Long Meadow Ranch Rosé of Pinot Noir 2018, Anderson Valley
Cost: $24-26
A nice dry rosé is great any time of year, but most people seem to turn to these wines in the spring and summer. There’s something about sipping rosé on the porch or at a picnic that feels right.
There seem to be more interesting rosés now than ever before so the wine has to be something special to stand out from the crowd.
The Long Meadow Ranch rosé of pinot noir ($24-26) is just that. It is a brilliant pale pink color in the glass with inviting floral aromas mixed with strawberries and peaches. It has good body but it feels light and elegant.
I would call it mouthwatering because with every sniff and every sip, you want more of this lovely wine. Stone fruit and strawberry flavors have a hint of spice leading to a long, smooth finish. This is much more than a pleasant summer sipper; it also is a great wine for light suppers or elegant dinners.
The 2018 vintage was a cooler and slower season in Anderson Valley. Those conditions produce delicate and elegant wines. The grapes matured slowly, developing complex flavors in the pinot noir.
This wine is 100 percent pinot noir. The rosé was produced by 69 percent direct press method and 31 percent saignée, with fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The saignée method means some of the juice from a red wine is drained off the tank before fermentation finishes. This wine is blended with rosé produced by the direct press method.
Direct press wines are more aromatic, while the saignée wine tends to be darker and more full-bodied. Blending the two styles together gives the winemaker the best of both worlds.
As you choose your rosé this summer keep these tips in mind:
It should smell clean and have fresh aromas, especially fruit, such as ripe peaches, apricot and berries.
A good rosé also could have fresh floral aromas.
As you sip the wine you should taste bright fruit-forward notes, and with some wines, complex flavors like minerality.
There may be high acid content, but if it nicely balances the fruit, it will be a pleasant taste that goes well with food.
Look for a rosé that is pleasant to sip on its own but is versatile enough to pair with many foods.
With so many rosés available you should be able to find one that over-performs for the price, or is worth more to you than what you paid for it.
Winery: The Long Meadow Ranch property has a long history, stretching back to the late 1800s when it was full of vineyards, apple orchards, olive groves, hay and a goat milk dairy. The property was dormant during Prohibition and was losing ground to the surrounding forest until Ted and Laddie Hall bought it in 1989.
Working with son Chris they revitalized the property in the Mayacamas Mountains and made a home there. They replanted the vineyards and apple orchards and cut back the abandoned olive trees. The estate now has 650 acres, and the family farms more than 2,000 acres of grapes, olives, fruit, vegetable and pasture in three counties.
The ranch began after the Civil war when President Ulysses S. Grant signed a land patent giving 640 acres to veteran E.J. Church. The Halls brought the ranch back to its glory days with an integrated, organic farming system. Each piece works together in complementary fashion: vineyards and wine making, olive orchards and olive oil making, cattle and horse breeding, the egg-laying poultry flock and the organic vegetable gardens.
All crops are grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers.
Ted and Laddie were introduced by family in Texas, but their romance blossomed on the East Coast. Ted was attending Princeton University and Laddie the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
They married in 1971 and after a short time in the military they moved to Northern California so Ted could attend business school at Stanford University. The California move ignited a love of winemaking in Ted and he soon dreamed of owning his own vineyard.
He worked in the industry and became chairman of the board of The Robert Mondavi Corporation before it was bought by Constellation Brands.
Once a professional trombonist, Hall has stayed with his music even while creating a career in wine. In 1977 he co-founded and led a 17-piece big band in San Francisco, known as the Midnight Rounds. He also co-founded a jazz record label. He still performs with local groups, including the LMR All Start Big Band.
Long Meadow Ranch grew in 2015, when the Hall family bought 145 acres planted with 69 acres of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris. Cooled by breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean the estate is perfect for growing pinot and chardonnay.
The couple also produces cabernet sauvignon, merlot and sauvignon blanc from estate vineyards in Mayacamas and Rutherford.
The ranch operates a sustainable food, wine, and agricultural education destination located in St. Helena, which is anchored by the distinctive farm-to-table restaurant, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch. Besides tasting wine there you can get a tasting of bourbon, rye and whiskey.
Last year they opened a new tasting room in Anderson Valley at The Madrones, a boutique resort on Highway 128 in Philo. Several other wineries operate tasting rooms there, too.
Goes with: We had this with a simple summer dinner of steamed shrimp with a tossed salad. The shrimp are wild-caught from Edisto Beach, and whenever we go there we always bring some back and freeze them.
It is a simple meal, but the shrimp are tasty and the complexity of the wine adds a special note. The fresh fruit flavors from the pinot noir grapes make the shrimp flavors really pop. We serve the shrimp with plenty of spicy cocktail sauce, so the wine also helps cool off our taste buds.
I would serve this with many different dishes, from roast chicken to summer salads, to pulled pork, to fruit salads or roasted garden vegetables. It also would pair well with a wide variety of cheeses.
Chill the wine well before serving and let it warm up in your glass as you drink it. The aromas and flavors will continue to unfold throughout your meal.

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

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