4 Rosé Wines From Unique Grapes, According To Instagram Wine Influencers
Forget Everything You Know About Rosé Wine Grapes
Sure, many of us are familiar with the usual suspects – Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet (Franc and Sauvignon), Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan and Mourvèdre. We are also seeing a rise in rosés made with Merlot, Malbec, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Zinfandel, and even white grapes such as Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc and others (that are blended with red grapes, of course). As such, the rosé options are endless – and there is bound to be something for every palate, even if previously you may not have been so fond of the pink drink.
But with today’s post I’d like to talk about some really adventurous rosé wines from unique grapes you may not be familiar with, or that you might have never heard of at all! This one one of my passions here at The Glorious Grape – bringing unique and unknown grapes, regions and wines out into the spotlight, to showcase just how wonderful the world of wine can be when you are willing to take a step outside of your comfort zone (or your *insert overpriced wine region here* bubble).
So I’ve decided to bring together some friends of mine in the Instagram wine world to help compile this list – these are wine enthusiasts, industry professionals, social media influencers, bloggers, writers, foodies, and most of all, they are passionate about sharing their love of wine with others. I am so lucky to have had their help in providing contributions to this piece, and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have. Cheers and thanks, my friends!
All photos belong to the their respective owners, who authored each piece.
Featured Grape: Saperavi
Adrian is a resident of the Finger Lakes, a wine region in New York that is quickly gaining attention for its quality wine production focused on cool-climate crops. His Instagram feed is often filled with food and local wine set amidst a backdrop of the natural beauty of Upstate NY, with special appearances by his family’s furry friends. He is also a contributing writer for The Vintner Project, and you can read his articles here.
Standing Stone Vineyards Rosé 2017
Seneca Lake, New York
This is the 2017 Rosé from Standing Stone Vineyards in Hector, NY, in the heart of the Finger Lakes. But what’s special about this one? Well, first off, it’s a Saperavi based Rosé. If you haven’t heard of Saperavi, it’s an ancient Georgian varietal. A VERY dark grape with inky red flesh and juice. It does well in cool climates — like the Finger Lakes — and there are less than 10 wineries in the United States that grow/produce/make Saperavi. Standing Stone is the only winery I know of that also started doing a Rosé from Saperavi!
It’s a tangy but dry Rosé. Up front, there is a cranberry-like crunch, like that first bite of pomegranate. There are bits of fleshy strawberries, but not that thick lush super-ripe dark strawberries, it’s all unripe but crunchy strawberry. Very high acidity. Body is medium for a Rosé. The finish is slightly tangy but smoothes out much differently than most Rosé. There is a bit of Chardonnay blended in (unsure of exactly how much!)! Most Rosé from the Finger Lakes doesn’t have any white wine blended, so this is certainly unique and likely a first. Since this is direct press method, the end result would have been extremely dark for a Rosé as Saperavi is a very inky almost black wine on it’s own. The Chardonnay adds a unique level of smoothness on the palate and finish. Cheers!
Featured Grape: Pinotage
Marlee is a wine industry professional in South Africa, and if you follower her adventures on Instagram you can find her traveling the country to various vineyards and wineries, attending wine dinner and tasting events, meeting with winemakers and other industry professionals, and even taking part in harvesting activities. For this post, Marlee has chosen a rosé that is rather common in South Africa, but that is only just now becoming popular in the rest of the world. Even better? She got her hands on a brand new 2018 vintage, which I am excited to report will be the very first one The Glorious Grape, only 5 months into the year!
Kanonkop Kadette Pinotage Rosé 2018
Stellenbosch, South Africa
The wine is full bodied with an onion skin colour. The wine shows typical Pinotage aromas with prominent red fruit flavours of cherry and sugarplum. If you cool the wine down a bit, spicy aromas of white pepper emerges. It is a deliciously refreshing wine to enjoy on a sunny South African summer`s day – or with a spicy Cape Malay curry dish when the weather isn’t so warm.
The variety was created by a South African Scientist, Dr. Abraham Perold by crossing Cinsaut with Pinot Noir. He attempted to create a grape that had the qualities of a Pinot Noir while being hardy enough to grow in South Africa`s climate. But Pinotage doesn’t resemble either of the two! Pinotage is an proudly South African enigma.
Kanonkop Estate has been described as being the South African equivalent of a Premier Cru or First Growth. International awards of over more than a decade support these claims. Abrie Beeslaar, cellarmaster at Kanonkop, has been crowned “International Winemaker of the Year” by the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) 3 times! In 2008, 2015 and again last year in 2017. Winemaking at Kanonkop follows age-old traditions using open concrete fermenters. All cellaring, bottling and labelling is done on the Kanonkop Estate.
Featured Grape: Aghiorghitiko and Moscofilero
Sarah runs her own blog called Grape Pairings in addition to her Instagram page. Both are full of her favorite food and wine pairings, local winery visits and recent tasting events. She is WSET2 certified, and loves experimenting with unique pairing combinations and recipe ideas. The healthy and refreshing take she provides is welcome when many of our feeds are often inundated with sinfully indulgent and overtly unhealthy options. She also loves taking comments from her followers about their own suggestions on the food and wines she posts, which welcomes an engaging community.
Domaine Skouras Zoe Rosé 2017
Zoe’s 2017 Rosé is one of the most beautiful rosés that you will drink all season! Zoe’s is a Greek wine made of 70% Aghiorghitiko and 30% Moscofilero. The color alone is unique, looking like the bubblegum that you used to chew as a child and learned to blow bubbles with. However, the taste is very different from its playful color. On the nose, there is cherry, strawberry, and rose petals. More of it comes out on the palate in the form of a well balanced, medium acidic, long finished taste. The texture is almost fizzy, but this could be more due to the acidity rather than actual bubbles. The rose petal flavor is really what lingers and leaves you wanting for more! VinePair rated this as the #6 Rosé of 2018, and at a bargain for only $12 (I found it at Whole Foods), you will be sure to enjoy this all season long! Pair this with grilled salmon burgers, Falafels, grilled chicken breast, or simply enjoy it on it’s own.
Featured Grape: Muscadine
Yours Truly had to include a grape that I have talked about before on my blog (Where Modern Wine Production Really Began In The United States) and also in a article I wrote for The Vintner Project (5 Things You Need To Know About Muscadine). I would encourage you to read both of those pieces to better understand this unique grape that is native to America!
San Sebastian Rosa NV
St. Augustine, Florida
This Florida rosé is made with 100% native Carlos Muscadine grapes, which have amber-bronze skins and are typically made into sweet white wines. San Sebastian Winery is located in St. Augustine, FL, the town that began wine production in the United States in the 1500s. The grapes are sourced from Lakeridge Vineyard and Winery in Clermont, FL, a sister site to San Sebastian.
Muscadine grapes tend to produce sweet wines, both red and white. Port-style dessert wines are also a nice way to highlight the sweet Muscadine flavors. However, wine drinkers who prefer a slightly less sweet style may be more interested in trying a Muscadine rosé – off dry, with pungent aromas and full bodied flavors; all while still maintaining a refreshing quality.
Don’t let the pale, delicate baby pink color fool you – the aromas and flavors intermingle between honeysuckle, tropical yellow fruits such as mango and banana, bruised orchard fruits such yellow apple and bosc pear, and even a bit of lemon. Play around with the temperature here – start with a perfect chill to see the more off-dry lemony, floral notes up front. As the wine warms a bit, you’ll see the more pungent, overripe, and thickly sweet aspects begin to pop. Pair this with spicy food, and you might just grow to appreciate this style of rosé!
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What’s the most unique rosé wine you’ve ever had? Did it contain grapes that you have never tried before? Let’s chat in the comments, I’d love to hear your experiences!