April 2007

You Say Roses, They Say Rosati

Howard Goldberg writes up the new 2006 Tre Rosati and calls the 2006 Mosaico one of the most sophisticated dry whites ever created on Long Island and one of New York State’s great 2006 wines.

Although most wineries are content to produce one rosé, or none, Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton offers a handful of rosati, to use the Italian term the winery favors. 
In keeping with his preference for dry food-oriented wines characteristic of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, James Christopher Tracy, the wine maker, labels them Tre Rosati — three rosés — to emphasize that they form a trio. Each is $17, and each is distinctive, using grapes from different North Fork vineyards, separately vinified in steel tanks to preserve fruitiness and pizazz. 

All three are enticing and, with a glowing salmon-pink color, strikingly decorative in sunlight. A light chill brings out the fruitiness; iciness would waste everything. The tiny production — about 800 cases were made altogether — almost certainly will vanish by early summer. 

My favorite, by a shade, is the merlot rosato, from McCall Vineyard (Cutchogue) grapes. Almost a light red wine, it is round, creamy and redolent of strawberries. Mr. Tracy, a former chef, recommends pouring it with wild striped bass, shrimp, roast chicken, grilled sausages and tomatoes with mozzarella. 

His cabernet franc rosato from the Croteau Farm Vineyard (Southold) offers a charming aroma and flavor. Its piquancy shows off a light raspberry-strawberry flavor. It begs for casual sipping; Mr. Tracy suggests serving it with oysters and clams, white-fleshed fish, vegetables, salads and ham. 

The cabernet sauvignon rosato from Mudd Vineyard (Southold) is virtually full-bodied and carries the strength of a light red. Its aroma of tea roses is beguiling, and fresh acidity gives it digestive power. Pair it, Mr. Tracy says, with “heartier fare from the grill”: beef, lamb, chicken, pork, lobster, salmon, tuna, vegetables and mushrooms. 

As beguiling as the rosati are, none of them matches the culinary artistry of Channing Daughters’ newest wine, Mosaico, one of the most sophisticated dry whites ever created on Long Island and one of New York State’s great 2006 wines. 

This thrilling and technically daring $29 blend consists of pinot grigio (34 percent), chardonnay (33 percent), sauvignon blanc (14 percent), tocai Friulano (7 percent), gewürztraminer (6 percent) and muscat ottonel (6 percent). It’s a ritzy fruit salad in a bottle.

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