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The other day, a friend of mine asked me, “why are you saying that rosé season is over? It’s not.” I started talking about the arrival of cold weather, and how I like rosé best while waiting for the monsoon. I was scolded, then reminded that one of the best pairings for any traditional Holiday suite of food is a rosé of some kind. So with that in mind, I decided to crack open my bottle of the 2014 Wide-Eyed Rosé, which I picked up in March. Coming from AZ Hops N’ Vines, this wine provides a unique take on an Arizona Classic.
The Wine: The 2014 Wide-Eyed Rosé is 100% Grenache, sourced from Golden Rule Vineyard, near Dragoon. The big twist that makes this wine so unique is that this rosé was aged on American Oak. I’ve not seen many rosé wines aged on oak, period. The wine was made by Megan Haller, the winemaker for Hops N’ Vines. It is a vibrant rose color. This is much darker than the usual salmon pink I generally associate with Grenache rosé.
The Nose: This is not what I normally expect from a Grenache rosé. The nose opens with notes of bright raspberry, watermelon, and the molasses/cedar aromas imparted by American oak. As the wine sits in the glass, additional notes of smoke, cherry, tarragon, and sage emerge.
The Palate: The 2014 Wide-Eyed Rosé is singularly unique on the palate also. Rosehips, raspberry, and watermelon collide with vanilla, cedar, and violets at the start. The wine has decent acidity. As the wine opens, notes of cherry, maror, and pepper emerge. The finish of this wine lasts for 25 seconds, containing notes of sage, vanilla, anise and watermelon. It also feels a little bit more full-bodied than most Arizona Grenache rosé.
The Pairing: My immediate thought is to pair this wine with any sort of honey-baked or smoked ham that you’re planning on having for Christmas dinner. The smoky character imparted by the American oak makes it a no brainer. Hot wings will also work well. A vegetarian pairing is a little harder to come up with, but jackfruit with BBQ sauce I think will do nicely.
Impressions: The 2014 Wide-Eyed Rosé is, quite frankly, just plain weird, in a good way. It’s a novel, and refreshing, take on an Arizona classic. The 2015 Wide-Eyed Rosé is made in a similar mode, though the oak notes are less pronounced. This wine reminds us that sometimes we need to see the world again through the wide-eyed wonder of a small child. (Or so the message on the label indicates to me, anyway: “Sometimes we forget who we really are.”)
Therefore, I have to admit I see this wine as being close to the personification of Sir Richard Attenborough; someone who shares their wide-eyed wonder at the world around them with others, with infectious enthusiasm.