Oregon producers stand out at Rosé Today competition

By on April 1, 2017

Del Rio Vineyards nonvintage Semi-Sparkling Jolee Rosé earned best of class honors at the 2017 Rosé Today Competition. (Christen “Sunee” Lewitzky of Resplendent Photography/Courtesy of Rosé Today.)

HEALDSBURG, Calif. — Del Rio Vineyards, one of the Oregon wine industry’s most important properties, led the field of Pacific Northwest entries at the fourth annual Rosé Today judging in California’s Sonoma County.

Loire Valley native Jean-Michel Jussiaume, Del Rio’s winemaker since 2008, won best of class in the Domestic Sweet category for his nonvintage Semi-Sparkling Jolee Rosé ($15), a blend of Early Muscat, Riesling and Cabernet Franc that’s presented with a fun bit of spritz to balance the 6 percent residual sugar.

The Rogue Valley winery produces 6,500 cases of rosé. While the Wallace family’s program is dominated by the Jolee, Jussiaume also creates 1,500 cases of a bone-dry rosé made with Grenache — a Rhône variety that thrives in Southern Oregon. His work with the 2016 vintage also earned a gold medal from Rosé Today judges.

Among the state’s largest plantings, Del Rio Vineyards stands at 305 acres, and its client list includes many of the Willamette Valley’s top brands. The Wallace and Tranyham families have mapped out plans to establish another 175-acre vineyard this year near Valley of the Rogue State Park.

There were 239 entries into Rosé Today as the March 22 judging at Soda Rock Winery in Healdsburg included 12 states and nine countries. Organizers said they received 20 entries from the Pacific Northwest, which also merited gold medals through Domaine Serene and King Estate in the Willamette Valley and Walla Walla Valley producer Long Shadows Vintners.

Earlier this spring, Long Shadow’s 2016 Julia’s Dazzle, a brand named for proprietor Allen Shoup’s granddaughter, won best rosé at the 2017 Cascadia Wine Competition for its work with Pinot Gris.

Rosé builds national audience

More than 50 examples of Pacific Northwest rosé stand ready to be judged as part of the fifth annual Cascadia Wine Competition at the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore. (Photo by Richard Duval Images)

The category of rosé continues to gain in popularity, and Wine Press Northwest magazine already has received nearly 100 examples of rosé in advance of the April 14 peer judging for its summer 2017 issue.

At Rosé Today, Sonoma bubble house Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards repeated as best of show. Its 2013 Brut Rosé ($40) from Carneros earned an unanimous double gold medal in the Domestic Sparkling category.

Rosé Today judges included Debra Del Fiorentino, director of wine competitions for Vineyard & Winery Management magazine; Rick Fraga, wine educator, Madrone Estate Winery, Glen Ellen; Denise Gill, Alexander Valley Vineyards; Teejay Lowe, member, Russian River Winegrowers Association; Christopher Sawyer, sommelier; Leslie Sbrocco, host of PBS-TV’s Check Please! Bay Area; and Deborah Parker Wong, senior industry editor, SOMM Journal.

Organizers of Rosé Today will stage their public tasting June 17 at Jaxon Keys Winery & Distillery near the Mendocino county town of Hopland, Calif. A number of the top rosés will be paired with hors d’oeuvres from the Culinary Institute of America.

Pacific Northwest results from Rosé Today

Best of class, Domestic Sweet category
Del Rio Vineyards NV Semi-Sparkling Jolee Rosé, Oregon, $15

Gold medal
Del Rio Vineyards 2016 Estate Grenache Rosé, Rogue Valley, $15
Domaine Serene NV “r” Rosé, Oregon, $38
King Estate Winery 2016 Mountain Blocks Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $24
Long Shadows Vintners 2016 Julia’s Dazzle Rosé, $20

Silver medal
Acrobat 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Oregon, $14
Charles & Charles 2016 Rosé, Columbia Valley, $14
Mercer Estates 2016 Spice Cabinet Vineyard Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $13
Ruby Magdalena Vineyards 2014 Rosé of Garnacha, Rattlesnake Hills, $14
vino la Monarcha 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $22
Willamette Valley Vineyards 2016 Whole Cluster Rosé, Willamette Valley, $24
Yamhill Valley Vineyards 2016 Estate Rosé of Pinots, McMinnville, $16

Bronze medals
Lopez Island Vineyards 2016 Rosé, Yakima Valley, $18
Mercer Canyons 2016 Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $13
MonksGate Vineyard 2016 North Block Dry Rosé, Yamhill-Carlton, $21

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About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

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