2015 Thirty Bench “Small Lot” Rosé, Beamsville Bench VQA, Ontario, Canada (Alcohol 13.4%) From Winery $22

What with the chillier months we experience at this time of year, I’m not sure that rosé is the drink of choice for many of our readers.

Saying that, as I have mentioned previously on this site, some of the more structured rosés out there work exceptionally well at this time of year. Some New York City restaurants have realised this and have sections of their wine lists labelled as “Winter Rosé”, a terrific idea, in my mind at least. Which brings us to the 2015 Thirty Bench “Small Lot” Rosé.

Having first tasted this back in the spring of 2016, I wasn’t sure if it had completely come together, having just been bottled. Re-tasting it again last month, I’m convinced that it is tasting better than ever, the saignée Cabernet Sauvignon, the cold-soaked Pinot Meunier, the directly-pressed Cabernet Franc, and the cold-soaked Pinot Noir have come together to create something greater than the some of said parts. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that two small parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that were direct-pressed and then fermented as if being white wines, before being included in the final assemblage. There’s a hell of a lot of craft going into this wine, and it really pays off in spades… this is undeniably a serious gastronomic rosé.

It tastes bone-dry at 3.2g/l residual sugar, and has a delightful tannic quality on the palate that I find most pleasing in rosé meant for the dinner table. The aromatics are much more complex than one would expect for a rosé, with loads of the usual attractive red berry fruit (strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, redcurrant) coupled with nuances of green grass, fresh herbs, cooked apple, and spices. At times reminding me of a good Tavel, this wine is coming to the very end of its inventory at the winery, but of you happen to be out in Niagara I heartily recommend you pick up a few bottles of this beautifully layered rosé. And please pick up one for me while you are at it.

Pair with grilled pork, charcuterie, roast chicken, or grilled salmon.

One of my favourite Ontario rosé in quite some time.

(Four and a half apples out of a possible five)

Jamie DrummondEdinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he hopes there’s still some left.