Thursday, June 4, 2009

2006 Sutton Cellars Rattlesnake Rose

Sutton Cellars is a small, artisanal winery in California with a total output of only around 3500 cases, with no single wine being made in over 300 cases. They concentrate on small lots of single vineyard wines from primarily Sonoma Coast and the Russian River Valley. They also sometimes use grapes from Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, and Bennett Valley. All of Sutton Cellar's wines are unfiltered and gravity filled by hand.

I have very much enjoyed their wines such as the 2005 Sutton Cellars Carignane and 2005 Sutton Cellars Syrah. Their wines are usually priced under $20, and this are very good values too. I usually get these wines at the Lower Falls Wine Co., who also recently hosted Carl Sutton for a special tasting. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend that tasting but I did recently stop by Lower Falls and bought some of the Sutton Cellars wines.

What was new for me was the 2006 Sutton Cellars Rattlesnake Rose ($15) which is made from a blend of 85% Syrah, 10% Carignane, and 5% Tempranillo. It was fermented with wild yeast, and dry barrel fermented in neutral oak and sur-lie aged for fourteen months. It was unfined, unfiltered and only 287 cases were made. Interestingly, this wine is even available in kegs!

Carl Sutton wanted to create a Rose that could age, in a style similar to the Rosados produced by R. López de Heredia. That is partially reflected in the vintage, 2006, which is just being released now. Almost all other Roses you might find at a wine store will be from 2008. But, Sutton is still releasing his Rose much earlier than the Rosados from Heredia, which are not released until after ten years.

This wine does not look like the usual Rose as it has a light red color, and not the pink you usually see. If you just looked at a glass, you would be unlikely to think it was a Rose. Upon tasting it, it reminded me of something between an Old and New World Rose. Though it was dry, it also had some juicy fruit. Flavors of bright strawberry and raspberry dominated and there was nice acidity. I really liked its taste and think it would be a nice food wine, especially this summer. I am curious how it will age and may keep a couple bottles in my cellar to see what develops. I recommend this Rose, especially as it is something a bit different from the usual Rose.

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