Although there seem to be few power Ontario reds in comparison to the Okanagan in British Columbia Ontario rosés can be ferociously good and world class. I have not encountered many rosés from British Columbia.
In fact I just had a fantastic rosé from Featherstone Estate Winery in Niagara in Ontario and it merited a very high 94 points. So now Mayhem steps up to the plate facing a “red hot pitcher” so as to speak. Can it hit a home run to win the game?
This rosé is from the Anarchist Mountain vineyard in Osoyoos and is 95.5% Merlot and 4.5% Cabernet Franc. Like some dying Portuguese tradition it was foot stomped. Boy I missed that party! The final blend comprises of 33% neutral French oak barriques and 67% aged in stainless steel tanks.147 cases were produced. 2020 was one of winemaker’s Ajay Chavan’s favourite vintage years.
Sage brush notes dominate the nose giving the wine a serious attitude which is lightened up by lesser notes of watermelon, raspberries, strawberries and a smidge of cherry Kool-Aid. A streak of that seriousness is on the palate and lingers. This is a full-bodied wine and it doesn’t frolic around in the palate like a puppy wanting to head out the door for a walk. There are notes of a variety of red fruits so well integrated into the wine they meld into a ball of complexity creating a nuanced wine. Although the fruit suddenly surges into life in the medium length finish of the wine.
So the pitcher unloads a 99 mile per hour fastball heading right over the plate and the Mayhem player rips into it. Up the ball goes way out to left field and hits the top of the fence bouncing back into the park. The Mayhem batter arrives at third base with a stand-up triple with one more batter to go.
The wine’s serious streak makes it a match for cabrito (Portuguese baby goat) and no offence intended but a 3-month-old baby goat, Juniper, was stolen a few days ago from Riverdale Farm here in Toronto. I assure you it was not me!
If I can be simplistic I think there are three varieties of rosé;
- Fruity and fun and good easy sipping wine
- Serious and meant more for food
- Bland and boring
(Mayhem 2020 Rosé, Okanagan Valley, Anarchist Mountain Vineyard, (produced under license of Meyer Family Vineyards), BC VQA, $20, 750 mL, 13.3%, Robert K. Stephen, Set The Bar Rating 92/100).
P.S. Mayhem was following a very tough act from Featherstone Estate Winery but putting all humor aside it was at the right place and in a different category than Featherstone which was in the fun and fruity category which given COVID disgust and fatigue was perhaps the elixir needed to lift the spirits.
Mayhem suggests charcuterie, spring salmon and sunshine for this wine. If we have a summer of freedom instead of perpetual lockdowns (for our own good of course and the for the good of politicians who had ample opportunity to plan for COVID after SARS) then we add friends and relatives to the Meyer suggestion I’ll go with it. Until then I did not steal Juniper! I may be a wine writer, one of the few, that likes goat but I am not a kidnapper!
Why does this wine writer keep speaking about a goat? He denies any comparison to Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.” By the way it was lamb I was cooking on the barbeque.
Might as well relate a story about another goat. I was spearfishing in the Aegean in the mid 1970’s and I bumped into something floating in the water…a goat head!
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