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Most wineries in Arizona make at least one rosé wine, often from their first vintage. However, it took a while for Carlson Creek Vineyards to get on board. I grabbed this bottle of their 2015 Grenache rosé on release day down in the new Scottsdale tasting room, just down the road from Salvatore Vineyards and Aridus. (I don’t always make it for wine release days, and it was a lucky coincidence) Let’s take a look.

2015 Grenache Rosé

The 2015 Grenache Rosé from Carlson Creek, paired with a Lavender sky.

The Wine: Robert Carlson reports that the 2015 Grenache Rosé was made in the saignée style, and fermented (as well as aged) in stainless steel.  The fruit was sourced from Carlson Creek Vineyard, one of the largest vineyards on the Willcox Bench.  It’s one of the bigger Rosé vintages I’ve seen, clocking in at 15% Alcohol. This wine is a vibrant salmon pink color.  As you would have guessed from the name, this wine is made from 100% Grenache.

The Nose: This is wine with many rich, varied aromas.  Notes of vanilla, cliff rose, rose hips, gardenia, peaches, strawberries, and raspberry intermingles with notes of watermelon and caramelized marshmallows as the wine opens.

The Palate: I would classify the 2015 Grenache Rosé as a medium-to-full-bodied Rosé, as there is a fair bit of weight to the palate. The palate opens up with notes of bing cherry, raspberry, strawberry, gardenia, and peach. This wine has medium acidity. One of the biggest flavors I get from this wine on the palate as it opens up is a juicy characteristic that reminds me a great deal of watermelon jolly ranchers.  The finish of this wine lasts for 55 seconds, with notes of sea salt, limestone, ocotillo, raspberry, and a tiny hint of anise. It’s a bit hot in terms of alcohol, but that’s something that can be

The Pairing: The full-bodied character of this vintage means it can stand up to heavier food than most Rosé wines. I really want to pair this wine with super hot wings with blue cheese; I think the heat of the wings and the creamy nature of the blue cheese will work rather well with the higher alcohol content and bigger flavors of this wine.  For a vegetarian pairing, do something using jackfruit with buffalo sauce instead of barbeque sauce; maybe with some sort of hummus dip.

Impressions: Long-time readers and those who know me rather well know that I don’t tend to have an overly high opinion of Arizona Grenache, as I feel this wine is best-suited to Rosé and brandy-making, with some key exceptions. This is a stellar example of a good Grenache Rosé in Arizona.

Personified, I feel like this wine is reminiscent of an extreme beach bum and surfer; someone who travels the world to catch the biggest waves, and performs slam poetry describing his experiences.