I’m a native Bellinghamster, so I get that this is a beer town. I have nothing against beer, but I prefer wine. In 2013, my beverage preference led me to open a wine bar downtown called Vinostrology. It was a dream come true, but (fortunately for me) I sold my business before the nightmare that is COVID.
That being said, my go-to adult beverage is still wine, and I love to talk about and share it with people. That passion has brought me here, to the pages of the Cascadia Daily News, where I will write a monthly column focused on sipping suggestions for other wine enthusiasts.
As soon as the sun hits my deck in spring and summer, I am on the hunt for rosé. After months of hibernating indoors sipping heavy reds and voluptuous whites, my body and soul are ready for a wine perfectly suited to warm breezes and sun-kissed cheeks.
I recently went in search of my prey and was tickled pink by what I found — a bottle of 2020 Chateau Sainte Eulalie “Printemps” rosé (Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache). I hesitated a moment before grabbing my find by the neck and heading home because of the vintage of the wine — a 2020.
Most rosé fans will tell you rosés are meant to be enjoyed when they are young. Quite frankly, that is bologna. If a wine is worth a damn, it was crafted by a skilled winemaker and can be consumed several years after bottling. As I am a cautious hunter, I purchased one bottle with the idea I would return for more if it tickled my fancy.
One sniff and sip, and I was sold. I inhaled the aromas of orange and lime zest and cherry blossom before taking my first drink. I swirled the wine across my palate and delighted in the creamy, almost silky, texture. Notes of strawberry and melon burst open and the finish was punctuated by apricot preserves and a hint of ginger — simply delicious. Needless to say, my expedition was a huge success and I went back for more; and at a price of $6.99, I bought several more bottles to have on hand for sunny deck days.
With summer officially in full swing, I decided to expand my search for another rosé and was glad I did. I stopped in at Bar Cicotti for coffee but couldn’t resist the irresistible selection of wines on display. One rosé in particular caught my eye — the 2021 Arndorfer “Vorgeschmack” Zweigelt rosé from Austria.
I remembered pouring the Grüner Veltliner from this producer at Vinostrology and my mouth instantly began to water in anticipation of the quality of their rosé. Once again, I hesitated briefly because the Arndorfer was a little out of my “everyday drinking” price range.
However, when the wine steward told me more about how the wine was made, my inner wine geek kicked in; I was intrigued by the idea of the pressed Zweigelt juice being laid to rest on a bed of Grüner Veltliner skins. This wine “sleepover” was designed to give the rosé more spice and tannins, which I thought was so cool. I happily spent $34 to call this bottle mine.
Chilled to perfection and the cork ceremoniously removed, I was ready. The strawberry-sunset pink shade of the wine was enough to give me goosebumps and I couldn’t wait to smell that color. With thirst-inducing aromas of freshly-picked strawberries, watermelon, orange marmalade and cherry cola, my taste buds behaved like a child waiting for ice cream. This rosé was like none other with flavors of lightly-peppered strawberries and just a hint of balsamic vinegar. It tasted fruity, zingy and lively all at the same time and brought a double-scoop smile to my face.
I should listen to my inner wine geek more often; she may not have the budget to include this wine in the “everyday” category, but she has impeccable taste. Cheers!
Find the 2020 Saint Eulalie “Printemps” rosé at both Community Food Co-ops in Bellingham for $6.99. At Bar Cicotti in downtown Bellingham, a bottle of the 2021 Martin & Anna Arndorfer “Vorgeschmack” Zweigelt rosé is $34. If you have wine suggestions for this monthly column, contact email@example.com.