A Rose By Any Other Name
Chapter 1- Precious, My Precious
I never intended to make precious rosé. I was going for “perky pink,” “gulp-able beside the pool,” or say, “chug-able at a backyard barbeque.” Rosé was pitched as an easy side project. Ferment some juice, et volià, pink wine. Although I increased my 2012 production by over 250%, my aggravation exceeded infinity percent. And yes, I know there’s no such thing as infinity percent. I meant to say mega-quantum percent. So now I’m stuck with precious rosé.
Chapter 2- Be Like Goldilocks
I am not afraid to admit (cough) that my rose is neither heat nor cold stable. What are you talking about? You stop mumbling. Sure, if I were Gallo, making 100,000 cases, I’d be screwed. Some consumer in Wichita might notice funky crystals inside and march that darned, spoiled bottle right back to the high falutin’ drug store where he bought it. Right there next to them Tums and Maalox. But you and I can have a civil discussion instead. You see, when I upgraded from two 30 gallons kegs to a 75 gallon stainless steel barrel, I backed myself into a corner. Unlike small kegs, the stainless steel barrel is too big to stash in a freezer/fridge but has too little volume to cold stabilize in a glycol-controlled tank. So if you drive my rosé to Antarctica and leave it in your trunk, the acids will probably precipitate out of solution. Cold temperature lowers the solubility of the natural wine acids, and they form solids. They are harmless. Winemakers call them “tartrates.” Marketing gurus call them “wine diamonds.” And they may be the closest you ever get to a 3 carat rock. Should this happen to you, pour from your bottle with great care. Wine belongs in the glass; solids stay behind. It’s no different from sediment in an old cab. These are just bling-ier. And please, don’t leave my rosé in your car on a sizzling, summer day. But you knew that already. I didn’t add enough chemical fining agent to totally stabilize the positively charged proteins. I could tell you it’s because I am a natural winemaker, and I don’t believe in adulterating my wine in any capacity. But that would be bullsh&*$#. I figured so long as I couldn’t adequately cold stabilize it, why fret about heat stability. Just store the rosé at the proper temperature. Don’t abuse it, and sure as heck, don’t boil it. Or experiment with rosé popsicles. Just drink it now, and be like Golidlocks. Not too hot. Not too cold. Sip it just right.
Chapter 3- Stand Down, Sister. It’s the Law.
I pride myself on my expert editing skills. I email the New York Times when I see a typo. I once called Houghton Mifflin about some wonky syntax. (Shouldn’t their next edition be more correct?). Well, Holey Hubris, Batman. I missed a blaring typo on the rosé label. And then I signed off that galley copy to the TTB. When the 2012 labels arrived at the winery, I got a phone call from one very confused compliance officer.
“You can’t use those labels. It’s not a Sonoma Coast rosé.” True indeed, Inspector Clouseau. Most of the juice hails from Sonoma Coast. But then again, 36% of the juice is Russian River, from our own Torrey Hill home ranch. Having exceeded the legal 75% AVA limit, I could not actually call my rose “Sonoma Coast.” It should have read “Sonoma County.” Had I not been proofing at warp speed, I might have caught that one. (Or at least that’s what I told Brian when he growled about writing another check to re-print version 2.0).
So dear friends, when you finally find yourself face-to-face with my 2012 rose, please purchase and drink immediately.
Shine on, man. Per TTB regulations, we bottled rose shiners. We’ll go back and add the label in March, after new TTB approval.