Wine of the Week: Sidebar Rosé

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Rosé

TOP PICK

Sidebar

Sidebar, 2015 Russian River Valley Rosé, 12.5% alcohol, $21. ★★★★

This is knockout, a bone dry rose with aromas and flavors of watermelon, strawberry and mineral. It finishes crisp, with a lingering note of strawberry.

Tasty ALTERNATIVES

Stephen Ross, 2015 Edna Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir, 13.5%, $24. ★★★1/2: This rose wins you over with its bright red fruit -- strawberry and cherry -- coupled with its crisp acidity. Good minerality. Nice length.

Castello di Amorosa’s Gioia, 2015 California Rosato di Sangiovese Rose, 14.2%, $26. ★★★: This is a weighter version of rose, with wild berry and melon flavors. This is a wine for people who like a lot of upfront fruit to dominate.

Dark Horse, 2015 California Rosé, $8. ★★★: This is a slightly sweet rose with bright strawberry and rosemary notes. The wine benefits from tangy grenache in the mix. Crisp finish. A solid pick for the budget-minded.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Sofia, 2015 Monterey County Rosé, 12.8%, $19. ★★★: This is a blend of pinot noir and syrah grapes, a refreshing quaff that’s uncomplicated. Bright acidity gives it lift.

_____

Peg Melnik's wine blog: Tasting Room

The brand Sidebar likely appeals to millennials because of its modest price point and a design that accentuates youth.

It’s not surprising that one of its tasty bottlings is our wine-of-the-week winner, the Sidebar, 2015 Russian River Valley Rosé at $21.

It’s a knockout, a bone dry rosé with aromas and flavors of watermelon, strawberry and mineral. It finishes crisp, with a lingering note of strawberry.

David Ramey and wife Carla, of Healdsburg’s Ramey Wine Cellars, are the co-vintners behind the brand.

“David thought of the name Sidebar, a term reflecting our intention to create both a foil and a complement to Ramey wines,” said Lydia Cummins, the brand’s winemaker.

Cummins, 36, said Sidebar benefits from Ramey’s 40 years of experience in making classically styled wines, while highlighting different grape varieties that benefit from a fresher, younger style, such as sauvignon blanc and rosé.

Ramey’s daughter, 26-year-old Claire, has had a strong creative influence on the brand from its infancy.

“She helps me with frequent fruit sampling prior to harvest,” Cummins said.

What gives this rosé the edge is that it’s made from syrah, a versatile variety that is picked earlier than other grapes to give it a crisp vitality, Cummins explained.

“In the bottle, this translates to a livelier mouth feel and lower alcohol (12.5% by volume), balanced by delicate fruit,” she said. “The result is rosé you can drink all day, from Eggs Benedict at brunch to Fresh Corn Salad and Sausage at dinner, though it’s delicious on its own as well.”

Cummins found the allure of winemaking irresistible.

“I was studying chemistry in school, but it felt abstract until I thought about it through the lens of wine,” she said. “Wine made chemistry concrete and tied it to memories of my family sharing wine at dinner, growing up.”

Cummins graduated from UC Davis in 2005 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in viticulture and enology, and she moved to Sonoma County in 2006.

After working with syrah and sauvignon blanc in South Africa at Boekenhoutskloof Winery, Cummins worked at Williams Selyem and Kosta Browne before finding Ramey.

What makes her a great fit to produce wine?

“Winemaking requires constant attention to detail and dedication to improvement,” she said. “I’m always looking to learn more and put that knowledge into practice. And, of course, I love drinking wine.”

Rosé

TOP PICK

Sidebar

Sidebar, 2015 Russian River Valley Rosé, 12.5% alcohol, $21. ★★★★

This is knockout, a bone dry rose with aromas and flavors of watermelon, strawberry and mineral. It finishes crisp, with a lingering note of strawberry.

Tasty ALTERNATIVES

Stephen Ross, 2015 Edna Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir, 13.5%, $24. ★★★1/2: This rose wins you over with its bright red fruit -- strawberry and cherry -- coupled with its crisp acidity. Good minerality. Nice length.

Castello di Amorosa’s Gioia, 2015 California Rosato di Sangiovese Rose, 14.2%, $26. ★★★: This is a weighter version of rose, with wild berry and melon flavors. This is a wine for people who like a lot of upfront fruit to dominate.

Dark Horse, 2015 California Rosé, $8. ★★★: This is a slightly sweet rose with bright strawberry and rosemary notes. The wine benefits from tangy grenache in the mix. Crisp finish. A solid pick for the budget-minded.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Sofia, 2015 Monterey County Rosé, 12.8%, $19. ★★★: This is a blend of pinot noir and syrah grapes, a refreshing quaff that’s uncomplicated. Bright acidity gives it lift.

_____

Peg Melnik's wine blog: Tasting Room

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