VintageTweets: William Chris Malbec Rosé 2016 – Reading Labels
A lot can be conveyed in 140 characters, but even more can be lost. This recent pour was a delight: William Chris Vineyards Malbec Rosé 2016 that contained fresh, crisp and invigorating fruit characteristics of tart cherry, strawberry highlighted with white pepper and dry clay minerals on the finish.
A simple read of the wine’s labels (front and back) says so much more. This Malbec Rosé was made from grapes that came from the winery’s own “Hye Estate Vineyard” in the “Texas Hill Country” and was “Concrete Aged”. This latter point of concrete aging could be lost if not highlighted on the label. It explains much about this wine.
In recent years, influential winemakers have been experimenting with what they call “concrete-raised wines”. These are wines fermented or aged in concrete tanks with splendid results. The use of concrete vessels in winemaking has a long history in Europe, but it’s actually somewhat new here in the states and particularly in Texas. What concrete offers is the slow micro-oxygenation of the wine like observed in oak barrels, but without the take-up of oaky characteristics gained in oak barrel aging.
The back label says that this William Chris wine was fermented and aged in a concrete vessel for 8 months. This is long enough to produce fresh, clean aromatics similar to those yielded by aging in stainless steel but with a softer, gentler feel on the palate. This label also highlights that the grapes were grown and wines actually produced and bottled by William Chris Vineyards in Hye, Texas, and not by a third-party. Therefore, everything was done on the winery’s estate in Hye within eyeshot of the winemaker. Other tidbits given on the label indicate that the bottle was 750 ml, the wine had a nice and easy 12.2% alcohol by volume (to be pleasant on the palate as well as the mind), and it (like all wines) contains sulfites.
The final note is that the winery suggests that the serving temperature for this light, bright rosé to be 50 F for the best experience.
Once you open the wine, all that left to be said is “Cheers” and “bottoms up”.