Hess Select Rosé 2019, California
Cost: $11-13
R osé is never out of season, especially in a place like Augusta. At our house we drink it all year long. I don’t even have to ask my wife Teri if she would like a rosé with dinner because she always says yes.
I might feel differently if there were 12 inches of snow or 20-degree weather outside, but I doubt it. A good, dry rosé is such a versatile wine you can drink it in many different situations, including cooler weather.
It is such a versatile wine, you could find a rosé that would pair with just about any food. We have even enjoyed it with spicy food and Asian food.
The folks at the Hess Collection make a wide variety of great wines, but this Hess Select Rosé from California may be one of the best. Priced at $11-13, it certainly is one of the best bargains.
This wine is a delight to the senses. A pale coral pink in the glass makes it appealing at first sight. Pleasant floral and stone fruit aromas lead to fresh fruit flavors such as cherries, peaches and red berries. The explosion of fruit flavors is balanced by a burst of crisp acidity to give the wine an elegant finish. It is a dry wine without being bone dry.
The wine is made of 100 percent pinot noir grapes sourced from California’s best wine regions. The company likes to get its grapes from family focused sustainable vineyards. For this rosé the winemakers identified vineyard sites producing grapes with approachable acids and balanced fruit notes.
The juice was fermented in stainless steel, without oak influence to accentuate the wine’s crisp and expressive flavors. The 2019 growing season started late because of rain and cool temperatures, but summer and fall proved ideal. Warm days and cool nights allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and completely. Sugar, tannin and acid levels all balanced perfectly. Fruit was picked at peak ripeness.
Hess Select wines are sourced from family-owned estate vineyards and from grower families throughout California who share the guiding principle that founder Donald Hess instilled in the family business: “nurture the land and return what you take.”
Winery: Hess Family Wine Estates is a family-owned company now run by the fifth generation. The company is dedicated to responsible agriculture and responsible business practices.
The portfolio includes The Hess Collection, Lions Head Collection, Hess Select and MacPhail wines from California, Bodegas Colomé and Amalaya wines from Argentina, and Artezin from Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
The company was founded in Switzerland in 1844. When Donald Hess, a Swiss businessman, first visited Napa, he was drawn to Mount Veeder’s volcanic slopes. He believed this region provided the ideal combination of soils and microclimates to yield elegant wines with rich, complex flavors. He first purchased land on Mount Veeder in 1978, and since has expanded the business to own vineyards scattered throughout Napa Valley in diverse areas, from cool climate to hot and from steep slopes in the mountains to gentle slopes near the bay.
In 1986, Donald Hess established the Hess Collection Winery on Mount Veeder. He leased original winery buildings on the property from the neighboring Christian Brothers, and renovated the facilities to establish what is now a modern winery that includes 13,000 square feet of Donald Hess’ personal contemporary art collection. Just seeing the art collection is worth the drive up Mount Veeder.
The winery is best known for its flagship Mount Veeder cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay wines, and single vineyard designates from estate vineyards in Napa Valley.
In 2008 The Hess Collection was among the first 10 wineries to receive certification as a Napa Green Winery. One spring, The Hess Collection purchased 24 goats – all of whom turned out to be pregnant – for ground clearing and underbrush management in their Mount Veeder estate vineyards.  Now, a large herd of goats are released into the vineyards prior to bud break to help with weed control, minimizing the use of tractors and tilling.
In 2011 Donald Hess formally retired from The Hess Collection and Hess Family Wine Estates.  His son-in-law Timothy Persson was named to lead The Hess Collection as Chief Executive Officer, the fifth generation of the Hess family to provide leadership.
Goes with: We had this refreshing wine with one of my favorite chicken recipes, slow-cooked chicken on the grill. It is one of the easiest things to fix, if you have patience and if you can keep the temperature low on the grill.
To prepare the chicken I cut off extra fat and some skin, sprinkle the meat all over with Morton Nature’s Seasons and put it on a grill at about 250 degrees or lower. I also periodically squirt mop sauce on the chicken. It takes 60-90 minutes to cook.
The mop sauce consists of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, a generous amount of Nature’s Seasons, two or three tablespoons of chopped garlic, two or three tablespoons of brown sugar, a handful of red pepper flakes, and Kosher salt. The amounts can vary, depending on your taste.
Boil the mixture for 10-15 minutes and after it cools pour it into a spray bottle.
To celebrate the building of a new fellowship hall at my church, Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, we had a dinner after church a couple of weeks ago. We fed more than 160 people with chicken leg quarters, rice, green beans, rolls and a few other things.
We did the chicken on my large grill and it turned out just right with crisp skin, moist inside and full of flavor. The meat was falling off the bones when we served it.
We had leftovers so I took some home for dinner that night. The flavors of the chicken were a great match to the wine. All the bright fruit flavors brought out the savory flavors in the chicken. I added some hash brown potatoes to round out the meal.
This wine also would pair well with sweet and salty combinations, such as proscuitto and melon salad, fresh shellfish and light cheeses.

If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at dennis@bottlereport.com

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