Making a truly exceptional wine is a multi-faceted process. Although it may seem obvious that the end result has to taste amazing, there are many other components to consider along the way. The way a wine smells, looks, and even feels (viscous, oily, etc.) are all integral factors for how the human mind perceives wine.
The very first wine that we are releasing under our Ricci Vineyards family label is a rosé of Pinot Noir. Rosé has taken off in terms of popularity in wine-drinking circles for the diverseness and approachable nature it represents, however, not everybody knows what a rosé wine is. Most people associate rosé as that "pink drink" when they walk down the wine aisle of their grocery store, but as you might already realize, there are no such thing as pink wine grapes (at least, that occur in nature). So, in an attempt to clarify, rosé is a style of wine making and not a varietal of its own. You can make a rosé with almost any red wine grape; it's really a matter of preference.
Above: Some of the moments captured from our blending session.
If you ever squeeze a wine grape, you'll notice that the juice that comes out doesn't have any color, it's clear. To give a wine its color, grape juice needs to be in contact with its grape skins so that the pigment will gradually bleed and transfer into the juice. It's a process called maceration. Rosé is made by keeping the skin contact very minimal with the juice, only having them in contact with each other for a few days, or sometimes, even hours. Through this process, and depending on the varietal that is being used, the rosé will develop a very beautiful, rosy, pink hue.
When we recently paid a visit to our friends at Tin Barn Vineyards in Sonoma where our rosé is being made, we were blown away with how great it is tasting. Crisp, bright and tart; it had all the elements one would typically look for in a rosé for a day at the beach or to bring to a tailgate party. However, the color left a little something to be desired. Displaying a bit of a peachy haze, but also bordering on clear in color, we decided to ramp up the visual "wow" of our rosé by blending in a bit of traditional Pinot Noir as well. By mixing in just a dash to our samples, we were able to transform our existing rosé into that vibrant, sexy, pink drink we were hoping for. We settled on a 3% add of Pinot Noir, as that gave the rosé a subtle softness that tamed the acidity a bit and made it oh-so easy to drink.
With the rosé finalized, we definitely think we have an exceptional wine on our hands. Now, we are just eagerly awaiting the date where we can bottle it and start selling it to the thirsty masses! Stay tuned!
Special thanks to Mike Lancaster and Janna Lahner at Tin Barn for all of their wine making help. We couldn't be doing this without you!