 2011 Rosato.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Swanson Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2011 Salon Rosato
Winemaker: Chris Phelps
The Wine Spies are always on the hunt for the best wines that we can find. When it comes to Rosé , we are exceedingly difficult to please. Today’s wine comes to us from a Wine Spies favorite, Swanson Vineyards, whose delicious Rosato Rosé offers freshness and beautiful balance – making it an exciting summertime sipper.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful dark pink, with dark salmon-colored edges that glint when they catch the light. After swirling, tall, thick legs form high up on the glass wall, before sauntering slowly downward.
Smell – Sweet and savory and lush, with strawberry, raspberry and watermelon rind, up front. As the wine warms, even slightly, additional notes are released, including dried pink flower petals, white peach and soft mineral notes.
Feel – Soft on entry, then the wine takes on a medium bodied, crisp and lively feel. The wine gradually takes on a softly dry feel, with a slight slate minerality. The soft dryness spreads from the center of the palate, out to the lips and cheeks.
Taste – Bright and focused, with young strawberry, underripe raspberry, white peach and red flower petals providing the predominant notes. Allow the wine to warm and additional subtle flavors are released, including Rainier cherry, soft white spice, bramble, white pear and slate.
Finish – Ultra clean and very refreshing, this wine starts with sweet and tart flavors that fade very slowly. As fruit dwindles, faint white spice and a crisp minerality are left behind.
Conclusion – We have now had the great fortune to sample several of the last vintages of today’s extraordinary wine. Today’s brilliant 2011 Swanson Rosato is a delicious, balanced, flavorful wine that is the best Swanson Roasto that we have ever tasted. If you love a delicious, perfect for summertime Rose that has plenty of character, then we really encourage you to sample today’s very special wine. Sip it all on its own, or enjoy with a pepperoni pizza, hard cheeses or a wide variety of foods. This wine is as flexible as it is delicious. Don’t miss out!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Swanson Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Arguably our best Rosato in recent memory, the 2011 Swanson Rosato of Sangiovese has a bright, pink salmon color. Very fruity – strawberry, raspberry and watermelon on the nose, with an ethereal rose petal note. The acidity is nicely attuned to the fruity/floral aspects of the flavors. Dry on the palate, and surprisingly full-bodied. Bright bing cherry on the finish. Our Rosato works well as an aperitif, and pairs very nicely with lighter fowl, especially turkey, chicken and Cornish game hen.
The season began with heavy March rains and a cool spring, followed by enough warm weather in May to ensure a good fruit set. July and August were cool, temperatures did not exceed 100 degrees. The season remained quite cool in September resulting in a relatively late harvest at full flavor development on September 28th. We hand-harvested quickly in the cool early morning hours, and then cold-pressed the fruit immediately upon arrival at the winery.
We sourced the Sangiovese component for this dry rosé from the Antica Vineyard, farmed by the Antinori family, in the Atlas Peak appellation, where rocky, alluvial soils keep the vines small and the fruit concentrated in flavor. The Syrah was grown at La Herradura Vineyard in Conn Valley, near St. Helena, on a well-drained hillside with sandy-loam soils. The magic in the 2011 Rosato is due largely to the synergy between the fruit from these two diverse sources.