Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Rose Rockoff Event - 15@15C!

Eight months ago, I started my quest to do a blog on the "best of the best" roses in the Paso area. Yes, EIGHT months ago. But finally, after running from winery to winery (thru rain, thru snow, thru sleet - oh wait, it was summer...) I narrowed my favorites down to the top six. Then to take it to the next level, this past Saturday, I hosted the "Rose Rockoff" event where us "regular tasting room folk" got to choose #1 out of my top six.

What was absolutely hilarious for me is that it was held on probably the coldest night of the year so far! We were out on the back patio at 15C - with a heat lamp that actually did keep us pretty darn warm - yet it was still a freezing night. But we proved that you can drink rose anytime, anywhere - no matter how cold or warm it is! It was perfect :)

What is ironic is that when I first started in the wine industry, I hated roses! I had never found any that impressed me. I was working with my dear friend, Michelle at Cypher Winery, and she LOVED rose. In fact, I have dubbed her the "Grand Dame of Rose." She got me hooked on the rose bug, and really was an inspiration for this blog. So thanks, Ms. Michelle! Not only did you get me hooked on rose, but you & Ali got me hooked on bubbles.......

OK - focus Sarah - don't be distracted by bubbles. Here we go:

Boyfriend and I were running late to the event as we both had crazy Saturdays at work. Tho to note: the name Boyfriend currently represents "Formally Known as Boyfriend" until further notice - meaning the position of Boyfriend on this blog may be up for grabs. But in the meantime, Dana, as my best friend, is happy to play the part for the sake of the blog :) 

So as I said, we got there late and had to do the set up. I needed to taste through all of the roses again to get the lineup for tasting - from light roses to the heavier roses. Keep in mind, the last time I had some of these roses was months ago so I had to refresh my memory on what was what. In the middle of this, folks kept showing up and wanting to say hi and I had to yell at them to go away so they wouldn't see the bottles - it was pretty funny as most folks didn't believe me and kept coming so I really had to kick them out. The best was Addie who wouldn't listen at all and came in for hugs with her eyes closed so she wouldn't see the bottles - too funny.

Here's the lineup of the roses. We labeled them A to F, from lightest to heaviest roses, trying to make a nice transition from varietal to varietal:

So I of course, had to do a little talk about the madness of my eight month rose blog. It was going well until a Mr. Bobby Fox and a Mr. Glenn Milton decided that they needed to heckle me - tho of course it was pretty hilarious. At one point, Mr. Bobby yelled - "Get on with the tasting already!" Ok Bobby, I know you needed to get your drink on, but seriously? hahahahaha

Tho I bored Bobby (just kidding, Bobby!!) I talked about why I started this silly little blog and how sometimes I wondered at the point of it all.....but because of this blog, it was a great excuse to get all my friends from the area together for this tasting so, woo hoo! I also talked about how lucky I felt to have met so many people in just the last year via the Paso Wine Industry and how all the folks in attendance were a type of "family" for me. Beyond that, I talked about the last eight months of me trying to get to all the wineries I wanted to get to to try their roses, and why I chose the ones I did. Ok - so I did run about the mouth a bit but come on - this is my Rose Rockoff Event that I've been waiting eight months for! My only regret is that I didn't have everyone introduce themselves so at the next event, y'all better be ready.

Here we go: the lineup was six roses to be tasted by 15 local tasting room folks - the main 15@15c. Boyfriend and I were an extra two. Ok - I realize that really makes 17@15 but...whatever. 

Here's a photo of my dear Addie and I promoting 15C. Addie's name is really Adelaida - after Adelaida Road & the Adelaida hills. You can't get more wine industry than that!

And before we get going - a big thanks to Ali & everyone at 15C for hosting the event for us! It was a great space to hold the tasting event & we really appreciate all of your hospitality.

So we start with the first rose. It has a fabulous nose, and is totally dry. Really clean and crisp. My buddies Garrett, Addie & Alex all said, "We know which one this is - it's a L'Aventure." I said, "Oooo you cocky, cocky people. It's not a L'Aventure - just wait till you find out what it is!" They were like "Nooooo! It's really not a L'Aventure??" So I had to get a photo of their cocky little selves being told that they were wrong - soooo funny!

We then tried the next rose, which was still really light, but more on the sweet side. From there, the next rose had quite an earthy funk on the nose (as it was mourvedre based) but had a beautiful, elegant taste about it as well as great finish. The next rose was dry and had a clean grapefruit/guava taste. The next was bigger, yet with a tad of sweetness and even a little spice. The last rose was HUGE and almost lent itself to a red wine. Whew! That's a lot of tasting!

Here's a photo of my dear Bobby Fox and T as they were exhausted from tasting all the wine, but as you can see, were also expressing their love for each other :) I personally think T was dreaming dreams of the upcoming grenache tasting...but we'll talk about that later......

Everyone took their time, tasting through the wines and figuring out which was their favorite. They rated the wines, turned in their cards, and I had to total them all up. But before I announced the winner, we had to get a photo of the whole group of tasters:

The 15 tasters were:

Lindsay, the Tasting Room Manager @ Thatcher Winery along with her boyfriend Nick, who works production at Vina Robles
Lindsey Burrell from Halter Ranch Vineyards (where I currently work)
Addie from Epoch Winery
T (short for Tajin) from Cypher Winery
Alex from Tablas Creek
Garrett from Calcareous Vineyards and his girlfriend Jesse who is working production at Meridian 
Michelle - the Grand Dame of roses who works at 15C along with her husband Stew
Bobby Fox who does a bunch of stuff in the wine industry, including working at Venteux now and again
English Glenn who works at Venteux
Maggie whose family owns Alta Colina
Taryn from Jada Winery
Jason from Calcareous

Ok, drumroll please....the winner is....

ACK! It's a tie! The winners were:
The Cote a Cote Rose from L'Aventure & Chamisal's Grenache Rose. 

The fabulous runner's up were "La Grande Cote" by Guillaume Fabre & Erich Russell, Bam Bam by Terry Hoage, L'Aventure Estate Rose & Clayhouse Adobe Pink. More on these wines to come.....

Wow! What's interesting is that the two winners were my favorites going into the event so I am so glad that they both won - how fun to have a tie! That said, my favorite for the evening was a different rose...I'll tell you why soon...

But here's Ms. Addie after we announced the winner:

And here's the other fabulous "fashion" photos of the evening:

Myself with Ms. Michelle - the Belle of the Rose Blog - 

Myself with the darling Alex and the fabulous Mr. Glenn with the sexy English accent - 

Sarah with Addie, Nick & Lindsay - my fellow hardcore rose tasters -

Plus a great shot of "Formally Known as Boyfriend" & I with Garrett and his girl, Jesse:

Next up I need to go into more details about each of the roses on the blog as well as the story of how 15C suddenly turned into a dance club on a Saturday night. That said, I'm pooped and will have to do Part 2 of this blog tomorrow. But.....I will tantalize you with anticipation to make sure you check in to read Part 2: What's the details on the other wines listed for the tasting? What was Sarah's favorite for the night? Did Sarah & Michelle sing bad Lady Gaga karaoke at the dance party? Only if you tune into Part Two will you find out :)

Cheers to the Rose Rockoff!!!!

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