Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#WineStudio Rosé: 2014 Donelan Rosé Sonoma County Syrah / Grenache / Pinot Noir

The third week of the Protocol #WineStudio Rosé series features more Sonoma County rosé, this time from Donelan Family Wines in the 2014 Rosé Sonoma County Syrah / Grenache / Pinot Noir ($25, 13.3%). Now, we all enjoy a nice GSM wine, but a GSP? This shall be interesting.

But first, Donelan winemaker Joe Nielson answered our questions regarding the wine's production. It is made using the Saignee method, where the grapes are loaded into tanks and juice is pulled after short skin contact of 1 hr to 24 hrs. The extracted juice represents 5% to 20% of total volume as it serves a dual purpose of making the red wine, from the remaining juice, more concentrated and allowing for the production of a second wine - a rosé. The exact percentages in the blend is 55% Syrah, 29% Grenache and 16% Pinot Noir, with all juice fermented in neutral oak - similar to fermenting Chardonnay. Nielson believes prefers neutral oak over concrete/stainless steel because "it helps with micro-ox which keeps #rhone wine from stinkin'". The grapes were harvested across multiple Sonoma County vineyards with the lots interestingly named #babs #direstraits #DavidLeeRoth #Prince #BonJovi  - all #terroir driven personality. The one exception to the saignee juice came from the #Prince lot from Bennett Valley, which was lightly pressed.

The result is a wine where the acids comes alive providing a clear contrast to the creamy center and tropical nose. Mango and pineapple comprise those tropical attributes; the neutral oak rounds out the finish and contributes that creamy palate. The acids are key though, helped along by the Syrah harvested from the cooler Russian River Valley Walker Vine Hill and Kobler vineyards. This is a solid wine, one to savor. Well done. Cheers.

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