Buena Vista Rose of Syrah with grilled chicken.
Buena Vista Rose of Syrah with grilled chicken.

M any people have been scared away from rose wines because of a negative experience with white Zinfandel, but you really should give them a try. There are some outstanding roses on the market, and this is one of them.

For summer dining a rose gives you the best of both worlds. You get the fruit and body of a red combined with the lighter feel and coolness of a white wine. It’s a refreshing and satisfying combination.

I picked up cherry and blackberry flavors in this wine, and a fruity, vibrant nose. It has a little more weight than many roses, and that was good with the meal we had.

Buena Vista Rose of Syrah.
Buena Vista Rose of Syrah.

A true rose is made with red grapes, leaving the skins in the fermenting tank for only a short time. Then the grapes are pressed and the skins are removed, leaving a nice pink color to the juice. The color can range from pale salmon to a deep red. The Buena Vista is on the darker side, almost a plum color.

I think I bought this wine through the Buena Vista wine club, but I hope I can find it in local wine shops. It is a fun, but serious, wine for the summer. Serve this wine well chilled.

I came across the wine as I was putting wine back into my new wine cellar, built my by friend Mark Rhodes of Vinworx. It’s great fun rediscovering wines I bought and then lost track of. As I put the wines back into the gorgeous cellar made of cherry, I am cataloging them in database program that will help me keep track of everything. It looks like Teri and I will have to keep drinking wine as I run across more forgotten treasures.

The new cellar, which still needs trim work and more bottles of wine.
The new cellar, which still needs trim work and more bottles of wine.

From: Carneros
Winery: Buena Vista has a long and colorful history. It was founded in 1857 by County Agoston Haraszthy who came to California from Europe following the gold rush. He thought he might find purple gold but soon ran into difficulties. He settled in Sonoma, birthplace of California and capital of the short-lived California Republic.

The self-styled Count of Buena Vista was an eccentric pioneer who was committed to the California wine industry.

He took on as partners a group of financiers mostly from San Francisco. They founded the Buena Vista Vinicultural Society and within two years were producing two million gallons of wine a year.

Price fell as the wine industry grew. By 1866 Haraszthy resigned from his post as superintendent of the winery.

The property later became a private home and lost much of the vines during an outbreak of phyloxer before World War I.

Wine production began again in the 1940s. The property was sold several times until it was bought by Boisset Family Estates, led by Jean-Charles Boisset, in May 2011.

The original hand-dug caves are still on site, and have been re-opened to visitors for tours after a reconstruction effort led by Boisset. The visitor center, located inside the original wine press house, provides access to the original champagne cellar.

The tasting room is a great place to visit and offers picnic tables outside. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The winery produces 100,000 cases of wine a year.

Purchased: Winery
Cost: $22
Year: 2010
Goes with: A good rose is a great wine for summertime drinking, so my wife Teri and I took advantage of a warm day to start checking out the roses we want to drink this year. We had the Buena Vista with grilled chicken with my favorite barbecue sauce, Mumbo from the South Side of Chicago.

I soak the chicken and baste it with an apple cider vinegar/red pepper flakes mop sauce. Then I sear the chicken for a few minutes over direct heat on my charcoal grill before cooking it over indirect heat for as long as it takes. The chicken comes out juicy and tender with a great flavor.
We added spaetzle made by Cheap Bastard Dan and Mrs. Dan (or Heather, as I call her), with gravy. Yum, yum. Teri added salads and peas.

The Buena Vista Rose was a perfect pairing. It’s fruit nicely matched the tangy barbecue flavor. This wine will go well with all kinds of barbecue cooking this summer, grilled salmon, as well as cheese, chips, nuts and other snacks.

It’s a good wine to keep around for summer snacking.

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