“We understand that long, long ago Chateau Ste. Michelle did produce a rosé wine. It was 1967 says their web site. They hadn’t resumed the rosé direction until this March when they released their 2017 Columbia Valley Rosé.
That rosé of half-a-century ago was made from Grenache grapes, a popular choice in that era. The 2017 edition is Syrah, or at least 98% percent of it is from Syrah, the balance is Merlot.
Good rosé wines can be made from many different grape varieties. Barnard Griffin has set a standard for Washington state with their perennial gold medal-winning rosé made from Sangiovese grapes. It doesn’t taste at all like traditional red Sangiovese to me. Not like anything from Tuscany, nor any of the brawny Sangiovese cousins from California. But it’s delicious.
Ch. Ste Michelle’s rosé of (almost entirely) Syrah doesn’t taste like that powerful, somewhat smoky and leathery red wine made from that grape as it is grown in Washington, California or France’s Northern Rhone Valley. But it tastes great.
Rosé wines are the better for being made from high quality grapes, but they’re not meant to taste like scaled-down versions of substantial reds. Rosés belong to a category that deserves to stand on its own.
The 2017 Ch. Ste. Michelle Rose is pink, not red. But that doesn’t mean that it lacks substance or personality. Aromas include strawberry and watermelon and these traits are repeated in the taste, as well as some ‘roundness’ that seems reminiscent of cantaloupe. The wine is dry, but not austere.
Food Affinity: Would work as an aperitif, but could also pair well with many foods. We would happily drink it with a Salade Niçoise in a summery salute to the south of France. Chicken and fish main courses would be natural. Preparations of salmon come to mind and vegetarians might appreciate this wine with grilled Portobello mushrooms.