La Crema Rosé: Our little ‘passion project’
Fresh and crisp aren’t often words you think of when talking about Pinot Noir. The grape is most often used to produce a dry red wine, but for summer sipping, there’s a whole new way to enjoy this varietal. When thinking about pairings for backyard picnics or beach outings, consider a lovely La Crema Rosé.
Our winemaker, Elizabeth Grant Douglas, remembers when La Crema first made this wine, way back in 2005.
“Rosé wine wasn’t so cool yet with the public, the way it is today,” she says. “But the winemaking team wanted to make one that was bright, dry and crisp, because we all love Rosé. It sounded crazy at the time.”
A labor of love
It was “crazy,” because the price a bottle of red Pinot Noir could bring on the market was higher than a blush wine. “The Rosé is from our top Russian River Valley vineyards, exactly the same grapes that go into our La Crema Pinot Noir. In fact, we pull juice from same tanks as the Pinot Noir.”
There are various ways of making a Rosé wine, but Elizabeth believes that the method called saignée (from the French word for “bleeding”) produces the most classic wines.
First, the Pinot Noir grapes are crushed in small tanks. Then the grape juice, held at a cold temperature to prevent fermentation from starting, rests on the grape skins (which contain the coloring pigments) for a few days, until the wine has achieved the perfect color: a bright, translucent cherry-ruby hue that seems to wink in the light.
Once the color is right, the juice is filtered into stainless steel tanks, where cold fermentation occurs. The wine is released on Mother’s Day the following Spring.
Tasting and Pairing
The 2013 La Crema Rosé is vibrant, with flavors of strawberries, white peach, cranberries and rose petal, enlivened with orange zest and a splash of lime juice. The alcohol is a modest 13.5% by volume, with good balancing acidity.
Rosé wines are among the most versatile in the world when it comes to food pairing. La Crema’s chefs once prepared a salad of Dungeness crab and watermelon, with a strawberry-rhubarb vinaigrette and fresh tarragon. “It was amazing,” Elizabeth remembers. You can easily create the recipe at home – click here for details.
Elizabeth recommends drinking La Crema Rosé by late Autumn following the wine’s Spring release. “I think most people enjoy it at its freshest. I’m usually polishing off the last of my Rosé with the Thanksgiving turkey. It’s so beautiful on the table, and it goes so nicely with cranberries.”
Try chilling your Rosé in an ice bucket, so you can enjoy it as it warms up and evolves in your glass.