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Rosé for Days: Q + A with our Wine Director, Nathaniel Muñoz

In anticipation for our sold out Backyard rosé BBQ event on May 21st, we sat down with our very own Wine Director, Nathaniel Muñoz, to get the real juice (pun intended) on all things rosé. Read on… 

What is rosé anyway?
NM: An afternoon at a sunny cafe near the ocean. That’s what rosé is to me. Typically rosé is a dry blush wine with fair acidity and delicate fruit and floral aromas. It’s a wine of pleasure and indulgence.  

Finish this sentence: Nothing like a glass of rosé, a ________ and a ________
NM: Glass of rosé, bottle of rosé. #roséfordaysss

What are your favorite things to eat with rosé?
NM: I just enjoyed a gorgeous plate of hamachi crudo with elderflower oil and sesame, along with a mediterranean quinoa salad that was gently lifted by Stolpman’s Sangiovese Ballard Canyon Rosé. There was a soft fruity aromatic that was completely balanced by a dry sour cherry palate and complimented the brine and acidity on the plate.   

Why do you think rosé is becoming everyone’s favorite?
NM: Other than the increasing heat of the summer season, I think the market has discovered how food friendly rosé can be. We have moved past the question of, “is it a dry rosé?” and now start to explore rosés with more body, interesting provenance and “how does it match with the duck?”

What is your personal favorite rosé and why?
NM: Usually the one that’s open. What I love about wine is the journey it takes you on, and I am always ready to jump on a plane. However, the Stift Goettweig Messwein Rosé is always transportive and is amazingly mineral, fresh and dry.

What gives rosé it’s pink color?
NM: Just the slightest kiss of contact with the skins. It’s always fun to remind my staff that the all grape juice is clear until it is macerated with red or pink grape skins. This is the most common way to make rosé. Pigment is leeched into the juice and then the juice is separated from the solution once the winemaker achieves the desired color and aromatic.  At times bleeding red wine into white wine can achieve a rosé, but we find that the most traditional and preferred method is through skin contact.

What wines are you most excited to try at the backyard bbq?
NM: I have been such a fan of the Mediterranean style wines coming out of the Central Coast. Martellotto SLO/SBC rosé of Counoise and Cinsault should prove interesting and likely a great pairing with BBQ. 

What do you look for in a good rosé ?
NM: I really feel that rosé should always present a fresh mouth of acidity and fruit. The key is how it finishes and my preference is dry with a sense of lingering red fruit whether cherries or strawberry. Its that long dry and slightly sour aspect that keeps us salivating for more.  

How would you describe your first rosé experience?
NM: I’m not sure if anyone is ready for that story. But the most memorable experience I’ve had with rosé was the rare opportunity of finding Reynaud Parisy Rosé Rhône Wine at one of my favorite wine shops (The Cheese Shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea) and walking over to the nearest park and listening to Jazz. None of that sequence of events were planned and it all just made a sunny afternoon that much better. 

What makes Santa Barbara a good location to produce rosé?
NM: The combination of California sun and the cooling air over the Santa Rita Hills makes ideal conditions for rosé. We can have enough ripeness and still fresh acidity from the cool air and evenings. Santa Barbara is also rich in diversity, be it grapes, soils, and climates. There isn’t the oppression of restriction to a minority of grapes. Syrah, Sangiovese, Grenache, Counoise, Cinsault, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec…the list goes on and on. I just want to drink them all.


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