Yes, I’m reviewing two Rosés in a row. I like Rosé. It’s nice. And comforting. Especially Sangiovese ones. Sangiovese was my first love as a grape…so anything Sangiovese is practically a comfort wine for me, but you all know that by now.
ASV, or Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, is one of the largest producers of Arizona wine, currently. There was a recent vineyard shift between them and Caduceus gained the vineyards down on the Willcox Bench, while Stronghold retained… well, Stronghold, up near Bonita Springs, on the northeastern side of the Sulphur Springs Valley. This particular Sangiovese Rosé came from the Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, now owned by Caduceus Cellars, which has since been renamed the Al Buhl Memorial Vineyard. Their tasting room–and only tasting room currently–is located in Old Town Cottonwood. I should also note for readers outside of the state that Stronghold is probably going to be the easiest Arizona wines to acquire; they seem to be distributed fairly widely.
The Wine: Sangiovese is one of Arizona’s best grapes, really. It’s also among the most widely planted, and widely utilized. Some of the best advice any somnalier has ever given me was “If you see a Sangiovese, buy it. It will be good.” So this advice goes for Arizona, as well, and emphatically: I have yet to have a bad Arizona wine that was made from more than half Sangiovese. And this especially goes for Rosé. Arizona, I think, produces some of the best dry Rosé wine in the world, outside of France. It’s something we excel at, and that I wish more Arizona wineries would be willing to experiment with with other varietals that you normally dont see made in this fashion. (My top three list would be Petit Verdot, Barbera, and Counoise.) This Sangiovese Rosé is incredibly pale and a ghostly rosy pink in color. I’ve seen a few that were darker, like the one at Caduceus currently. It’s pleasing to look at–it makes the wine feel overly friendly. Which, admittedly, it is.
Nose: The nose for this wine is equally light and airy as the color. It’s soft, and subtle, with hints of forest floor as the dominant background. This strikes me as unusual for a rosé made with Sangiovese, at least in my experience. Other notes include a prominant grapefruit/citrus note, intermingled with thyme and, frankly, cannabis. (The latter is not at all unusual in my experience, at least when it comes to Sangiovese Rosé)
Palate: The various herbal notes continue on the palate, though in this case it is now rosemary and hibiscus. Grapefruit is also present in the palate, intermingled with a little bit of lemon zest. Srawberries and vanilla creme complete a fairly long-lasting finish. It’s a bit hot, though–one can definately taste the heat of the alcohol (and at 14.1% it is fairly high for a Rosé). There’s also a fair bit of acitity, which leaves me wanting to drink some water afterwards, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing on a hot summer day.
Pairing: I seem to be drawn to the idea of a personal Margherita pizza with this wine; something with basil and tomatoes. Either that, or a lemon and mint poundcake. Something light, and easy-going.
Impressions: This is a pretty nice Rosé for the middle of summer, on hot days when you want to lounge and relax by the pool, or on your deck watching the first monsoons of the season come in. Or as I did, watching the last of the monsoons come in. Sangiovese is your female best friend. (Cab is your male best friend, in case you were wondering). In short, it’s a comforting wine, and this rosé is like revisiting an old friend–though in this case, you’re sitting over mint tea, reminicing about your mutual childhood together. Specifically, you’re recalling an incident where you accidently terrorized the youngest member of your neighborood by jumping out of the bushes while waving golf clubs, screaming “INTRUDERS! DEFEND THE CASTLE!”