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December 7, 2012 Wine Pick of the Week

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2012 Nouveau image Picmonkey

 

2012 Nouveau

Rosé of Pinot Noir

 

Producer: River Road Vineyards

Appellation: Russian River Valley

Alcohol: 12.5%

Suggested Retail: $14.95

 

“This wine is a riff on a French tradition. Each year at the third week of November, Beaujolais Nouveau is released. It's a red wine made from Gamay grapes that were still on the vine a couple of months earlier. Supposedly an early indicator of quality of the vintage, it's also something of a marketing triumph. The fervor has quieted these days, but plenty of Gallic hype used to go into the race to see which cafes and bistros in Paris could have the product available on the first day it was legal to sell (until a couple of unfortunate accidents happened in the pursuit of this November dash). Not intended as a 'serious' wine, Beaujolais Nouveau is actually a pleasant drink—light and full of fruit. And it's a killer pairing with roast turkey.

“Our Wine Pick of this Week is the 2012 Nouveau from Russian River Road Vineyards and Winery. Unlike the aforementioned Gamay Beaujolais, it's not a red wine but is a rosé—and a pale one, at that. What it does share with it's French cousin is a fresh and easy-to-drink style. We found it had subtle aromas and flavors of watermelon and strawberries. The wine was thoroughly chilled when we first tasted it and we were initially a little disappointed, thinking there just wasn't enough personality there. However, returning to the bottle when it might have been described as 'cool' rather than 'chilled,' made quite a difference. The Nouveau's charms, still more subtle than forward, began to show. Strawberry aromas could be detected and a nice round feel in the mouth showed itself.

“At $14.95 it's a little steep when you consider that there are many nice French (and Spanish and Italian) rosés for less, but it's a style—and a tradition—that should be encouraged in California. Winemaker Joe Freeman plans to make a Nouveau for release the first week of every December.”

Food Affinity: The wine was tasted on its own and later paired with a fettucine and poached salmon dish, served in a light creamy sauce. It worked well.