Notes from Iridesse Wines

The Buzz from Patrick & Genevieve

Not a Fading Rose!

Posted by oenophilus on August 21, 2007

(Pronounce it roh-ZAY as I can’t figure out how to make an accent mark!)

Summer weather feels like it will be here for another couple of months here in Healdsburg. Nonetheless, here we are mid-August and while grapes are coming in, kids are off to school. Most importantly, our 4 1/2 year-old daughter, Malia started Kindergarten this week. Eeeek! Oy the drama! Not hers…Ours! I know I’ll get over the separation anxiety and enjoy the pride soon enough. What a great excuse to drink some more of the 2003 Iridesse Zinfandel Rose!

Why 2003??? Isn’t that too old for a fresh, young rose? This isn’t just some summertime, bubblegum wine cooler. As with many Iridesse wines, we used extended aging to allow the wine to develop and come into a new, multi-faceted flavor profile…Iridescence. Yes, this is cool, crisp and refreshing. But don’t even think about dismissing this wine as “just a rose”.

There are different ways to make what people categorically call Rose. Some take their grapes,crush and press them and make a white or pale pink wine, adding back a grape juice concentrate to give color and sweetness. Others will blend finished white wines and finished red wines to make a blend whose color is light. We have chosen to use a classic technique that the French call Saignee, where the crushed fruit macerated for a while before some juice is bled off to darken the red wine. That which is drawn off has the depth of color and compexity of flavor that we find most desirable.

The Iridesse 2003 Zinfandel Rose was gently pressed from naturally high-acid fruit, grown on a steep hillside on the edge of the Russian River Valley. After a longer than usual cold soak to extract more color and structure from the dark purple-black skins, the drawn-off juice fermented with a specially selected yeast from Champagne that allowed us to control is with very cold temperatures. The wine then settled in tank for over a year before being bottled and cellared for another three years!

While it is a fantastic aperitif, the recently released Iridesse 2003 Zinfandel Rose is a knockout with any number of food pairings. Try it with seared tuna, any pasta Arrabiatta, a salad tossed with vinaigrette, even some BBQ ribs. It’s fantastic with my Hawai’ian Ahi Poki! Check out the recipes section for my world-famous recipe. Is anyone else lucky enough to have a Big Green Egg? What’s that? You don’t know about the Big Green Egg? Oh don’t worry. You’ll regularly hear me waxing poetically about the virtues of the MOST amazing grill/oven/smoker that changed my life. Well, my outdoor cooking life, anyway. But, more of that later…


4 Responses to “Not a Fading Rose!”

  1. suenarita said


    We have a Big Green Egg – best smoker/BBQ ever invented! Ours, crazily enough, has been to New Orleans and Atlanta and back to Napa. On my husband’s list of favorite things it’s right up there with the 42 inch – and his wife;-)
    I was amazed at your Rose of Zinfandel – and I’m not afraid of wine with a little bit of age – very enjoyable – a red wine drinker’s Rose to be sure!

  2. oenophilus said

    Wow, Suenarita! I even wheel my BGE around my backyard with some trepidation. Glad to know that the ceramic marvel isn’t as fragile as I was led to believe. Make sure you try that Rose with your next smoked beast!

  3. ophthoduck said

    I love the rose, especially on a hot summer afternoon. We have plenty of those out here in DC. What is the general rule of thumb on how long one should keep a rose before drinking it. I know it should not be long but I am not sure about the year on the bottle and how this matters when you buy it and when you should drink it.


  4. oenophilus said

    There is really no honest rule for when to drink a wine. There are so many factors: Varietal, producer, winemaking style, tannin levels, acid levels, type of closure (I’m sure we’ll get into this soon!), and most importantly – how you like your wine. Do you like interesting layers of complexity that can come from bottle age? Do you like fresh fruit flavors and aromas? Are you looking for something more discreet or a giant jam bomb?

    Traditionally with rose, people have drunk them as soon as possible after the harvest year. This has been because of the simplicity in their production which left them with little backbone (ie. acid, tannin, flavor…) that could not only withstand the rigors of bottle age, but also change, develop,and enhance with time.

    Short answer? You can’t really know until you try a wine. It also never hurts to consult a winery’s website, blog, or even call their tasting room to ask their opinion!

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