Here at davidjohnhansen.com, we're huge fans of the Gruet winery in New Mexico, as well Schramsberg's oustanding sparklers from California, so it was no surprise to see both their wines come out on top in a blind comparison of domestic rosé bubbly.
Interestingly, two tasters brought Gruet's non-vintage rosé, but from behind the paper bag, they were not very similar. Both were excellent wines, receiving points from all tasters, but one was leaner and more vibrant, while the other exhibited more fruit and a broader texture. Clearly, the two came from different batches -- one was bottled in dark glass, the other in clear glass.
Two different tasters brought Schramsberg's sparkling rosé, with the 2012 and the 2015 represented. Both showed very well, but the older vintage came out tied for first place.
The Mumm Napa entry was a little disappointing, since we also hold this winery in high regard, but the bottle Andy brought seemed a bit tired and past its prime.
First Place (tie): Gruet Brut Rosé Non-vintage (New Mexico). Fresh flowers and river rocks on the nose, and also a touch earthy, plus stone fruits and clean mountain air. Ali was reminded of "happy summer beautiful", while Andy's imagination went back to "sitting on a deck with a fresh breeze." David declared that, "I want my laundry to smell like this", with Andy feeling that "this is washing away my sins." Plenty of fruit on the palate, with great balance, plenty of acidity, and exuberance. Very frothy bubbles paired with honey-like flavors, with clarity and focus. Gorgeous texture. Offered a white mushroom finish. Andy felt it was "sharp and soft at the same time". Suzanne, Kristin A, and Andy's favorite of the night, for a total of 24 points. Kristin A's bottle. About $17.
First Place (tie): Schramsberg Brut Rosé 2012 (North Coast). This started out with funky aromas reminiscent of dirty cleanser, clogged drain, rotting vegetables and fruit, and a spicy note. The compost qualities were discarded in the mouth however, with a rich and intense palate, suggesting yeast, ruby grapefruit, and red berries. Showed outstanding volume and texture. David and Kristin's favorite, with a total of 24 points. David's bottle. About $38.
Second Place: Gruet Brut Rosé Non-vintage (New Mexico). Raspberries, peaches, cotton candy, and green apple scents. Fresh and very clean. Had a smooth and consistent texture, staying tart, with notions of citrus, then more green apples on the finish. Ali's favorite. 23 total points. Suzanne's bottle. About $17.
Third Place: Schramsberg Brut Rosé 2015 (North Coast). A little funky on the nose, like cottage cheese or rubber shoe, but there's fruit underneath, and a wet rock note. Andy was reminded of "Old Navy flip flop." Perhaps an aged cheese quality. A little more aggressively bubbly than some of the others, but also smooth, with fruits like strawberry and raspberry, plus a green apple Jolly Rancher note. Suzanne felt that it had "a little bit forced flavor." Pomelo on the finish. Everyone except for Suzanne gave this some points, for a total of 10. Ali's bottle. About $46.
Gruet Rosé Sauvage Non-vintage (New Mexico). Very lively, with a clean smell, like bright tart fresh cherries and cherry pie. Vibrant, with a yeast note. Austere in the mouth, offering a lean raspberry and green apple note. Andy felt that it was "like drinking lite beer" and "almost sterile", while Ali found that it "finishes like seltzer." Receives no dosage. 3 points. Kristin's bottle. About $17.
Mumm Napa Rosé Non-vintage (Napa Valley). Funky nose, like skunk in the breeze, but also bubble gum, corn starch, and papaya. Quiet and fast, this wasn't as refined as the others. Hints of yeast on the palate, but also not much effervescence, and a quick finish. Andy found that it "tastes very house wine to me", with Kristin A describing it as a "one-night stand." Ali noted a "raspberry crescendo on the finish." Seemed a little flat. No points. Andy's bottle. About $24.