Introducing Kendall-Jackson’s 2013 Grand Reserve Rosé

Kendall-Jackson’s Grand Reserve Rosé wine in the past has been made from Malbec, grown in Napa County; Malbec is the grape variety traditionally associated with dry red table wines, in France from the Cahors region, and more recently, in Argentina. In both cases, the wines are dark and tannic—good beef wines.

This year, winemaster Randy Ullom decided to try something different. His Rosé, unusual in the world of wine, is 77% Grenache and 23% Pinot Noir. You might call it a Provençe-Burgundy blend. For grape sourcing, he turned to Sonoma County for the Grenache and Santa Barbara County for the Pinot Noir. As a result, the 2013 Grand Reserve Rosé is crisper and more delicate than its Malbec predecessors—but no less delicious.

The trick to making a Rosé from red wine varieties is to leave the juice in contact with the skins for only a brief time. Color comes from skins: the longer the juice remains in contact with the skins, the more color is leached out. Since tannins also come from skins, limited skin contact also makes for a gentler, lighter, silkier wine. The juice was fermented cold in stainless steel tanks. All these techniques were deliberately chosen to keep the wine as fresh and delicate as can be. And, of course, all of Kendall-Jackson’s vineyards are sustainably grown.

The 2013 Grand Reserve Rosé is an absolutely lovely wine, coming from a fine California vintage, which produced balanced wines up and down the state. The Pinot Noir contributes flavors of raspberries, while the Grenache brings a touch of watermelon and orange zest. The impression is just slightly off-dry, like lightly-sugared breakfast tea, with a dash of cinnamon. Yet balancing acidity makes for a clean, bright feeling in the mouth.

Rosé may just be the “hottest” wine in America these days. You can’t pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading something about these “blush” wines that are at once so delicate and highly impressionable. With the 2013 Grand Reserve, K-J offers a wine at the peak of its enjoyment. No red or white wine can be as versatile, with so many different foods, as a good Rosé. You can drink this wine with everything from sushi or sweet corn risotto to a flat iron steak or a simple ham sandwich. Try a salad made from bitter greens with grapefruit slices, goat cheese and roasted pine nuts, tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette. Classic roasted chicken and potatoes will be ideal. And keep in mind that the 2013 Grand Reserve Rosé isn’t just a summer wine. It will pair with just about everything on the Thanksgiving table. During the cold winter months, prepare some carpaccio of beef with a tangy Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce, or roast lamb with cracked black pepper and rosemary. Sheer heaven!

Enter the promo code KJROSE at checkout to receive the intro price for 4 or 6 bottle boxes of the Rosé plus $10 shipping. Offer good thru 9/30.

Steve Heimoff is one of America’s most respected and well-known wine writers. The former West Coast Editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine and a contributor to Wine Spectator, he has also authored two books on the subject of California wine, including “New Classic Winemakers of California: Conversations with Steve Heimoff,” published in the fall of 2007.