California’s Pedroncelli rose is one of the best pinks from the 2019 vintage – balanced, fruity, and delicious
It’s not easy making quality rose out of the zinfandel grape, and not just because zinfandel tends to make a heavier wine. It’s also because well-made zinfandel roses don’t necessarily taste like the roses most consumers expect – light and fresh and crisp. Which is why the California Pedroncelli rose is worth writing about, for it offers zinfandel’s fruit and spice in a pleasing and enjoyable way.
The Pedroncelli rose ($12, sample, 13.7%) is always top-notch every vintage, but the 2019 is one of the best I have tasted from anywhere this rose season, and certainly and among the best the winery has made in many years. It isn’t especially heavy, and the spice – and even a little pepper – is pleasingly noticeable in the middle, after a burst of zinfandel-ish berry fruit. Plus, the wine finishes cleanly and doesn’t feel syrupy or overdone in the mouth.
Highly recommended and a candidate for the 2021 Hall of Fame. Drink this chilled on on its own, or enjoy it with almost any Fourth of July barbecue.
Father’s Day wine 2020: Four wines to make Dad proud
Pandemic got you down? Worried about more wine tariffs? Tired of buying overpriced but not very good wine? Then check out the blog’s Father’s Day wine 2020, where we allow for all of that. Just keep the blog’s wine gift-giving guidelines in mind throughout the process: Don’t buy someone wine that you think they should like; buy them what they will like.
Father’s Day wine 2020 suggestions:
• Pedroncelli Friends.red 2018 ($11, sample, 14.2%): This red blend from one of my favorite producers is what all inexpensive California wine should aspire to — soft but not sappy, fruity but not syrupy (dark berries?), balanced and enjoyable. There’s even a tannin wandering around the back. Highly recommended.
• Vinha do Cais da Ribeira Douro 2018 ($9, purchased, 12.5%): Rustic Portuguese white blend, mostly available at Total Wine, that has a touch of citrus and a little minerality. Be better at $7, but still a fair value. Imported by Middlesex Wine & Spirits
• Bodegas Olivares Rosado 2019 ($10, purchased, 13%): Grenache-based Spanish pink that combines the grape’s red fruit with long acidity and even a touch of minerality. Much more interesting that it should be and highly recommended.
• Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Brut Rosé 2017 ($15, purchased, 12.5%): Bright, fresh, and fruity sparkling (lots of red fruit) from Bordeaux, and the bubbles are zippy, too.. Not particularly subtle, and you won’t find any brioche or biscuit. But why would you need to?
Father’s Day wine 2019: Four wines to make Dad proud
Every year at Father’s Day, we’re told to buy Dad a big red wine. Because, after all, isn’t that what Dad is supposed to want? Maybe. But the most important thing to know is to buy Dad what he likes for Father’s Day wine 2019. Keep the blog’s wine gift-giving guidelines in mind throughout the process: Don’t buy someone wine that you think they should like; buy them what they will like.
Father’s Day wine 2019 suggestions:
• Eberle Syrah Steinbeck Vineyard 2017 ($32, sample, 14.2%): This red wine from California’s Paso Robles is balanced and almost nuanced — which doesn’t happen all that often with Paso syrah. Look for black fruit, a little earth, a just enough richness, and a wine that is clean and full on the finish. Highly recommended, assuming the price doesn’t scare you off.
• Ryder Estate Pinot Noir Rose 2018 ($14, sample, 13%): This is what the once-legendary Toad Hollow rose demonstrated to in the old days — tart cherry, a little ripe strawberry, and a long and pleasing finish that shows off the fruit. Not sweet, but fruity in the California style. Ryder is making a name for itself as one of the best $10 and $12 producers in the country. Highly recommended.
• Pedroncelli Friends.white 2018 ($12, purchased, 12.9%): Yes, a corny name, but this California white blend from one of my favorite producers is always well made and a value. The gewurtztraminer balances the sauvignon blanc, but doesn’t sweeten the wine. Pleasantly tart, fresh, and enjoyable — some citrus (lemon?) and an appealing crispness. Highly recommended.
• Chateau St. Jean Brut Rose NV ($15, sample, 13%): I expected almost nothing from this California bubbly, and was once again proved wrong — taste the wine before you judge it. Quality charmat method wine with a little more style and appeal than Prosecco, including some very nice berries and a creaminess that one doesn’t expect in charmat sparkling.
More Father’s Day wine:
• Father’s Day wine 2018
• Father’s Day wine 2017
• Father’s Day wine 2016
• Expensive wine 118: Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant 2013
Check out these six roses — still cheap and delicious — for the blog’s 11th annual Memorial Day and rose celebration
Talk about the best kind of tasting fatigue — I sampled close 100 roses this year for the 11th annual Memorial Day and rose post, and I’m not tired of pink wine yet.
Rose, as noted, has been resilient enough to withstand the onslaught of high alcohol, lifestyle-designed bottles, and sweet rose passed off as dry. And why not? Many of the producers who make rose the right way do it as a labor of love. As one told me this spring: “Yes, I could charge more for it. But then fewer people would drink it, and I love rose enough that I want as many people as possible to drink it.”
So enjoy this year’s rose extravaganza. My six pinks are after the jump. But you should also check out the rose category link, which lists 11 years of rose reviews. And don’t overlook the blog’s rose primer, which discusses styles, why rose is dry, how it gets its pink color, and why vintage matters. Wines older than two years — 2016, in this case — are more likely to be off, tired, or worn out. Continue reading
The Wine Curmudgeon, despite his crusade for wine labels that look like they belong in the 21st century, was more than wary about this wine. “friends.red”? Talk about chalk on a blackboard.
Still, the wine comes from Pedroncelli, one of my favorite producers and one that has long cared about quality cheap wine, so I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt. For which anyone who buys this will be grateful, because we’re talking $10 Hall of Fame quality.
The Friends ($10, sample, 13.9%) — sorry, I can’t type it with the dot red — is a red blend with mostly merlot and syrah, the kind of wine I wish more California producers were interested in making. That means it’s not only priced correctly, but interesting, with more than syrupy fruit flavors. It’s surprisingly rich and full, probably from the barrel aging, and something that rarely happens with wine at this price. Look for red berry jamminess, soft tannins, and the correct amount of acidity for this style of wine. Plus, there’s no residual sugar, which I thought I tasted in the previous vintage.
Doing a Mother’s Day barbecue? Then this fits the bill. It will pair with almost anything, and it’s soft enough for people who might not like red wine and will still please those of us who do. Highly recommended.
The Wine Curmudgeon used to eat at a Dallas restaurant where the wine list was, to put it politely, pretty sad. This is not uncommon, of course, since too many restaurant owners tend see wine as an aggravation and not a way to please customers (and yes, I know I promised to write something about this, and it’s still on the agenda).
It was frustrating that the wine list had very little anyone would want to drink, since I liked the food and the prices were reasonable. Fortunately, the Pedroncelli rose was on the list, and I drank a lot of it. Like almost every time I ate at the restaurant.
And why not? The rose ($10, purchased) paired with the food that I ordered and it was cheap, especially for restaurant wine. Best yet, the wine was — and still is — well made, with some cranberry and currant fruit, a bit of juiciness in the middle, and even some heft. This is not a light rose, but one with body, and it’s almost as if there are tannins lurking in the back to remind you this is a dry wine and not that pinkish, sweet stuff. Pedroncelli is a fourth-generation California winemaker, and the family takes great care with what it does — quality wine at good prices. The chardonnay is worth trying, too.
Chill this (especially this summer) and drink it on its own or with any summer food — burgers and barbecued chicken come to mind. And be glad that one long ago restaurant owner had the good sense to have one quality wine on his list.