2020 Old Westminister Rosé
Region: Maryland < USA
Grapes: Chambourcin, co-fermention of Sauvignon Blanc/Syrah, Cabernet Franc
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; fermented/aged in stainless steel then bottled without fining or filtering with minimal (if any) added So2; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Lisa Hinton
We're big fans of Maryland's Old Westminister Winery, run by three
siblings. Drew Baker, the vineyard manager, explains the origin story: "In 2009, family discussions began on how to preserve our farm and put the land to work. We were abducted by the idea of planting a vineyard. We all agreed that growing and making wine that reflects our land through a vineyard was an exciting proposition." So, they researched, traveled, tasted and consulted, and made it happen by 2011, when they planted their first vineyards. Their first vintage was 2013, and now they produce 30,000 bottles total, with everything done by hand, grown in Maryland and farmed organically. Middle sis Lisa, a chemist by training, started making the wine for her family's project when she was just 23!
They make both traditional wine and a style called piquette, which is a low-alcohol wine made from the second pressings of grape pomace. We've been big fans of their piquette and piquette/wine hybrids for years, but it turns out they have a magic touch with straight rosé as well. This neon coral colored elixir is a blend of co-fermented Syrah + Sauv Blanc with the rarely-seen Chambourcin grape (a French-American hybrid only found on the East Coast) and Cab Franc. FUN FACT: Chambourcin is a teinturier, a grape whose juice is pink or red rather than clear. With most wines, the color comes from the skins, not the juice itself. So this fun rosé is a unicorn in many respects!
A very delicious one that looks like freshly pressed watermelon juice, but tastes more like if a fuzzy peach and a blood orange had a salty, savory baby. Not your auntie's rosé but so delicious and refreshing.