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One More Bottle of Wine: SoloRosa 2007 Napa Valley Rosé

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 14, 2008 4:00PM

2008_07_solo_rosa_rose.jpgWhile a sizable portion of the greater Chicago area were making a beeline to the Feist/Juana Molina show at Ravinia Friday night, we were at a loft in Humboldt Park taking part in another one of Efrain Cuevas' Clandestino dinners. The five-course menu Cuevas had planned was teeming with a lot of bright flavors, spices and acidity, so we were looking for a wine that could pair well with all the courses. From our kitchen rack we decided upon a rosé we bought during a tasting at Pastoral's downtown location (53 E. Lake St.) last month for around $16.

SoloRosa specializes solely in dry blushes. Sangiovese is always the base grape for SoloRosa's rosés and come from Napa Valley's Atlas Peak. The 2007 version is a blend of 90 percent sangiovese with 10 percent syrah. The winemakers left the skins in the maceration vats for a period of 6-8 hours, which gives the wine a deep and appealing pink hue. The wine is then aged for five months in five-year-old neutral French oak barrels, which gives the wine a hint on white pepper spice to complement hints of raspberry on the palate. It turned out to be a perfect choice as the wine went with every course, particularly the chocolate cake seasoned with Cascabel chile and served with raspberry basil sorbet.

The next morning, still stoked about the wine, we called the number listed on the website and left a message. Five minutes later, SoloRosa's Jeff Morgan returned the call: the number was to his home office. What followed was a 15-20 minute discussion about rosé. Morgan's a passionate supporter of the blush; few others would return a phone call from a complete stranger at 9 a.m. Pacific on a Saturday. "The thing about rosés," he said, "is that they aren't always the best wines, but they're among the most versatile." As for the color, in which everyone at our table was amazed, Morgan said, "The color was a bonus this year; but people don't drink our wine for the color." We needed no convincing, having been ardent supporters of rosés for years.

In addition to Pastoral, you can purchase SoloRosa at both Lush Wine and Spirits locations (1257 S. Halsted and 2232 W. Roscoe).