It was almost hot in Sonoma County this past weekend, with temperatures approaching 80° F. The local garden stores were jammed with positive thinkers—a sneaky late-season frost isn’t out of the question—but instead of planting tomatoes I focused on prepping the vegetable bed. Before heading into the backyard, I stashed a bottle of Quivira Grenache Rosé in the fridge. When I poured a glass a few hours later, it was just what the garden doctor ordered.
It’s hardly a secret that California’s track record with dry rosé is spotty. Even wineries that approach it seriously struggle to duplicate quality year to year. Production, too, is usually tiny. Rhône varieties such as Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre succeed best in the state, typically adding another layer or two of pepper or smokiness.
That was the case with the 2009 from Quivira. It was sleek and crisp (so many California rosés are too ripe and soft) but balanced with vibrant strawberry and watermelon fruit, with notes of spice, fresh blossoms and minerals. I rated it 90 points, non-blind, and the price is reasonable at $15. If more wineries could produce a rosé like this, California might finally put the ghost of white Zin behind it.