Spring is in the air and in the bottle at Chatham Vineyards at Church Creek.
Meet the 2022 Rosé, bottled on March 28, 2023, and officially released this week.
This is a fresh wine distinguished by grapes picked early, an attempt to capture the red fruit flavors along with the natural acidity and lower pH.
The blend is 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot.
After destemming, the fruit sat on the skins for 24 hours, creating a dark cranberry color. Chatham vintner Jon Wehner cold pressed the fruit before fermenting it dry in stainless steel to highlight the fresh acidity, a process similar to making Chatham’s iconic Steel Chardonnay.
Three to four weeks later, after harvesting the red grapes, Wehner did a traditional bleed-off or what’s called saignée in France. The process involves removing or “bleeding off” a portion of juice from the tank of crushed red grapes. This concentration effect produces a richer red wine with more color and tannin. The light pink, floral juice was then co-fermented with the earlier-harvest Merlot.
The wine aged in stainless steel for seven months before being cold stabilized and sterile filtered in preparation for bottling.
“It’s delicious, the perfect wine for spring,” Jon says. “It’s a nice strawberry and white peach. The Petit Verdot juice introduces a blue hue to it, so it enhances the color as does the early-picked Merlot.”
The 2022 Rosé is available now. Pair it with fresh seafood or something homemade in your picnic basket.