Put that rosé in the cellar. You heard us right. Lay it down to sleep for three to five years.
After decades of back-of-closet treatment by winemakers and consumers alike, rosé, like a suave entrepreneur, has found its way back to center-stage. The rosé revival of late has pushed aside the sweet pinks of the 90s and a wave of dry wines have now engulfed the market. Not all, however, deserve the deference of 2-10 years of cellar aging, but some rosés made with care and intentionality do.
Historically, many aristocrats and Popes chose pink wine, eschewing dry red wine. Respected producers in the Old World understood that rosé could produce compelling, sit-up-straight serious wines. At Fullerton Wines, we share in the tradition of focused, intentional rosé production, and confidently encourage you to lay down our Three Otters Pinot Noir Rosé for 2-5 years.
How do we achieve this?
Cleaning neutral oak barrels after aging six months. The two colors demonstrate the effect of longer extraction (skin contact) time (left) with shorter extraction time (right).
First, we use top-notch vineyard sources with ideal aspect, slope, and soil—no disrespecting the wine with inferior vineyards and fruit. We also pick our fruit in waves. Roughly 50% gets picked early with laser acidity, and this portion gets direct (whole-cluster) pressed like white wine, receiving minimal skin contact (1-4 hours). The second wave of harvested fruit comes in 5-20 days later during our Pinot Noir picking window. We cold soak this portion of the rosé with skin contact ranging from 12-48 hours prior to pressing. Ultimately, this blend of extraction methods helps us produce substantive, balanced rosé wines.
Next, we ferment half of the juice (a mix of direct press and extended maceration) in neutral French oak barrels, and the other half in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation, we age both wines sur lie (on the spent yeast), providing lovely texture, aromatic complexity, and increased aging potential thanks to the lees' ability to scavenge oxygen from the wine, adding a layer of protection. We bottle 6-7 months after harvest, and then allow the wine 2 months in the bottle to develop and settle into its surroundings prior to releasing the wine to market.
The combination of multiple pick times, extraction methods, winemaking styles, and aging vessels all converges to produce age-worthy wines. Every June we pour a three-year vertical of our Three Otters Pinot Noir Rosé at our Midsommar Rosé Fest event. We have consistently heard many declare the oldest vintage as their favorite, flying in the face of the conventional understanding that rosé wine must be drunk within months of release.
Do not immediately place all your rosé in the cellar. If the wines, however, have been thoughtfully made to develop over time, enjoy the benefits that come as the flavors and aromas gain layers of honey, nuts, and flower petals.