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Wine of the week: Lucy 2018 Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County Rosé

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This week's blind tasting

Refreshing Rosés

TOP PICK

Lucy

Lucy, 2018 Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County Rosé of Pinot Noir, 13.9% alcohol, $19. ★★★★

This rosé is as refreshing as a sea breeze. Lucy has great complexity but it doesn’t overwhelm its delicate nature. Notes of stone fruit — white peach and nectarine — are center stage, with strawberry and watermelon playing back up. It has great acidity, remarkable balance and it finishes crisp.

Tasty ALTERNATIVES

Sabine, 2018 Bieler Pere & Fils, Aixen Provence, 13%, $14. ★★★★: A pretty rosé with irresistible tangy fruit — wild strawberry coupled with lemon peel. And it all rides on crisp acid. It’s just lovely.

Chateau des Garcinieres, 2017 Cotes de Provence, 13.5%, $24. ★★★1/2: A feminine rosé with delicate raspberry fruit coupled with great minerality. Crisp finish. Tasty.

Etude, 2018 Santa Barbara County Rosé, 13.2%, $25. ★★★★: This rosé is bright and lively with notes of strawberry and cranberry, with a hint of pomegranate. It has a lingering note of wild strawberry that’s striking. Bright acidity. Smart.

Decoy, 2018 California Rosé wine, 13.5%, $20 ★★★★: This is a lovely, crisp rosé with a range of flavors –– pink grapefruit, raspberry, honeydew melon and mineral. It’s balanced with crisp acidity. Nice length.

Books, the ones that draw us in, can change the course of our life. They reel us in with our curiosity and, by the final page, they inspire us to create our own story.

This is the case with Jeff Pisoni, the winemaker of Pisoni Family Vineyards. He was 14 when his father (Gary) gave him his first wine book: Larousse Wines & Vineyards of France.

“I read it cover to cover and was always inspired by the pictures and the idea of ancient wine bottles aging for years in the cellars of France,” Pisoni said. “This may be the reason that today we still keep a large library of every bottle we’ve ever made.”

Pisoni is behind our wine of the week winner –– Lucy, 2018 Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County Rosé of Pinot Noir at $19. This rosé is as refreshing as a sea breeze. Lucy has great complexity but it doesn’t overwhelm its delicate nature. Notes of stone fruit –– white peach and nectarine –– are center stage, with strawberry and watermelon playing back up. It has great acidity, remarkable balance and it finishes crisp.

The Pisoni Family has been growing pinot noir for nearly four decades, and it has certain blocks of young vines that it dedicates to rosé.

“I’d say our style of rosé is elegant and vibrant,” Pisoni said. “I love the rosés from the south of France, and while they are different varieties, I really like the crisp and fresh approach. I also admire that in a region like that there is so much focus –– textbooks, studies, dedicated farming –– particularly for rosé.”

The winemaker said what the uninitiated don’t know about rosé is that it’s a challenge to produce.

“Rosé is a much harder wine to make than it gets credit for,” he said. “It’s a very ‘transparent’ wine that shows its flaws easily. Obtaining purity and beauty is never easy.”

Pisoni, 39, graduated from Fresno State’s Enology Program in 2001. He said he works right alongside his brother, Mark, who is the vineyard manager.

“Grape growing and winemaking are obviously very inter-related, and it’s a huge advantage that our close relationship as brothers overlaps with our close relationship as farmer and winemaker,” Pisoni said. “The exchange of information and honesty is integral for us to produce the best wine possible.”

With Lucy, the family donates $1 for every bottle sold to breast cancer research.

“The inspiration was simply wanting to give back,” Pisoni said. “We wanted to make the contribution through wine partly because wine is what we do and partly because wine does bring people together in a special way.”

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5310.

This week's blind tasting

Refreshing Rosés

TOP PICK

Lucy

Lucy, 2018 Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County Rosé of Pinot Noir, 13.9% alcohol, $19. ★★★★

This rosé is as refreshing as a sea breeze. Lucy has great complexity but it doesn’t overwhelm its delicate nature. Notes of stone fruit — white peach and nectarine — are center stage, with strawberry and watermelon playing back up. It has great acidity, remarkable balance and it finishes crisp.

Tasty ALTERNATIVES

Sabine, 2018 Bieler Pere & Fils, Aixen Provence, 13%, $14. ★★★★: A pretty rosé with irresistible tangy fruit — wild strawberry coupled with lemon peel. And it all rides on crisp acid. It’s just lovely.

Chateau des Garcinieres, 2017 Cotes de Provence, 13.5%, $24. ★★★1/2: A feminine rosé with delicate raspberry fruit coupled with great minerality. Crisp finish. Tasty.

Etude, 2018 Santa Barbara County Rosé, 13.2%, $25. ★★★★: This rosé is bright and lively with notes of strawberry and cranberry, with a hint of pomegranate. It has a lingering note of wild strawberry that’s striking. Bright acidity. Smart.

Decoy, 2018 California Rosé wine, 13.5%, $20 ★★★★: This is a lovely, crisp rosé with a range of flavors –– pink grapefruit, raspberry, honeydew melon and mineral. It’s balanced with crisp acidity. Nice length.

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