Honig Cabernet Sauvignon Pink is great for grilling.

S ummer is the perfect time for Rose wines, and it seems like all the wine clubs I’m in are shipping them. Local wine shops also have a great selection right now.

This week my wife Teri and I were at our lake house in Modoc Shores and we had a wonderful Rose from Honig Vineyard and Winery in Napa Valley. It’s called Cabernet Sauvignon Pink. The winery says it will donate 10% from the sale of each bottle to aid in the fight against breast cancer.

The overall experience with the wine was wonderful. We sat on the deck looking out at beautiful Thurmond Lake (Remember, we were in South Carolina. If we were on the Georgia side I’d call it Clarks Hill Lake.), waiting for our hamburgers to cook on the grill.

Honig Cab Pink

The wine was great as a sipper with a few nibbles of cheese, but it was even better with the hamburgers. The color is a beautiful pale pink. It had some nice red berry aromas

The wine also had plenty of flavor. It’s not a wimpy pink wine, but a medium-bodied Cabernet that pairs wonderfully with grilled meat.

We picked up all kinds of fruit flavors, but mostly strawberry, watermelon and plum. It was refreshing and bright with a good balance between fruit and acidity. The finish was crisp.

The wine was made from Cabernet juice drained from freshly crushed grapes and fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks. Sauvignon Blanc and Petit Verdot were added to balance flavor and color.

The grapes were picked from select blocks in Napa Valley Oct. 14-17, 2011 and bottled in January. That might sound like a short time from vineyard to bottle, but the process did not shortchange the flavor.

Inside the Honig tasting room.
Another view of the tasting room.

Winery: In 1964, Louis Honig purchased a 68-acre ranch in the heart of the Napa Valley and planted it with Sauvignon blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. He sold the fruit to neighboring wineries with the dream of retiring one day from his San Francisco advertising business and making wine from his vineyard in Rutherford. Before he could realize his dream, Louis passed away, leaving the estate to his children and grandchildren. In 1981, as a tribute to his legacy, the family rallied together to produce several hundred cases of Louis Honig Sauvignon Blanc in the vineyard’s old tractor barn. The wine won a Gold Medal at the Orange County Fair, and thus, the winery was born.

Three years later, Louis’ grandson, Michael Honig, 23, took over management of the vineyard and winery. He drove all over the state to get the winery’s Sauvignon Blanc into most fine restaurants in California. In 1987, they began producing small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The family business grew with the addition of family members  Regina Weinstein in 1997, Steven Honig in 2000, and Stephanie Honig in 2007.  In 1998, winemaker Kristin Belair joined the family to produce award winning Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon that is now featured on the wine lists of hundreds of fine restaurants across the country.

The bee on the label is a nod to the family’s name, which is the German word for “honey.” When you make a purchase at their inviting tasting room they usually include a small jar of honey.

Verdict: If you like full-bodied reds, this is the wine for you in the hot summer months when some of the heavier wines just aren’t as refreshing. It’s a Rose for red wine lovers.

The wine is 94.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3.6% Sauvignon Blanc and 1.8% Petit Verdot. It should be served chilled.

I’m not sure if this wine is available locally because I received it as part of a wine club shipment from Honig. The price is about $30 a bottle, and it’s well worth it for this caliber of Rose.

I’ve got a few other Rose wines I’m anxious to try now. Honig has set the bar high.

From: Honig Vineyard & Winery, Napa Valley
Cost: $30
Year: 2011

Winery: Honig Vineyard & Winery, 800-929-2217. www.honigwine.com

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