HEALDSBURG, Calif. — Abacela in Southern Oregon continues to collect gold medals up and down the West Coast this year in the rosé category as its 2017 Grenache Rosé recently received a double gold medal at the Experience Rosé Competition staged in Sonoma.
The five-year-old judging, which rebranded this year after its debut as Rosé Today, was orchestrated by Sonoma-based sommelier Debra Del Fiorentino. The 2018 competition generated 317 entries, signalling an increase of 37 percent, and included wines from Australia, France, Italy and Canada.
This spring, Abacela, the Umpqua Valley winery that has helped bring international acclaim to Southern Oregon with its groundbreaking work with varieties native to the Iberian Peninsula, most notably Tempranillo, now has claimed a gold medal from four West Coast wine competitions in 2018 for rosé.
In April, winemaker Andrew Wenzl’s 2017 rosé took home a gold medal from the Cascadia International Wine Competition in Richland, Wash., as well as at the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition in San Bernardino, Calif. It recently added a gold medal at the Oregon Wine Awards, and its history of success with that wine style reaches back well beyond this year.
Wine Press Northwest magazine’s annual Platinum Judging, a year-end competition of Pacific Northwest wines that have won a gold medal anywhere in the world during the previous 12 months, has seen an Abacela rosé claim a Platinum four times, including the past three years with a Double Platinum during the 2017 tasting. As a multiple qualifier with the latest vintage, the winery owned and founded by Earl and Hilda Jones seems poised to make it four in a row with this release from the 2017 vintage.
Recently sold Acrobat wins Experience Rosé double gold
Acrobat, another Oregon brand, also received a double gold from the Experience Rosé panel for its 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir. King Estate in Eugene, which launched Acrobat as a second label, recently sold that brand to Foley Family Wines.
Two other Southern Oregon wineries shined at Experience Rosé. Del Rio Vineyards in the Rogue Valley earned a gold medal for the second straight year with its rosé made from Grenache grown on its expanding plantings. And Cliff Creek Cellars, also in the Rogue Valley, used estate Cabernet Franc under its Red, Red Wine brand to claim a gold for its 2017 Pink Pink Wine.
Huston Vineyards in Idaho’s Snake River Valley received a gold medal for a 2017 Mourvèdre rosé made from historic Alder Ridge Vineyard in Washington state and bottled under its Chicken Dinner tier.
Cedergreen Cellars in Kirkland, Wash., merited a gold medal for its 2017 Viola Rosé made with Gamay Noir.
Draxton Wines, a Napa Valley producer, earned best of class and then best domestic dry rosé before winning best of show with its 2017 Pinot Meunier Rosé ($18).
Experience Rosé will use this year’s results to create public events four months apart in Northern California. The Great Rosé Pairing will be June 16 at the Culinary Institute of America’s Copia campus in Napa. On Oct. 19, Jaxon Keys Winery and Distillery in Mendocino County plays host to The Great Rosé Pairing for Thanksgiving. Culinary students at Mendocino College will provide pairings to complement the top rosés.
The judging was conducted April 18 at Soda Rock Winery in Sonoma, and the panel included Dan Berger, a Wine Press Northwest columnist, and sommelier/writer Christopher Sawyer.
Northwest results at 2018 Experience Rosé judging
Abacela 2017 Estate Grenache Rosé, Umpqua Valley, $18
Acrobat 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Oregon, $15
Cedergreen Cellars 2017 Viola Rosé, Columbia Valley, $16
Red, Red Wine 2017 Pink Pink Wine, Southern Oregon $16
Del Rio Vineyard 2017 Estate Grenache Rosé, Rogue Valley, $17
Huston Vineyards 2017 Chicken Dinner Rosé, Washington, $19
Charles & Charles 2017 Rosé, Columbia Valley $12
Sandhill 2017 Terroir Driven Rosé Wine, Okanagan Valley, $22
San Valencia 2017 Rosé, Willamette Valley $22
Del Rio Vineyards NV Estate Rosé Jolee, Rogue Valley $13
Freed Estate Winery 2015 Estate Rosé, Umpqua Valley, $20
Freed Estate Winery 2016 Estate Rosé, Umpqua Valley, $22
Puggy Vine Wines 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir, McMinnville $25
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