Sobon Estate Rose 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This is a bone-dry, steely, acid- and tannin driven wine based on Grenache grapes that achieves a taut mouthfeel, refreshing crispness and austere earthy red-fruit flavors. For the right occasion, as an aperitif, with gougere or prosciutto, it could be perfect.
Shenandoah Vineyards in Plymouth, CA, was founded in 1977 by Shirley and Leon Sobon. They moved from Los Altos, California, where Leon was a Senior Scientist with the Lockheed Research Lab. Leon's gift for home winemaking led him to leave Lockheed and begin a new career as a Winemaker.
The selection of a winery site in the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County was well researched. Leon and Shirley and their six children moved to the old Steiner Ranch, outside Plymouth, CA, planted a vineyard, and converted the old stone garage to the Shenandoah Vineyards winery. Sobon Estate was formed with the purchase of the D'Agostini winery in 1989.
As the lower part of the greater Sierra Foothills appellation, Amador is roughly a plateau whose vineyards grow at 1,200 to 2,000 feet in elevation. It is 100 miles east of both San Francisco and Napa Valley. Most of its wineries are in the oak-studded rolling hillsides of Shenandoah Valley or east in Fiddletown, where elevations are slightly higher.
The Sierra Foothills growing area was among the largest wine producers in the state during the gold rush of the late 1800s. The local wine industry enjoyed great success until just after the turn of the century when fortune-seekers moved elsewhere and its population diminished. With Prohibition, winemaking was totally abandoned, along with its vineyards. But some of these, especially Zinfandel, still remain and are the treasure chest of the Sierra Foothills as we know them.
Most Amador vines are planted in volcanic soils derived primarily from sandy clay loam and decomposed granite. Summer days are hot but nighttime temperatures typically drop 30 degrees and the humidity is low, making this an ideal environment for grape growing. Because there is adequate rain throughout the year and even snow in the winter, dry farming is possible.
Whether it’s playful and fun or savory and serious, most rosé today is not your grandmother’s White Zinfandel, though that category remains strong. Pink wine has recently become quite trendy, and this time around it’s commonly quite dry. Since the pigment in red wines comes from keeping fermenting juice in contact with the grape skins for an extended period, it follows that a pink wine can be made using just a brief period of skin contact—usually just a couple of days. The resulting color depends on grape variety and winemaking style, ranging from pale salmon to deep magenta.