Sparkling rosé is trending across the country, and a handful of local winemakers are producing varieties that are anything but sticky-sweet. The crisp, bubbly wines are a refreshing choice for spring and pair well with a range of dishes, from rich pork to delicate seafood.
St. James Winery
Sparkling blush has been part of St. James Winery’s portfolio for about 30 years – even longer than veteran winemaker Andrew Meggitt has been on board. Although he doesn’t make much of it compared to St. James’ other offerings, Meggitt says the sparkling blush has a pretty loyal following. “You’re dealing with a product that is in the right place at the right time for the people [in this area],” he says. “It smells absolutely delightful – like cotton candy and candy apples.” The wine, made of mostly Catawba grapes, is carbonated in the tank before bottling and is fairly sweet, with 6 percent residual sugar. “Oddly enough, it goes really well with pulled pork and barbecued meats,” Meggitt says. “I also find it goes well with spicy food, particularly Indian and Thai.” He’s also working on a Champagne-style brut rosé that will likely be released in late 2017. St. James has been perfecting this drier sparkling wine for a few years; this is the first vintage the team has been happy with. The brut rosé is made with Norton and uses méthode champenoise for carbonation; there are two other bruts being made with either Vignoles or Cayuga White grapes. “The ones we’ve done have a really pretty aroma – they smell like strawberries and raspberries on the nose,” he says. “We haven’t released the [previous] ones because we [didn’t think they were] good enough, and that’s how we operate.”
St. James Winery, 540 State Route B, St. James, Missouri, 800.280.9463, stjameswinery.com
Crown Valley Winery
Crown Valley Winery grows about 9 acres of Valvin Muscat, a hybrid grape, at its vineyard in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. Its resulting sparkling pink Moscato clocks in at about 6 percent residual sugar (whereas its white Moscato is at 10 percent), making it a more food-friendly, semisweet sparkling wine. The bubbles are introduced using the Charmat method: The wine is put in a pressure tank, which causes a natural, secondary fermentation resulting in a sparkling wine. “Our pink Moscato is really good as a summertime sparkling rosé style; we do a lot of pairings with sorbets, fresh fruits, parfaits,” says director of operations Bryan Siddle, who notes that it’s one of Crown Valley’s best-sellers, next to its blackberry wine. “People tend to lean against any pink, thinking it’s more of a very sweet White Zinfandel style, but there are some amazing rosés out there – sparkling or nonsparkling – that I enjoy for everyday, especially in the summertime.” Siddle also suggests trying Crown Valley’s pink Moscato in a refreshing summer sangria, perhaps at its new Branson, Missouri, outpost, which opened in late April.
Crown Valley Winery, 23589 State Route WW, Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, 866.207.9463, crownvalleywinery.com
Stone Hill Winery
At Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, Missouri, the brut rosé gets its bubbles from the traditional méthode champenoise: A mix of Vidal Blanc and Chambourcin grapes are aged at least three years in the bottle for natural fermentation, just like true French Champagnes. “Vidal has proven to be an excellent variety in Missouri for bottle-fermenting sparkling wines because it isn’t something that’s excessively varietal,” says Stone Hill senior winemaker Dave Johnson. “You’re really looking more for the bottle-fermented, sur lie, aged character. The inclusion of the Chambourcin has this kind of cherry fruit note to it that we think really gives it a delightful character.” At just 0.9 percent residual sugar, Johnson says it’s an ideal wine for a nice evening on the deck or paired with lighter foods like smoked pork chops. “We do give it a rather lengthy time aging on the yeast in the bottle before disgorging, which is probably a little unusual in North America, but we like it like that,” he says. “What you’re getting is a French Champagne-style of sparkling rosé at a much more reasonable price.”
Stone Hill Winery, 1110 Stone Hill Highway, Hermann, Missouri, 573.486.2221, stonehillwinery.com