We were in Santa Barbara, California several years ago for a niece’s wedding. The setting for the ceremony was incomparable: a marvelous house that belonged to the father of a friend of the bride, with a broad, sweeping lawn ringed with fragrant shrubs just steps from the ocean. The ceremony was just before sunset, and right on cue dolphins cavorting in the surf leapt from the water while seagulls cried overhead. The dinner was on the terrace up a flight of stone steps with an even greater view of the surf, where we were buffeted with a gentle, refreshing ocean breeze.
On that trip to Santa Barbara we visited wineries in town and in the hills. While visiting the wineries on the Urban Wine Trail we chanced on Margerum Wine Company, which featured an exceptional dry Rosé. At the moment they feature two made with Grenache. Grenache, you probably know, needs a long, hot growing season — picture Provence, Southern Italy, Spain — and ripens late. We aren’t aware of anyone in Virginia growing it, and it’s no doubt foolhardy to try — the growing conditions just aren’t right. Where it thrives it’s useful for the production of a pale Rosé, which one may find in the South of France, and it makes sense in Southern California, too.
We were haunted by the complexity and pleasure of their Rosé, and when we decided to create one we looked to them for inspiration. Of course ours had to speak of Virginia, so this is a blend of our very own Cabernet Franc grapes and Vidal Blanc. The color is extraordinary, and the wine is very dry and has aromas of strawberries and hints of raspberry, but with Cabernet Franc’s characteristic black pepper at the finish. It’s bright, it’s fresh, it’s crisp — it’s a fascinating combination, and not what one expects from a Rosé. We suggest serving it with grilled seafood, roasted chicken, antipasto or summer salads.
Technical details are available here. Michael Shaps, our winemaker, describes it best: “This wine is yummy.”
Just in time for the Great Hamptons Rosé Drought of 2012, this week we released ours — unfortunately we are not licensed to ship to New York, but we can ship to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, California and the District of Columbia. The wine is available in our tasting room, in our online store and at the Galleria on the Lake in Clarksville, Virginia. Santa Barbara is known as “America’s Riviera,” and Clarksville, which bills itself as “Virginia’s Only Lakeside Town” feels very much like a resort, so its rather fitting to find it there.