Age-worthy rosé? Don’t laugh — it’s for real.
While not quite in the nouveau category of if-you-see-it-drink-it immediacy, generally speaking rosé is a wine style meant for pretty immediate consumption. But that’s not always the case.
Winemaker Alie Shaper’s most current release of “Courage” — a cabernet franc-centric wine going more into the deep pink side of things — was from 2016. 2016!!! It’s a delicious rosé that, Shaper insists, becomes more intense over time, its flavors crescendoing into a perfectly harmonious hum of flavor.
This isn’t a decision she made based on extra stock or wild experimentation. Years ago, Shaper went on an educational, fact-finding trek to Provençe right around the time she took the side-hustle position of winemaker for Croteaux Vineyards, the only all-rosé producing estate-grown wines in the country. She wanted to take a deep dive into the wine, and what better spot than the best known place for pink?
She discovered something surprising there, that she hadn’t come across yet in her career as a winemaker: the notion of aging certain rosè wines.
Of course, Bandol, Provençe, isn’t the only place where this is found. Producers in the Rhone Valley, a smattering across Italy, and, perhaps most famous, the respected Spanish producer Lopez de Heradia, known to age their Viña Tondonia Gran Reserve Rosado for years on end (and charge a pretty penny for it, too) do it, too.
Shaper brought that inspiration and knowledge back and plugged it into Chronicle Wines, the multi-label company she owns with fellow winemaker, Robin Epperson McCarthy. And while not every wine drinker gets it off the bat, it’s an idea worth exploring, especially when it comes to Shaper’s creations.
On June 1st, she’ll be releasing the next incarnation of “Courage” — an aptly named wine for a brave move in rosé. This one is just a baby from the year 2021, but the winemaker is excited to set it loose into the world, all notes of tangerine zest, yellow cherries, hibiscus and sweet herbs. It’s no porch-pounder pink — this wine needs food off the grill, please! Pre-order yours from Chronicle (or check in with Cork & Jug in Hampton Bays, who are big fans of Shaper and Epperson McCarthy’s work) gather your besties for a backyard al fresco meal made over flame and congratulate yourself for having the courage to try something that goes beyond the pale.