We could not have seen this coming: that our favorite wine discovery of the summer would be not only a Rosé, but a Rosé . . . from Virginia? As in, the first of the original 13 colonies of America. Like, Thomas Jefferson lived here. That’s old. We’ll be the first to admit, we had no idea great wines were being made in Virginia. And along comes STINSON VINEYARDS.
Based on the wines our publication has tasted from this winery located at the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains (isn’t this in a John Denver song somewhere…?), the cool mountain winds and highly variable but temperate weather do magic to the grapes grown in the vineyards of this locale. There is a blooming freshness, crispness, clarity and vibrancy to Stinson’s wines. The 2014 Rosé is tantamount to a statement of purpose. Not too early to call it one of the great Rosés made in America—and unique, as it is made out of 100% Mourvedre—the pink wine is pure delight, with a nose of Jolly Rancher watermelon candy that catches you off guard, followed by notes of young strawberries and pink-purple Asian flowers. It’s a refreshing wine for ultimate relaxation, but with an important element of elegance to top it all off. To call this a perfect summer sipper would be true but too limiting. This is wine to take serious pleasure in throughout the four seasons—a different context, be it hot burning sun, turning leaves, electric thunderstorms and snow days, or budding flowers, will likely reveal new and hidden characteristics of the wine.
Grab it when you see it. With only 175 cases made, there’s not much to go around. A very beautiful Hollywood-actor married couple, often referred to with a conjoined name, introduced a new Rosé onto the U.S. market a few years ago that sparked the hot current demand for sophisticated pink wines. Stinson, who produce their wines out of a garage, is the opposite end of the spectrum of that outfit—no glitz, no cache of financial backers, no marketing machine, and no star winemaker bred from the most famous wine houses in France—but don’t let that stop you from giving this winery star treatment. Stinson’s winemaker, Rachel Stinson Vrooman, is without a doubt one of the new talents to watch and a rising star. It will be interesting to see over the years whether or not the winery decides to scale up production or whether it will be happy to remain a local garagiste, making lovely small batches of wine out of a garage in one of the most unexpected places you’ll find great wine: Virginia, USA. –J.M.