June 1, 2019
The Rosé Soiree is hands-down, one of the best wine events in the Finger Lakes each year. The festival is held on Linden Street in Geneva, with the entire street shut down to traffic. Tents with tables underneath serve as the tasting venue. If you are quick to reserve tickets, you can also nab a reserved table in the street. This comes with the privilege to bring in outside foods. I’m not going to lie, I’m severely jealous of those who are on top of their game enough to grab these reserved tables. It is the best way to enjoy this event. Despite no reserved table, my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed the event! Even though the event was tarnished with a bit of rain towards the end of the evening, there was still a solid two hours of rosé drinking merriness!
As some of you may know, I’m a bit of a Rosé fanatic. There is just something about the “in between-ness” that I love about rosé. Crisp, but with some body to the wine. Fruity, but with minerality and depth as well. So in addition to the good vibes of this event, this event serves as one of the best spots to taste FLX rosé! In honor of this, I’ve given a few awards out to some of the best I tasted that evening.
BEST OVERALL ROSÈ OF THE EVENING
2018 Rosé d’Cabernet Franc; McGregor Vineyards (Keuka Lake)
As some of my good friends can attest, I LOVE cherry anything. Cherry pie, cherry popsickles, cherry coke, etc. This wine had great citrus on the nose but also had aromas of sour cherries. I was excited to try it. The first sip brought a decadent taste of cherry pie filling with a crisp finish. I was in love! Cherries and crispness- what could be better?
RUNNER UP: BEST OVERALL ROSÈ OF THE EVENING
2018 Dry Rosé; Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars (Seneca Lake)
I have to admit, whenever a winery can turn me on to a 100% Cabernet Franc rosé, I’m impressed. I almost always prefer a Pinot Noir rosé, which is why I was shocked my two favorites of the evening were both Cabernet Franc rosés. This wine had great aromatics with floral and herbal scents that jumped right out of the glass. Upon sipping the wine, I was surprised by the heavy mouthfeel. It was certainly a riper, and more austere styled wine with a bit less crispness. Nonetheless, the wine was excellent. The individuals at the table mentioned that 2018 fruit came in a bit early with high acidity, so they decided to balance the wine with a bit of residual sugar. Whatever winemaking magic they performed on this wine, I was impressed. It was well balanced, and was a favorite of not only mine, but also of most of the group of people I went to the event with.
PS: Remember that T23 Cabernet Franc from Lamoreaux Landing I raved about last month? It has received 91 points from Wine Enthusiast! https://flxfinest.blog/2019/05/21/2017-lamoreaux-landing-t23-cabernet-franc-unoaked/
MOST UNIQUE ROSÈ (THREE WAY TIE)
2018 DuChaunac Dry Rosé; Boundary Breaks (Seneca Lake)
Haven’t heard of DuChaunac either? DuChaunac is a French American hybrid wine. I have been so impressed recently with what FLX producers are doing with hybrid varietals. Although hybrids are well known for their winter hardiness, they haven’t always been known for high quality wines. I’m SO glad that there are producers out there changing my mind. This wine saw 12 hours on the skin, and the people at the tent mentioned that the grape looks almost black while on the vine. It is a very acidic grape, and although the wine smelled sweet, there was very little residual sugar. This wine was a pleasant surprise. With aromas of violets and strawberries, the taste was equally pleasant. It was very juicy, and would pair well with some Macaroni and Cheese according to our friends at Boundary Breaks!
2016 Dry Rosé; Nine Four Wines (Seneca Lake)
Rougeon. I had never even heard of this varietal before! I had to get the scoop from Josh Carlsen and Melissa Thompson. Melissa is the General Manager of the famed Stonecat Restaurant in Hector, NY and Josh is the sommelier there. In their “free time,” the two make wine. I laugh because these two are over here working at an amazing acclaimed restaurant, making their own wine, and by the way, Melissa had a four month old baby strapped to her during this event! I bow down… but I digress… Rougeon is a varietal that was planted heavily in the 60s for Taylor Wines. It is a hybrid varietal known for its vivid red hue. The story behind this wine was that Phil Arras (head winemaker of Nine Four but also of Damiani), approached Josh and Melissa as a buyer backed down from 3 tons of Rougeon. Josh, Phil and Melissa decided to pick it up and make an incredibly unique sparkling rosé from it. It is very dark colored with fine bubbles and is done in more of a Lambrusca style. There is zero skin contact for this rose. Native yeast fermentation was used. Pick up a bottle of this quickly before it is gone! You can find it at FLX Provisions which is a small wine shop that is connected to the famed FLX Table Restaurant. It is beautifully done in the traditional style, and is certainly a conversational piece. Oh and P.S.- these Rougeon vines were bulldozed after this wine was made, so the wine is truly one of a kind!
2018 Teinturier Dry Rosé; Standing Stone Vineyards (Seneca Lake)
Saperavi is another one of those varieties that you have likely never heard of. It is a varietal that is about 10,000 years old and originated from the country of Georgia. It is known for its very dark color and thick tannic wines. Teinturier means “to dye, paint, or give color”; an apt name for this deep purple wine. At first sniff, I might mistake this wine for a true red. Scents of lavender, clove and anise emanated from my glass. However, when I tasted the rosé, it was indeed a true rosé. Perhaps with a bigger mouthfeel, but the fruit forwardness and medium body of the wine made this an excellent rosé. The only other FLX vineyard that I know of that does a Saperavi is McGregor Vineyards with their Black Russian Red. Another can’t miss wine!
HONORABLE MENTION WINES
Honestly, with each passing year the rosés get better and better. Although I picked out a few above that were my favorites, and ones that certainly stood out as being fairly unique, there were many wines that were EXCELLENT that deserve praise as well. I have come to know many of these as my “utility players” of FLX wine producers, as they make consistently great wines and I can drink any varietal from these wineries and be satisfied.
2018 Rosé of Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon; Billsboro (Seneca Lake)
Readers, I don’t know how many times I can write about Billsboro without you visiting, but please go tomorrow. I am obsessed with Vinny’s rendition of a Syrah- Cabernet blend. I first tried this years ago at Billsboro with a red, and now I’ve tried it in the rosé version. Scents of cloves and earth, this wine also had an excellent minerality. Bottom line- you won’t be disappointed. A great rosé with some fun spice and minerality on the finish, I highly recommend it.
2018 Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé; Atwater (Seneca Lake)
Another one of Vinny’s masterpieces, this sparkling was truly delightful. Pinot Noir is so perfectly suited to be a sparkling and a rosé, that there is no better style of wine for this varietal. I found this wine to be very aromatic for a sparkling, with both floral and herbal notes on the nose. When I sipped the wine, I found it to be fruit forward like a traditional rosé, but is balanced by fine bubbles.
2018 Dry Rosé of Cabernet Franc; Hosmer (Cayuga Lake)
What a fun wine! My group was instantly drawn to it because of the bright pink color. Julie Hoyle, one of the few female winemakers in the Finger Lakes, crafted this fun and delicious wine. Cold soaked for 48 hours, the wine had a wonderful fruit/spice combination. I smelled aromas of black cherry, herbs and rhubarb. On the palette, the wine was super juicy and tasted exactly like a ripe strawberry.
2017 Dry Rosé of Cabernet Franc; Kelby James Russell (Seneca Lake)
Another impressive Cabernet Franc rose! I loved this wine for its citrus and minerality. With notes of lime zest offset by fruity strawberries, this wine was excellent. Kelby James Russell is also the winemaker for Red Newt, but does some experimentation with his own label. He only makes rosé, Cabernet Franc and Riesling. This wine was 3 day cold soaked before pressed and spent 3-4 months on the lees. I was impressed with the mouthfeel on this wine, as it had a bigger mouthfeel than what I was expecting. Shameless plug: check out my friend from https://justwineaboutit.com/ for another rad wine blog! He gave me an excellent guided tasting for this wine.
2018 Dry Rosé; Vineyard View Winery (Keuka Lake)
Last but not least, one of my favorite tasting experiences of the evening. Matt Nearpass is the winemaker for this rose and he has such a cool story. Initially a computer science engineer, Matt caught the wine bug and graduated from the FLCC Enology program, recently. Oh, and in his spare time, he also runs Cork 49 (https://cork49.com) ; a superb wine bar located in the heart of Victor, NY. This guy has skill. His Cabernet Franc rosé was earthy, but also had floral and fruit aromas to it as well. The wine was a dark pink as the result of a 16 hour cold soak. I really enjoyed this wine. It kind of felt like a Gewurztraminer crossed with a Cabernet Franc rosé, as the floral notes to the wine were strong, but was balanced by a spice and earthiness. Do yourself a favor and go visit Cork 49. Yes they are still open, you just have to go around to the SIDE of the building in order to enter the wine bar area. I have been in there and it is super quaint, and the wine selection is one of the best in the area (on par with the wine list of Microclimate). AND drink his rosé. You won’t regret it!
Were you at the Rosé Soiree this year? What was your favorite? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!