Arnot Roberts Rosé
The weather the last few days has us thinking that spring is arriving, and this might possibly be a spring where hope and new beginnings are not just figurative, but quite literal. It also has us thinking about rosé, and one of our all time favorites, both for locally made options and just in general, has arrived: Arnot-Roberts.
Arnot Roberts’ rosé isn’t their most famous wine and it certainly isn’t their most expensive. But it may be the wine that most perfectly shows their essential character: respect.
Respect for the environment and farm workers is key, and they work with all their growers to encourage organic farming and minimize their environmental impact. The rosé is no exception.
They also have enormous respect for California’s terroirs and offbeat grapes. Sure, they make stellar, age-worthy wines from some of the state’s most celebrated vineyards (the Martin Ray Pinot stands out to us). But they aren’t just about the famous sites. They know the state is full of amazing and still unheralded regions and they’ve done an incredible job of hunting out great vines in very special spots.
And indeed, their rosé comes from Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cão growing in the Clear Lake AVA—hardly household names. But Duncan and Nathan know the terroir, just south of Mendocino National Forest, with its altitude (1,400 feet) and soils of volcanic rubble over river stones makes for complex and fresh fruit. And the Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cão, although not famous rosé grapes like Grenache or Pinot, have distinct personalities that are worth exploring.
Farming, terroir and grape variety all come together beautifully through their winemaking, a winemaking that shows their respect for the wine itself. It’s easy enough to make an industrial, confected rosé that will sell like gangbusters when the weather gets hot. But this, like all their wines, is a handmade gem: whole-cluster treading with a short maceration to get a naturally light color and extraction; native yeast fermentation; no manipulation.
The result is a wine that’s as joyful to drink as any rosé, but just a little deeper, a little more complex. And one that represents, if you stop to think about it, everything we love about wine.