Looks Good, Tastes Better Rosé Flight: Eric Kent Wine Cellars, Bedell Cellars, and Babylonstoren

Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to discuss design influence on rosé wine labels on #winestudio, an educational conversation about wine that takes place on Twitter every Tuesday at 9PM EST. Come mid to late spring, when the weather warms up, you are likely to see walls and walls of rosé, in myriad shades of pink, lining shelves at your local wine shop and grocer. And as competition heats up, so does creativity. Many producers pour (pun intended) great emphasis into label aesthetics. A bottle needs to say: “I caught you looking, so buy me, chill me, and try me.” For retailers, summer is peak time to promote and sell rosé. During the warm months, pink wines along with varietals like Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, are usually recurring staples of free in-store weekend tastings.

"The pursuit of making fine wine goes on forever. Each vintage brings new challenges and triumphs, more discoveries and deeper desires. Palates evolve, knowledge grows, new vineyards beckon ... ideas flow. It’s really about the journey after all." ~ Eric Kent Wine Cellars 

With autumn just around the corner, retailers are moving to fall reds. What is left of the season’s pink wines is usually heavily discounted in stores, tasting rooms and online. For consumers, now is the time to buy! Drier style rosés are versatile and one of the most food-friendly wines out there. You should be enjoying them year-round! And you absolutely must have a pink wine (or three) in the mix for Turkey Day—trust me on this one. Not only will any of the bottles featured in this post look great on the Thanksgiving table, they will also taste good and pair well with just about everything on your plate. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Without a doubt, rosé is the perfect wine to have in your glass when the weather heats up. But the refreshing and food-friendly pink-hued sips are good all year round. Instead of courting them seasonally, try having a long-term relationship with rosé. You won’t be disappointed! I haven’t been.  

Eric Kent Wine Cellars
2017 Sonoma Coast Rosé (SRP $22): Eric Kent Wine Cellars combine the shared passions of wine and art of owner and winemaker Kent Humphry and wife Colleen Teitgen. For over ten years, the couple has promoted inspiring artists they believe in. The bottle’s striking artwork is designed by author and artist Yellena James. Composed of 77% Pinot Noir, 17% Syrah, and 6% Grenache, the color of this rosé looks like liquefied watermelon. In the mouth, it’s fresh and juicy with a lovely mix of red summer berries and orchard fruit, with delicate underlying minerals and just a hint of white flowers. Robustly fruity and refreshing, this rosé can stand up to more substantial foods like barbeque and grilled or smoked white meats. Only 754 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Sonoma Coast, California. Other info: ABV 14.1%, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

“We are a small player on the world stage but our wines have big ambitions. We have a long sustained track record of success. Our wines reflect the quintessential regional style of the North Fork which can’t be found anywhere else in the country.” ~ Bedell Cellars

Bedell Cellars 2017 Taste Rosé (SRP $18): Bedell Cellars was founded by the Bedell Family in 1980. Celebrated in the early 90s for wine pioneer Kip Bedell’s estate-grown Merlot, Bedell is a point of reference for quality and one of the most recognizable (winery) names coming out of Long Island. In 2000, art collector Michael Lynne purchased the winery. As was done previously, the winery continues to craft small batches of wine from sustainably grown grapes using only indigenous yeasts. Artist Barbara Kruger’s artwork appears on the bottle. It’s an image that’s sure to grab your attention. You can almost hear the lady on the label saying “taste,” in a low, sultry voice. And you’ll be glad that you did taste it! This wine is a blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 5% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is vibrant from start to finish, and with lean texture. There are flavors of bright red-toned fruits—most notably strawberries—along with rose petals and hints of savory herbs, all wrapped in a racy acidity. What’s not to like? Region: North Fork of Long Island, New York. Other info: ABV 11%, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

“Choosing a wine can feel like being lost in a forest. There are too many choices and not enough information. Look beyond just the famous names and places and discover the excitement of the path less traveled. Try something new, something different. Every cork is a call to adventure.” ~ Red Wolf Imports

Babylonstoren 2016 Mourvèdre Rosé (SRP $22): This rosé was put on my radar by way of Red Wolf Imports, a small importing company owned by Alyssan and Ian Wolf who specialize in bringing hand-picked South African wines to a wine shop near you. The attractive laser-etched drawing on the label embodies Babylonstoren, a historic Cape Dutch farm and resort. The pipe represents the farmer, the flower represents the garden, and the bird represents nature. Pictures I’ve seen of this destination are postcard-pretty. The salmon-colored juice inside the bottle is quite tasty. Lifted aromas of raspberry and strawberry are joined by citrus fruit and dried floral suggestions, ending with a pithy, refreshing finish. It is just what you want on a warm summer day, though the wine’s fresh character and crunchy acidity makes it an extremely food-friendly option any time of year. Region: Simonsberg-Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa. Other info: ABV 13%, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

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