I remember last summer when we first got a rosé in from Mount Eden (one of the most revered California producers of cabernet, pinot noir, and chardonnay): it was the darkest and fleshiest rosé I had ever seen, made entirely from cab franc, and it was so powerful you could almost pair it with a steak. I think our Redwood City staff drank about 60% of the available inventory. The wine was so different, so unique, that we couldn't get enough of it. When this year's rosé showed up last week—a lighter, grenache-based wine—we all gathered with glee in the tasting bar. It was a totally different animal: round and robust, with juicier red berry fruit and accents of spice on the finish. I asked our domestic buyer Bryan Brick about the change, and he thought Jeffrey Patterson—the winemaker for Mt. Eden—was probably toying with a few different varietals, looking to create a full-time expression from the same grape. Last year was cabernet franc; this year grenache.
I cracked a bottle yesterday afternoon, friend up some Padrón peppers, and sat out on the patio with my wife to enjoy the warm summer breeze. The Mount Eden rosé holds up beautifully to savory and spicy cuisine. When I learned that the cab franc rosé was a one-off, I have to admit I was a bit bummed out. But now after having dusted a bottle of the new grenache version, it's all I can think about drinking. It's another seasonal offering from one of our nearest local wineries, and it's absolutely delicious.
2014 Mount Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Grenache Rosé $17.99 - A richer mouthfeel along with accents of red berry, peppery spice make up the palate; with clean, vibrant acidity to balance out the weight. The finish is fresh while simultaneously supple. It's a more decadent rosé experience, yet one based purely on texture rather than sweetness or fruitiness. Another intriguing and wholly-satisfying rosé experience from Mount Eden.