I have seen some beautiful Seattle sunsets in my ten years here, but none better than this recent one. Viewed from the top of Capitol Hill looking down on Lake Union, this and many other pictures blew up my Instagram feed. And for good reason.
With so many colorful shades and textures, it got me thinking about…rosé.
All these wines were sent to me as samples for my consideration. Starting with not one, not two, but three rosés from Ousterhout Wine. What did each have in common? All were from the 2013 vintage in California’s Russian River Valley (RRV), made from Pinot Noir, and exceptionally pale.
The label logo is an instrument you can use to produce the “Golden Mean“, which is a 1 to 1.6 ratio. The winery website explains the story behind this choice:
“This number reflects the relationship to perfection and beauty that is pervasive throughout nature such as the adjacent bones of the fingers, a chambered Nautilus, the Parthenon, the American flag, and female facial beauty….As a plastic surgeon specializing in facial feminization, Dr. [Douglas] Ousterhout uses the instrument that measures this ratio daily in his surgical procedures. For this reason, we have chosen it as our logo as we continually strive to craft the perfect wine.”
The Golden Mean is not something I’ve ever considered regarding how I perceive facial beauty, male or female. And fortunately I don’t have to disclose my ratio on Tinder or OK Cupid, which might put me in some sort of Leaden or Coal Lump Mean. Anyway, Dr. Ousterhout lets his winemaker make three rosés, which is my idea of a Golden Mean. Or, rather, a Rosé Mean.
The first two Ousterhout wines, the the RRV and RRV Woods Vineyard drank pretty similarly, but the 800 Vines Vineyard stood out for having the most prominent Pinot Noir character. In flavor and structure, it approached some of those qualities you’d find in an elegant red Pinot. I enjoyed all three.
Oh, and here’s what the Golden Mean looks like:
Rosé number four also comes from Sonoma County but rather from the RRV portion, the 2013 Tin Barn Vineyards “Joon” hails from the Sonoma Coast. Normally I back away slowly from rosé made from Syrah and likewise one with a color closer to red than pink. But there go my preconceived notions! It certainly had some backbone to it, but showed off an exuberant perkiness that made it really fun to drink. Joon will have red and pink wine lovers holding hands like sleeping sea otters.
I first heard of Tin Barn Vineyards thanks to my pal Elaine of Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews. You may remember Elaine from my podcast episode with her. Anyway, she introduced me to Amy Tsaykel over at the winery. I read an old blog post of hers and thought her writing was fantastic, and was really happy to get her to write on Grape Collective. Amy’s home is a 35-foot RV parked in a Sonoma vineyard, and she tells here tale here: