Melanie Hoffman

I love a nice dry rosé when the temperatures start to go up. Summer is the best time to enjoy crisp refreshing rosé and they pair so well with all the fresh produce that is available. I had received a rosé sample from Red Côte, which was what inspired me to spend a day in Healdsburg enjoying the sunshine and sampling my local rosés. Red Côte rosé is produced from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Suisun Valley and is a small production wine, (630 cases). A super value wine priced at $12.99.

Red Côte, 2007 Rosé, Suisun Valley | Trece and Greg’s Vineyard ~ Bright bouquet of blood orange and passion fruit upfront, added key lime aromas and subtle spice with scents of strawberries at the close of the nose. Palate follows nose with a nicely balanced mouthfeel. Bright acid plays with enjoyable fruit flavors on the opening of the palate. Fresh strawberries and blood orange exhibited upon first sip, lingering finish showcases passion fruit.

I do love living in my little town of Healdsburg and all the wine and food it has to offer. The Healdsburg Plaza has an array of wineries, restaurants and quaint shops to fill up your whole day.

I started at La Crema’s tasting room, located on Healdsburg Avenue, just south of the plaza at 235 Healdsburg Ave, Suite 101. Honey was serving wine with a smile. She poured me their dry Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir Rosé. La Crema Chardonnay is one of the few that I truly enjoy and their rosé did not disappoint. This small production wine (350 cases) is a modest $20 a bottle. A little more expensive than an everyday drinker for me, but still a good value.

La Crema, 2007 Pinot Noir Rosé, Russian River Valley ~ Aromas of apricots and rose petals open the bouquet of this wine, with added notes of vanilla and raspberries. Palate displays more apricot flavors with notes of nectarine, honeysuckle and Mandarin orange essence. Lingering finish of juicy strawberry.

I then strolled up the street to the clock tower. The Wine Shop is a great boutique that offers some great hard to find wines and friendly service. A longtime friend of mine, Mark Friedrich, was tending the wine bar. I figured I would stop in and say hello and see what rosé wine they had to offer. Mark was pouring a delicious Mendocino Coast rosé from Pipo which is a line of wines from Baxter Winery that offers you exceptional value and quality. This bottle of rosé is a comfortable $15 per bottle.

Pipo, 2007 Rosé, Mendocino Coast ~ The nose made me say “Wow!” Complex and fruity aromas of white fig, strawberry jam and rhubarb with added earthy notes of wet stone. Nice acidity and well balanced. Palate features more strawberry rhubarb pie flavors with a finish of fresh peaches and blood oranges.

After leaving The Wine Shop I continued up the street to the corner of Healdsburg Avenue and North Streets. Just west of Healdsburg Avenue is Thumbprint Cellars, a favorite of mine! So I had to stop in for a splash of Scott’s rosé. Scott Lindstrom has passion for rosé, he picks and crushes the grapes specifically for the purpose of making a rosé. The brix, color and acidity of the grapes chosen are selected to craft the perfect rosé. The grapes are even left on the skins for a determined amount of time for the exact end result he is attempting to achieve. It is not an afterthought, and you can taste it in its complexity. Thumbprint Cellars rosé is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah; it’s priced at $21 a bottle.

Thumbprint Cellars, 2007 Rosé, Sonoma County ~ Multifaceted bouquet displays aromas of cranberry compote and cherry blossoms, with added notes of dates. Delicious! Great fruit, very balanced and nice acid. Cherry flavors upfront, cranberry featured mid-palate and a long fruity finish of Anjou pears. I love this wine!

Now it’s approaching lunch time and I am getting a bit hungry. Continuing up Healdsburg Avenue, I cross North Street and stop at Willi’s Seafood. I know they have a fabulous wine list and menu, so why not? I had a seat at the bar and was served by Bob. Bob is a great server; friendly and enthusiastic about his job. I ordered a glass of Navarro Vineyards rosé to enjoy with my lunch ($7.50 a glass), which paired perfectly with both tapas that I chose.

Navarro Vineyards, 2007 Rosé, Mendocino County ~ Aromas of candied ginger and blackberries. Added notes of watermelon in the bouquet with a hint of rosemary. Watermelon follows through to the palate. A light style dry rosé with a lingering finish of strawberry and blood orange.

Tuna Tartare ~ A delicious medly of raw ahi, jalapenos, cashews, ginger & coconut milk. Garnished with julienned red bell pepper and daikon sprouts, served with Terra Chips.

Spinach Salad with goat cheese, cracked almonds, sliced dates and a warm bacon dressing ~ A generous portioned salad that makes my mouth water thinking about how good it was.

After lunch I decided to enjoy one last winery before calling it a day. I knew my good friend Cobie Wiles was pouring at Sapphire Hill Winery. She had told me how awesome their rosé was and that it was almost gone, so I figured I had better try it. I am of the “you snooze you lose” philosophy. Sapphire Hill’s wines are available from the winery directly. You can visit them online or call them and they will ship it to you or you can visit them at their 51 Front Street, Healdsburg address. ( | 707-431-1888). The limited release Rosé of Pinot Noir is $18 per bottle and there is less than 3 cases left!

Sapphire Hill, 2006 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley | Limited release ~ Rich nose featuring raspberries upfront with added notes of violets, rose hips and fresh blueberries. Hints of white smoke at the close of the bouquet. Rose hips and white smoke on the palate as well, cranberry compote flavors and raspberry jam. Mandarin orange and lots of strawberry in the lingering finish.

Not a bad day to look at the world through rosé colored glasses!