One of the many reasons why I love the Finger Lakes is the variation among every new season. I believe that wine can be a sort of gateway into the past, where we can smell and taste the quirks and beauty of any season and understand its unique mark from our small section in the world. The 2021 year was chock full of challenges both climactic and social, as you all know, but one of the best things coming from the season was something that will brighten anyone’s day – rosé!
Here at Damiani, we make rosé in a few different ways. First, we assess the fruit quality and status of each site. If we think the fruit should be allocated to rosé, we will then choose to pick it early or let it hang longer. When picking early, we follow the white winemaking procedure of pressing the fruit immediately off its skins and fermenting the very lightly colored juice in stainless steel tanks, with skin-contact (or the amount of time the juice can develop color and tannin) from anywhere from 3-12 hours. The alternative way to make rosé is to pick the fruit as a red wine, which we hand-sort and de-stem into 1-5 ton tanks and let the juice develop a little more color over a few days before we section some off, or “saignée” which translates to “bleeding” in French. The sectioned juice gets put into stainless steel tanks and fermented there. The saignée method is something we do every year but the amount we saignée varies season to season depending on how juicy the tanks are and how concentrated we want our reds to be.
The 2021 season gave us two very distinctive rosés – the Dry Rosé made from pinot noir and the Bouquet made from merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, lemberger, and saperavi. The pinot noir in the Dry Rosé was picked and pressed off early, where the Bouquet was made almost entirely from saignée, apart from the saperavi. The season was perfect for rosé wines because the wines are crisp but also fruit-driven, with a zip and bounce to them that can playful – everything that I love about rosé!
From the Damiani cellar,