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The Vin Gris’ delicate hue speaks of purity. Born of whole-cluster pressed Pinot Noir, its copper-tinged salmon color recalls spring in Napa Valley. The wine’s beguiling aromas of bright fresh berries and herbs are a delight. A taste induces smiles with a wide palate of refreshing flavors: wild strawberry, cranberry, and watermelon rind, all scented with an implacable category defying floral herb note. Be warned... once a bottle is opened, willpower will be challenged and you will be hard pressed not to finish it. We suggest sharing with a friend or two.
It would be nice if we could figure out how to make more Vin Gris without compromising our ideals, but we can’t.
20 years of Vin Gris!
We are in the midst of revolution. Tastes in wine are morphing, leaving many winemakers wondering where their customer went. The old axiom, “Talk dry, drink sweet” is giving way to, “Talk dry, drink balanced!”
About ten years ago, I participated in a wine event called Valley of the Bobs whereas every winemaker or vintner named Robert was invited to pour the wine of their choice paired with food. Since I was seated next to Bob of “White Zinfandel Home” fame, I thought I would show our Vin Gris of Pinot Noir Rosé. The wine, as always, was bright, crisp and floral, eliciting a smile from all who tasted. When I finished my talk, White Zin Bob leaned over and said, “If you’d leave some sugar in it, you’d make a lot more money!”
He was probably right. We could have purchased inexpensive fruit, salvaged some saignée wine then covered up shortcomings with sugar, but that would not make a wine we would want to drink. So instead, we grow certified organic and Biodynamic Pinot Noir on prime Carneros land, whole cluster press the fruit, ferment dry in stainless steel fermenters and let good farming and purity speak for themselves.
Twenty years ago, we could not give this wine away. No one wanted a dry rosé. A matter of fact, fine dining establishments and conspicuous wine drinkers did not want any rosé for fear that preconceptions would lead people to assume that all pink wines were low-class, White Zin. Sweet pink wine may have been a cash cow for some, but the European dry style was suffering from pigmentation association.
It took a leap of faith and a little perseverance to find people who enjoyed our New World meets Old World style of Vin Gris. Fortunately, we found an audience... or I should say, they found us. The Vin Gris is now our fastest selling wine.
RSV has always aspired to make elegant, balanced wines that are true and pure. The Vin Gris has been a labor of love. Thank you for indulging us in our pursuit and for making it an “overnight success!”
The Vin Gris unleashes my inner heathen and makes me want to munch and quaff with delight. It has a versatility that fires my imagination with culinary possibilities. That said, I do like to keep things simple sometimes, and this Golden Goat Cheese and Olive Triangle recipe is about as simple as it gets. I like how the bright, delicate, red berry fruit of the Vin Gris is a perfect foil for these salty, crispy-creamy, golden goat cheese and olive triangles of goodness. So what are you waiting for? Simple pleasures await... get to it!
Until the next wine…
It would be nice if we could figure out how to make more Vin Gris without compromising our ideals, but we can’t. Nature decides how much we will make and nature decides the quality of the wine. She has been a cruel mistress in that she has given us superlative fruit, but not much of it.
RSV grows all the Pinot Noir for this wine on Certified organic and Biodynamic Carneros Vineyards. The 2010 vintage started out perfectly for the Pinot Noir grape with nice set and a cool growing season. The Carneros fog persisted late into the season threatening the clusters with mildew, prompting a leaf pulling session that was completed just in time for a heat spike, causing a little sunburn damage but also coaxing the grapes to optimal ripeness. Selective dropping of sunburnt fruit and diligence at the press made sure only the best clusters joined the party.
Those select clusters went into the press whole (RSV never uses the saignée method to make the Vin Gris) and the gently extracted juice fermented in stainless steel. It is a simple philosophy: grow the grapes well and let them speak with their own voice.