Now that the weather's turned warm, at least in Southern California, what to drink during the lazy days of summer has been on everyone's mind. Crispy whites? Refreshing, fruit-foward reds with a little bit of chill on them? Really, nothing captures the joy of a warm evening,like sitting and listening to the cicadas and sipping on a lean, minerally rosé.
The 2010 Ojai Vineyard California Rosé ($14.99) was the surprise hit of last week's staff tasting in Hollywood because the wine is really good and it's priced at a level that can compete with our go-to rosés from the South of France. The wine is such a pale salmon color it seems irridescent, changing from rose to clear and back again in the glass. Based on Syrah, small amounts of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier were added to heighten aromatics, and the nose is a beautiful, with a floral perfume balanced by scents of citrus, minerals and watermelon rind. Steve Greer says, "the finish was my favorite part, with a spicy orange peel accent." This isn't your over-the-top California pink wine, nor is it something we expected from Ojai. It's an entirely new style for the winery and a smashing success. It's lower in alcohol than most California rosés, with the vibrant acidity that will keep it at our tables until inventory runs out. Stock up!