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Fall into Rosé & Sonoma Pinot Noir


The other day I got an email about rosé wine promotions in several restaurants for the month of October in New York and San Fransico. While we drink rosé until it sells out, it seems that for many folks rosé has a season, summer and then it goes away until the following spring.  Why the change? Who knows; but I can think of several reasons to continue drinking rosé.  Now that does not mean that you forgo drinking anything else. Certainly with cooler temperatures (if you are lucky) a red wine is a must. Perhaps not a big Cab but there are plenty of light-bodied reds calling my name that I want to share with you as well.  So I gathered a few Sonoma County Pinot Noirs to enjoy before I head out there next month. So let’s get started.

Drinking Rosé into the Fall

Americans have not always been fans of rosé wine. I blame White Zinfandel, and it’s sweet kool-aid-like style.  Honestly, I can not tell you how many times I have asked someone if they would like a glass of rosé and the response is, “No thanks, I do not like sweet wine.” So then I offer them a small taste and “wah-la,” I have a new rosé fan. For the record, White Zin is sweet, and rosé is dry.

But marketers can not run around the country pouring samples to the doubters, so instead, they created a marketing campaign extolling the virtues of rosé for summer. Rosé starts showing up in fashion magazines, a celeb or two posts an Instagram pic and now the country can not get enough. That is until Labor Day, and then sales drop because everyone was told this is a summer wine.



If you drink white wine all year round, why not pink. Ok, are you still not convinced?

  • The US is the only country that pretty much stops drinking rosé when summer ends.
  • It will cut through the richness of hearty soups and stews.
  • Rosé makes a perfect cocktail wine.
  • It pairs well with just about anything.
  • All rosé wines are not the same just like all reds and whites are not the same.
  • Some are light and crisp, and some are full and juicy and everything in between.
    rosé all day

So stock up for the rest of the year, but only what you will drink by next years release in the Spring because you don’t collect rosé, you drink it. It does not improve with age so enjoy it while you have it!

Les Champs Clos Sancerre Rosé 2016

After drinking the Paul Thomas Sancerre Rosé that we had brought, our friend saw this bottle at the local market, so she bought it thinking it was the same wine. After a very brief lesson in French wine labels, we popped a bottle. It was remarkably similar to the Paul Thomas. Darker color but similar structure and flavor. It was easy to go back and forth which we did the rest of the evening. This one will be a challenge to track down as I had extreme difficulty is finding the US distribution center. Just know that it was purchased at a Harris Tetter store which is owned by Kroger. So if they have centralized buying, you may find it at a grocery near you. The price is about $23.00 a bottle.

This one will be a challenge to track down as I had extreme difficulty is finding the US distribution center. Just know that it was purchased at a Harris Tetter store which is owned by Kroger. So if they have centralized buying, you may find it at a grocery near you. The price is about $23.00 a bottle.

Rutherford Ranch Reserve Rosé 2016


We have had this Rutherford Ranch Reserve Rosé before, but I thought it was time to post about it again. This is a Napa California wine, so it is not a surprise that the varietals used are what they are – 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot.

This is not your classic French rosé. It is bigger wine and could stand up to a steak. We had it with grilled pork, and it was a great pairing. It is medium-bodied with more fruit than I expected. The fruit is more tart like kiwi but not citrus or tropical. Medium to high acidity. It starts out tart then mellows in the middle and swings back to crisp, puckery “sweet tart” like finish. To me, this is a nice change of pace wine, but not my everyday go-to pink.

Available only direct from the winery for $32.00 per bottle. You can save if you are part of their wine club. We got through a friend, so I am not sure of the savings.


pinot noir

Since I am heading out to Northern California in a month, I picked up a few Sonoma County Pinot Noirs to get me in the mood. I drank these three wines for pure enjoyment without the detailed analysis. I just wanted to have a glass and enjoy the moment. That said, I have some general comments to share.

Pinot Just for the Fun

Of the three wines, Bench is most accurate to old world style. It is light in color, texture, flavor, and style. This one could have handled a chill on it but was also delicious at room temperature. The Schug is probably somewhere in the middle. It is a slightly darker color and bigger in taste and texture. It was smooth and fruitful. The Lincourt was the opposite of Bench. For a Pinot Noir, this is a big wine. Darkest color of the three and big fruit and a slightly velvety texture. This wine is the furthest from old world style, but I probably liked it the most. Perhaps this can explain why I used to drink Meiomi before they ruined it with the mass market, industrial production of it.

I may pick up a few more just for fun. It will be fascinating to compare what is released nationally to stores and what is sold only at the wineries.

All of these wines sell for $20.00 or less. I picked up all three at the Wine Shop on Lockwood. However, these are nationally distributed wines so you should be able to find at any independent wine store.

pinot noir

pinot noir






  1. Suzanne Harwood

    Rick, If you like a more non-traditional heavier Pinot look for Enroute, it’s made by Far Niente which is also behind Nickel & Nickel. I hope things will be in a place so that your trip isn’t cancelled. The fires are horrific and the loss of life and land is unreal. I’m actually scheduled to go up next Friday, part of my once a month routine. I’ll let you know if that happens.


    • As of now we are a go. The advisor board says it will be important for us to be there. The hotel is not currently in the path of any fires.

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