Stéphane Vivier has produced a good wine in Long Meadow Ranch's 2018 rosé of pinot noir. (Courtesy Long Meadow Ranch)
Stéphane Vivier, who makes wine under his own label, knows rosé. (Courtesy Vivier Wines)
I poached a salmon recently, and served it with cucumbers, feta and a piquant sauce (red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, fennel and coriander seeds. . . it’s a great recipe, and you can find it here).
While cooking and talking with my guests, I opened a bottle of rosé, as an apéritif, desirous of something that we could enjoy with slices of the cucumber and feta I reserved. It was from Long Meadow Ranch, 2018 vintage, a 100 percent pinot noir rosé, and it was a hit. (Tip: Get yourself a good feta, perhaps from Bulgaria, and let it come to room temperature. Chill a bottle of the Anderson Valley rosé, crumble the feta. Next, put a piece of the cheese on your tongue, sip the wine and savor.)
Stéphane Vivier, the winemaker responsible for this rosé, hails from Burgundy, and has a degree from Université de Bourgogne (Dijon). That training, plus time spent working in New Zealand and Switzerland, as well as the Russian River Valley, led him to his current position at Long Meadow Ranch.
He’s the Anderson Valley Estate winemaker, and I like his Old World approach (he also has his own label, Vivier).
We all know how rosé’s popularity has rocketed in the United States in the past six years or so, and though I don’t much care for the phrase “rosé everyday” and the countless photos of sexy people drinking “pink”, there is nothing at all wrong with opening a bottle of the wine on any day of the year.
Is it better sipped on a hot summer in the south of France, or on a hill overlooking Malibu on a spring afternoon? I’ll leave that to your palate. But this is a worthy wine.
When you open the Long Meadow Ranch rosé, you will definitely sense its brightness and freshness. Even if you drink this on a cool mid-afternoon on a cloudy day in Houston, it will enliven you. In the glass, the color is a soft pink, like an infant, undeveloped rosebud, pleasant to the eye.
If you like wild strawberries, your olfactory senses will love this wine, because that aroma is profound here, along with (slight) peach. Vivier uses direct press and saignée to make this rosé, and it’s fermented in stainless steel (21 to 30 days on fine lees). Expect to pay around $25 for the bottle.
In the mouth, the wine is loose and lively, dominated (in a graceful manner) by that peach and strawberry. A subtle spice note joins in as well, not unlike diffuse nutmeg. In all, a well-made, rewarding wine, whether enjoyed on its own or with food, such as the poached salmon. (Do not skip serving those crisp cucumbers and the briny feta with it.)