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Nebbiolo is a grape shrouded in the mists of legend, producing some of the best reds found in its homeland of the Piedmont. It’s a grape we’ve seen before several times on this blog; I’ve even explored a previous vintage of this same wine before.  Let’s look at the 2014 vintage of the Lei Li Rosé.

2014 Lei Li Rosé

The 2014 Lei Li Rosé, photographed at the Verde Valley Wine Festival.

The Wine: This rusty, salmon-colored rosé is the last of its kind for Caduceus; the last Nebbiolo rosé made by Maynard from fruit sourced from Bonita Springs Vineyard, in Graham County, in the Willcox AVA. (Future vintages will be sourced from blocks in the Verde Valley.) The 2014 Lei Li Rosé was made in the direct press method and was aged in both stainless steel and neutral French oak puncheons.

The Nose: The 2014 Lei Li Rosé opens with notes of earth, raspberry, apricot, and mint. Interestingly, this wine also has just a hint of the classic “tar-and-roses” notes which are often associated with Nebbiolo in its Urheimat, which is pretty neat.

The Palate: On the palate, this wine has notes of chokecherry, mint, white tea, and heirloom melons, intermingled with white chocolate and peach.  The finish lasts for 52 seconds, with notes of mint, white chocolate, limestone dust, and strawberry. This mid-bodied wine has good acidity, which is pretty standard for an Arizona Rosé.

The Pairing: The tannins in the 2014 Lei Li Rosé mean that this is a vintage one could potentially pair with pork chops using a rosemary marinade, or rosemary garlic hot wings.  Okay, so I like pairing rosé with hot wings.  It works, okay?  For a vegetarian pairing, I feel like this wine will pair well with a whole host of Indian dishes.

Impressions: It’s my opinion that Nebbiolo is, with some exceptions, best suited for Rosé production in Arizona; this particular vintage is no exception.  I admit I don’t like the 2014 vintage of the Lei Li Rosé as much as I liked the 2012 vintage, but it’s still quite lovely.  This wine is a friendly archaeologist who prefers to spend his time on dig sites along the Mogollon Rim, rather than teaching students.