Rosé season is almost over here in the Arizona High Country; my rule of thumb is that it ends on Halloween. With that in mind, I thought I would review one last rosé; the one which is probably the easiest to find both in and out of state. This, of course, is the Dayden Rosé from Arizona Stronghold Vineyards. The vintage I’m reviewing today is the 2011; each year’s vintage is usually a little different. Dayden comes from an Apache word meaning “Little Girl.”
So, I’m sure you’ve noticed by now my like of Arizona dry rosé, and are wondering why I keep reviewing them. Frankly, this is because I feel that my state does this style of wine very well, on par with the famous rosés of Provence, France. It’s also a style that I feel is much maligned, thanks to the influence of poorly-made White Zinfandels, and any good word I can put in is welcome. The fact of the matter is, as time goes on, we will see Arizona become famous for these particular wines, and rightly so. In a state that can be warm starting from May, lasting into October, a refreshing light style of wine is perfect.
The Wine: The 2011 Dayden is a blend of 90% Zinfandel, 7% Tempranillo, and 3% Sangiovese, harvested from the Bonita Springs vineyard. According to what I’ve been told, the year was particularly challenging, with severe frosts in late spring, and an extremely warm and dry summer, which culminated in a very heavy monsoon season. This weather rollercoaster led to the grapes becoming ripe at a lower Brix content, which meant that the winemaker for this vintage, Tim White, had to pay very careful attention to the acidity of the grapes, and therefore, the resulting wine. This rose was made with skin contact. The color is a beautiful, vibrant light pink color that reminds one of how the sun shines on the red rocks of Sedona at sundown, as seen from my hilltop vantage in Jerome.
The Nose: The nose is bright and fruity, with hints of apple, peaches, watermelon, and plums, with herbal notes of parsley, and sage.
The palate: The palate is a bit acidic, but not annoyingly so; making for a mouthwatering drink. Peaches and Nectarines are on the palate intermingled with crisp pears, sour apples, rosehips, and just the slightest hint of cherries. The finish is fairly long, with fruit intermingled with a smidge of the limestone-style minerality terroir notes of the Willcox wine region.
Pairing: Like most rosé, this would be a perfect wine to throw into your picnic basket, but this time, pair it specifically with some smoked salmon. Or, simply save a bottle for when summer inevitably returns, and drink it alone while watching the clouds pass overhead.
Impressions: This is an easy-drinking rosé, perfect for just about any occasion. The name, Dayden–is spot on. I somehow envision a ballerina dancer at a recital, or perhaps a girl who’s just a bit of a tomboy, trying to climb a tree. It is balanced, yet exuberant. And, since this rosé, unlike many other Arizona wines, can easily be found in most grocery stores, it’s easily accessible. I recommend bringing a bottle to your new neighbor as a housewarming gift, and thereby introducing them to the delicious nature of Arizona wines.