A Day of Rosé
Last Saturday, thirty-two people chose to spend a very warm Saturday trompsing around the vineyards and exploring the world of Rosé. It was a joint Madroña/Rucksack Cellars event (Progressing in Provence) celebrating the need for these light and vibrant wines during the warm summer months.
To be honest, we hadn’t planned on having such heat (near 95º) that day, but there are few wines that could have handled the challenge!
The concept was to do a walking tour of the vineyards at Rucksack Cellars while tasting different Rosés and different pairings. As a first-time event, you never know if the challenges will out-weigh the opportunities. In other words, would overcoming the heat and logistics be balanced out by enjoyment, relaxation and education?
From all the responses of attendees and the winery family, it was a resounding success.
We all started at the Rucksack Cellars outdoor tasting area, overlooking the vineyards. A quick speech highlighting the intentions of the day, and we all started the experience. The first pairing was the 2016 Rucksack Cellars Barbera Rosé paired with Mexican Street Corn.
This incredible pairing highlights the sweet white corn with a rich creamy sauce and just a hint of heat. Not only is this perfect for a warm summer day, but the Barbera Rosé tamed the heat while brightening its own high-tone fruit. A few questions about vineyards and Rosé styles, and we were off to our next station.
Split into two 15-person groups, we staggered the tours of the vineyards (through the Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc blocks) while Paul explained that being organic often means having more cover crop (weeds) under the vines (with lots of hand-waving).
The second station took Madroña’s 2016 Grenache Rosé (a bright, tart and refreshing wine) and paired it with three cheeses. Cheese is often a more difficult pairing than people expect, but each cheese highlighted a different experience and expression (in both the wine and the cheese). The first cheese, Délice de Bourgogne, tended to richen the wine and smooth out its finish. The second cheese, Drunken Goat, was a pairing that allowed both the cheese and the Grenache Rosé to hold their own characters side by side. And the third cheese was a wonderful pairing. Midnight Moon (the cheese) integrated beautifully into the wine, intensifying the strawberry aspects of the Grenache while rounding out the finish slightly.
This station under the trees of the Rucksack cottage gave everyone a sense of what it’s like to live near the vineyards surrounded by majestic pine and cedar trees.
The final station featured Ryan’s 2015 Madroña Zinfandel Rosé (we had held back 7 cases of this wine in the library). With just a hint of age, this vibrant Zinfandel Rosé has mellowed into a positively beautiful wine. We often don’t think to age Rosés, but with all their acidity, they can be spectacular! And it was!
Now it was time to relax. Let’s set the scene. At Rucksack Cellars near our house, we have 5 old large walnut trees draping over a green lawn. With picnic tables spread around, we all had our boxed lunches of Caprese salad sandwiches, fruit and more with a glass of whatever wine pleased us from the day. And we relaxed, talked, laughed and enjoyed the coolness of the afternoon amongst Maggie’s fresh cut lavender and refreshing wines!
A bit of Provence in Placerville (or Camino), does it get any better than this? Now you’ll have to wait until next year.