Charles & Charles Rosé 2018
The color is pale salmon with flashes of a coppery pink. The aromatics lead with notes of wild raspberry and cherry, giving in to bright citrus, Herbs de Provence and lavender. There’s a strong note of rose petal as well. All this carries through on a broad, almost creamy mid-palate and finally a tangy bright finish.
We have an amazing group of growers with exceptionally tended to vineyards that spread all across the Columbia Valley, from the sandy basins to the higher elevation slopes with ancient soils. The qualities we look for to make exciting Rosé are quite distinct and thus there is not one vineyard whose fruit overlaps with our red wine programs.
Just like the previous year, the 2018 growing season started late due to cool spring temperatures delaying bud break. In this northern climate where temperatures drop considerably by mid-September, late springs always creates a certain amount of anxiety, but like clockwork, the heat came and the vines started to catch up. As fall arrived, the temperatures cooled, as they do, but the rain was minimal and we were able to hang the fruit until it was ready. It was the most stretched out vintage that I can remember with picking for late varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon going well in to November. All of our fruit is grown above 1, 100 feet, which may not sound that high, but in Washington only 10% of the total vineyards planted are above that level. The elevation ensures gentle ripening, which allows complex flavor development and natural acidity without much alcohol. The style of our Rosé is driven by these very specific Rosé vineyards, which none of our USA Rosé competitors can claim. Since 2008, we’ve been working hard to build a network of these cool, high elevation vineyards that were born to make the kind of Rosé we do.
To ensure minimal color or tannin pick up from the moment the fruit is harvested until it arrives at the winery, we now pick almost exclusively at night. Once in the winery, we treat each tank a little differently to ensure each has its own unique perspective so that when it’s blended together we have the most complex and multi layered Rosé we can. While we use a mix of different yeasts, we have been loving the depth and character that native fermentations are giving so over half are now native. The resulting wine this vintage has both cut and generosity, lift and energy, and we are loving it! As always, the balance between the acidity at the finish and the savory, citrus and tangy cherry are the dominant features.