2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir
Producer: River Road Vineyards and Winery
Appellation: Russian River Valley
Suggested Retail: $14.99
“We really like rosé wines and we were intrigued by the thought of a rosé done in a style like the French Beaujolais nouveau, a red wine made from Gamay grapes and traditionally released just a couple of months after harvest. That wine, supposedly a harbinger of the quality of the vintage, is meant to be drunk within the first year of its life. It's usually bright and fresh and is a good option for accompanying roast turkey and cranberry sauce.
“Rosés as a class are, at best, subtler versions of red wines. We love Pinot Noir, a red wine grape, but its charms are also subtle. And nouveau style wines aren't known for developing the sophisticated and nuanced qualities of wines meant for the long haul. So before opening this bottle we had apprehension that it might be an interesting concept that would be hard to pull off.
“The 2013 River Road Rosé of Pinot Noir shows an attractive pink color. A faint aroma of strawberries greets the nose. There's some fruit reminiscent of the taste of Pinot Noir as vinified in a traditional manner, but not much of it. This wine shows an attractive fullness in the mouth and a pleasant, soft finish. It may develop more personality with additional time in the bottle. However, when we tasted it on December 6th we found it innocuous, but not exciting. If you're shopping for a rosé there are many options out there, and many of them at lower cost.”
Food Affinity: “Lighter fare such as Chicken salad, poached salmon, sautéed abalone."
Serving Style: 22-oz bottles
Availability: January through April in the western U.S. and Canadian Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta
Apperarance: “Amber color/maybe hay or straw.”
Aroma: “Honey. Sweet aroma, but still a very floral, hoppy nose--maybe like Cascade hops?”
Taste: “Alcohol is disguised by the citrussy hoppiness. It's a little like tart grapefruit—a little more tart than most.”
Food Affinity: “Cajun Bacon Blue (a burger).”
Reviewed by Chris Delgado
by Dan Clarke
Sacramento, CA December 6, 2013 - I had a beer yesterday afternoon. That in itself isn't unusual, but communing with a dead politician might be.
“Sunny Jim” Rolph died in 1934 during his third year as Governor of California. Prior to his election to statewide office he spent nearly 19 years as Mayor of San Francisco. It was during that time that he became my Dad's godfather. Rolph lived at 21st and Guerrero Streets in San Francisco, my paternal grandparents' house was at 23rd and Guerrero. How well they were acquainted, I don't know.
My grandfather had a good job, but wasn't in Rolph's league, as the hard working Mayor had already become a millionaire—mostly from the shipping business—before starting his political career. Maybe he was godfather to all babies born to voters in the Mission District, an Irish enclave in those days. For all his business success though, he billed himself as “Mayor of all the people” and was regarded by most San Franciscans as one of their own.
As Governor of California, Rolph publicly condoned a pre-trial lynching of two men accused of the kidnapping and murderer of the son of a San Jose businessman. It sullied his reputation forever and I won't celebrate that, but I have heard and read enough about his earlier life to know that he had his good points, too. A successful businessman at the time of the city's earthquake and fire, he was reported to have been a tireless worker to help displaced fellow citizens and to contribute to the rebuilding of San Francisco. After his election as mayor in 1911 he led efforts to make the 1915 Pan Pacific Expostion—in effect, a world's fair—a reality. It is said that on the way to City Hall his limo tended to stop for citizens at street corners to offer a lift if they were going his way. Kind gestures to fellow San Franciscans or canny PR? Who knows, but I'm inclined to believe he was basically a good-hearted guy.
James Rolph was also a man who enjoyed a good time. Or so it would seem. His “Sunny Jim” persona came from a popular song adopted as his campaign anthem, “There are smiles that make you happy.” By 1917 he had purchased a shipyard in Humboldt County and celebrated the "largest 4-masted wooden ship ever built on the West Coast" by throwing a party that lasted two days and two nights on a chartered 12-car train. The costs ran to $25,000--this at a time when the Mayor's salary was $6,000 per annum. Though first elected on a platform that promised to clean up the notorious Barbary Coast neighborhood, not too much changed in that regard during his long tenure as Mayor of San Francisco. In the words of writer Daniel Steven Crafts, Rolph's administration “was characterized by the not so unlikely combination of populism and debauchery.” In his latter years as Mayor, the married “Sunny Jim” was dogged by rumors of an affair with a movie star named Anita Page. Crafts writes that Rolph brought along San Francisco's most notorious madam as his escort to one of the city's Policemen's Balls. If that isn't laudable behavior, it certainly is colorful.
The 18th Amendment to the Constitution (The Volstead Act), which forbade the production, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages went into effect in 1919. Its restriction on the liberty of American citizens was bad policy from the beginning, but even if you allowed for “good intentions,” its “unintended consequences” caused terrible damage for the nation. To his credit, I believe, Dad's godfather wasn't much of a fan of Prohibition and apparently tended to ignore it as much as possible in his personal life, as well as in his official capacities as Mayor and, later, Governor. These days I often have a beer at The Shack, located on the corner of 52nd and Folsom in Sacramento. Upon the repeal of Prohibition—eighty years ago yesterday—Governor James Rolph enjoyed a glass of Ruhstaller's Gilt Edge, his first legal post-Prohibition beer, at that same spot, then known as “Docs.”
On that anniversary I raised a glass in toast to you ,“Sunny Jim,” and to your godson.
Sonoma County breweries won gold, silver and bronze at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. Local craft brews rank No.2 and No.3 in the U.S. and continue to get nation-wide attention.
The big winners include; Third Street AleWorks, with two awards, including Gold for Blarney Sisters’ Dry Irish Stout in the Classic Irish-style Stout category and Bronze for Bombay Rouge in the Imperial Red category. Russian River Brewing Company took Silver for Sanctification in the American Brett Beers category and it was Bronze for Bear Republic for Heritage in the Scotch Ale category. The winners were chosen from more than 4,800 beers entered at the festival’s competition and only 252 medals were awarded in total, these stand-outs blew away the competition. The ever growing craft-brewing community in Sonoma County is keeping right-up with the much-loved wine industry, according to
Santa Rosa’s Russian River Brewing Company is known by industry aficionados as one of the best breweries in the United States with a large selection of beer from big hops to Belgium ales. Their brews including Pliny the Elder is considered to be one of the best in Northern California and their beers are currently ranked No.1 and No. 2 in the US by Beer Advocate, with the Elder outranked only by Westvleteren 12, made by Trappist monks in Belgium. Third Street Aleworks and Bear Republic’s offerings also scored high on the list which is graded from beer industry experts and members of the community using data from millions of user reviews. Russian River’s coveted craft, Pliny the Younger, is made in small batches and available for only two weeks each February drawing crowds from California to across the U.S. to taste the ultra-hoppy triple-IPA. In fact, beer enthusiasts from as far as Japan and Denmark make the yearly pilgrimage for the release. Sonoma County's Economic Development Board has just presented the first ever Sonoma County Beer, Cider and Spirits Conference in Santa Rosa to explore and support the local beer culture.
At the Brewers Association World Beer Cup 799 breweries from 54 countries entered 3,921 beers in 95 style categories. The international judging panel from 27 countries conducted blind tasting evaluations and Santa Rosa brewers were big winners. Third Street Ale Works took home two awards including the gold medal (top award) in the categories of Classic English-Style Pale Ale and Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout. The Annadel Pale Ale was the top rated beer in the English-Style Pale Ale and Blarney Sisters Dry Irish Stout was the top rated beer in the Irish-Style Dry Stout. The Russian River Brewery medaled for their Supplication in the American-Style Sour Ale category. Bear Republic Brewing Company won the top award for their Black Racer; an aggressively hopped Black India Pale Ale brewed with crystal and roasted malts to achieve layered flavors with very little roast character relative to its dark color, in the American-Style Black Ale category
Editor's note: If you're planning a trip to Santa Rosa—or anywhere in Sonoma County or the North Coast—you ay want to check out the Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. In it you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to wineries and craft beer specialists.