Special Rosés for Mother’s Day
By Matthew Fitzsimmons
Special Rosés for Mother’s Day
Years ago I gave my mom a wine glass etched with the phrase “Mommy Juice”. She was not amused. But I must have been on to something, because now every time I check-in to a winery on Facebook she inevitably posts “What you getting me?”.
Like the good son I am, very often mom gets a bottle. But since we are celebrating Mother’s Day this month, I think it’s important to get her something extra special. And by ‘extra special’, that means some great rosés.
I couldn’t tell you why rosé wines are so closely associated with Mother’s Day; anyone who’s had an Italian rosato can tell you there’s nothing ‘feminine’ about this drink, and neither should it be confined to a certain holiday or season. As far as I’m concerned, rosé should be drank all year long.
But I can see why rosés have such a special appeal for Mother’s Day. Light, versatile and refreshing, it’s particularly suited for drinking outside on a warm spring day.
So in celebration of Mother’s Day here are some Virginia rosé that mothers (as well as everyone else) will love. No worries if you can’t make it to the winery to pick these vintages up curbside – these places deliver!
Pearmund Cellars: The Cameo Collection
Pearmund Cellars has been one of my go-to wineries for years. It’s also one of the closer ones to D.C., right off Route 15 past Gainesville. As much as I love the wine I admit my favorite part is seeing their golden retriever, Tug, sprawled in front of the doorway. Apparently belly-rubs are the price of admission here. I look forward to seeing him again. In the meantime, I am hoping that he is greeting people as they pick up their wine curbside.
Owner Chris Pearmund is a long-time advocate for not just the wineries he manages, but the Virginia wine industry as a whole. Next time you visit ask him about his role in producing the “Virginia Heritage” wine, a collaboration of 16 different wineries commemorating the 400th anniversary of Virginia’s tradition of winemaking.
This year Chris is leading another effort; a dozen of rosé wines named the Cameo Wine Collection dedicated to Virginian women who shaped American history. Each bottle has a label depicting one of these women, as well as describes their contributions in areas ranging from the arts, business, medicine, or historical significance.
Some names such as Ella Fitzgerald, Martha Washington or Pocahontas need no introduction. NASA engineer Mary Jackson was one of the inspirations behind the film “Hidden Figures”. Others including suffragette Virginia Minor or physician Sarah Jones are less famous but trailblazers in their own right.
Perhaps the least recognizable name is Emma Randel, who established Shenandoah Vineyards with her husband in the 1970s. While you may not have heard of her, Emma’s legacy is hugely influential; Shenandoah is one of the first wineries in Virginia. Keep in mind that in the 70s the modern American wine industry was still in its infancy; the idea that great wine could be produced on the east coast was scoffed at. But today Virginia has almost 300 wineries; that’s a great legacy.
Check out the Cameo Wine Collection at Effingham Manor, Pearmund Cellars, Philip Carter, and Vint Hill.
Rappahannock Cellars: Fizzy, Charmat and Sparkling, Oh My!
Located in a wooded corner not far from Front Royal, Rappahannock Cellars is surrounded by great wineries, inns and restaurants. It’s also one of the larger wineries in the area, which I think gives them leeway to be a bit more experimental.
I’m especially partial to their Meritage red blend. But when I visit with a group, can you guess what we end up sharing at our table? If you said “rosé”, you would be correct.
But Rappahannock doesn’t just have rosés, they have sparkling rosés. And Rappahannock didn’t limit itself to a single option; it has three!
Their still rosé is made with whole cluster pressing – a process which preserves acidity and provides its light pink color. Made with a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and a dash of Chardonnay, it’s crisp and clean with aromas of peach and apricot.
The sparkling rosé that started it all is the “Fizzy Lizzy” – a blend of Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin and Viognier, infused with carbonation to provide its ‘fizz’. While not a ‘sparkling’ in the technical sense (the wine industry is very picky in its terminology), it’s very satisfying and has long been a staple in Rappahannock’s lineup.
Next up is their 2018 Charmat. Fermented in a large sealed tank (to reduce costs as well as retain freshness and aromatics), this Cabernet Franc & Chambourcin blend will remind you of a prosecco.
Lastly is the 2018 Sparkling Rosé. Drier than the Charmat, this blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay is made in the ‘traditional’ method (aka the méthode champenoise). Pomegranate and brioche on the nose, tangerine and lime on the pallet.
Three Fox Vineyard: Cano Pazzo Rosé
Three Fox Vineyard is in Delaplane, about an hour away from D.C. down I-66. If the rolling hills reminds you of Tuscany, you wouldn’t be the only one to imagine that. Owners Holli and John Todhunter were inspired by their trips to Italy to open a winery; they must have had an epiphany when they saw this piece of land.
The Italian theme doesn’t stop there. Three Fox is one of the few Virginia vineyards that grows Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, both Italian varietals. The former is a large berried grape best known as the primary component of Chianti. The latter produces smaller fruit which packs a big punch, famous for making rich and structured Barolo and Barbarasco wines.
The last time I visited was the day of their annual “Lucy Stomp”. If you’re a fan of “I Love Lucy” you know exactly where this is going. But for those who don’t – you and your partner race to stomp grapes in a bin (optionally dressed as Lucy) while the show’s theme song plays in the background. I’m still not sure how you ‘win’, but everyone seemed to be having fun and how can you not laugh at a bunch of (likely tipsy) adults dressed as Lucy? Mark your calendar to attend next year after “the virus” is under control.
Ideally, you’d spend the day lounging on one of their hammocks while sipping wine but since you can’t these days – you can still have their Cano Pazzo Rosé (“crazy dog” in a dialect of Italian) shipped to you. A dry rosé made with 100% Sangiovese with notes of cherry, try this with a Mediterranean dish.
Author: Matthew Fitzsimmons is a wine blogger well on his way to visiting every one of Virginia’s nearly 300 wineries. Track his progress on https://winetrailsandwanderlust.com/.