I don’t know how things are going weather wise for you all, but Ann Arbor has finally had a few sunnier days and temperatures have begun to rise. All this lured me into craving a rosé (or blush) wine. I have a weak spot for Rosés. Always had. While growing up, one of my favorite wines was a Portugieser Weißherbst made by my winemaker friend Pitt Zimmermann in my hometown. Portugieser is the grape, and Weißherbst is a German denomination for a rosé wine that is made from just one grape variety and from one single vineyard. I loved that wine: It was always served very cold, was quite sweet and always hit you with strawberries all over the place.
Over the years, it has become a bit too sweet for my taste buds, but when home I still enjoy a glass or two of this wine. Let’s call it one of the gateway drugs…
For those not familiar with Rosé, it is a wine made from red grapes. Unlike red wine, the pressed must does not sit on the skins and stems for long (or at all). Since the color in red wine comes from the skin, and the juice is white just like in a white grape, this leads to just slight discoloration in the wine, hence the name rosé (or blush). Many regions produce these wines, and there are some general rules: Rosés from Southern France tend to be the most dry of all Rosés. Very dry are usually also the Spanish wines of that kind. American and German Rosés tend to be sweeter, with more residual sugar. To me, there is a place for both. While the Southern European versions are great food companions, I actually enjoy a bit of residual sugar in terrace or garden slurpers, when I have the wine on its own.
I bought four of these bottles of Maxwell Creek during a flash sale on Wines Till Soldout and this was the first of the four I opened. I paid $9 per bottle, I believe. “Maxwell Creek Cellars” is located in Rutherford, California. A bit of research showed that it is not a “proper” winery, but rather a filler of wines apparently serving as a second label to sell off overcapacity. The great news about that is that it is usually produce from good wineries just sold under a generic name which comes with a steep cut in price. I was unable to unearth much more about this wine or label, so if you know more please let me know in the comments section!
The wine had 13.7% ABV. Winehoarder declares that the grape varieties used in the wine are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot.
First off, I have to say I LOVED the color of the 2011 Maxwell Creek Rosé. It was a darker red that I associate with strawberries. I so love that color and prefer it over the more salmony or orange looking rosés. The nose was very fruity, just what I wanted and had hoped for: strawberries, gooseberry and peach, some water melon. Really draws you in if you like fruit-forward aromas. On the palate, the wine was quite light-bodied, with good acidity and some tannin giving it body. To me, peach and cream flavors dominated, later gooseberry coming in. It also reminded me of one of the ubiquitous blends in Germany of sparkling wine and vineyard peach liqueur (just without the bubbles). There was some slight bitterness in the finish, which I think might come from the pretty high alcohol level, which overall led to an unbalanced wine. Nina remarked that for her, the wine was too sweet in the middle section and then not good enough at the end. I thought that was a pretty good explanation of what is going on. There is definitely some sweetness to this wine which many will probably not appreciate. The finish overall is disappointing.
But what can I say? The wine was not impressive or anything special (except for the nose). However, I think this is another example of a wine I only want to drink on a summer afternoon, sitting in the sun. And then it will hit all the right notes and all the right points. It was definitely not the right day to open this bottle with the 45-50 F we are having right now. But I am happy that I have three more bottles to open this summer.