Sangiovese, the dominant grape in the popular red wines from Italy’s Chianti and Chianti Classico regions, is Italy’s most-planted grape variety. So when I spotted a rosé made from 100 percent sangiovese, I assumed it was from Italy. However, it turned out to be from Washington state, where it is the sixth-most-important red variety. In fact Rob Griffin, the winemaker at Washington’s Bernard Griffin, has been making dry rosé from sangiovese for about 15 years. Below is a comparison of Griffin’s dry sangiovese rosé with one from the Charles Smith Family. Both are very good, but quite different in style.
Bernard Griffin 2014 Rosé of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley
Bought • World Market, 24 Brentwood Promenade Court, in May for $12.99
Description • Consistently winning high scores from critics, this luscious, aromatic rosé is perfect for summer. Although dry, it’s bursting with juicy cherry fruit along with strawberry and watermelon flavors. But it’s also quite crisp with a refreshing acidity. This medium-bodied rosé would pair with a variety of food including grilled chicken and spicy Asian cuisine.
Charles Smith Family 2014 Vino Rosé, Washington State
Bought • Friar Tuck, 9053 Watson Road, in May for $13.99
Description • Although this rosé is also made from sangiovese, it’s much more laid back and not as big and fruity as the Griffin. Salmon-colored and elegant, the Vino is light, soft and crisp. It has a distinctive cherry flavor with a bit of apricot and spice. This is also a refreshing wine that’s great for summer drinking. It works well as an aperitif or with lighter fare.