Once again, we submitted a bottle of our “Brosé” (2021 Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir) to Houston-based wine writer and reviewer Jeff Kralik, who blogs under the moniker “The Drunken Cyclist.” Annually since 2017, Kralik has conducted what he believes to be the largest blind tasting of American “True Rosés.” This year’s tasting—the sixth annual—saw 51 entries, which were sampled (four at a time), reviewed and scored by a small collection of local wine professionals from the Houston area. (Sara poured 2021 Prelude at the Annual Drink Pink Festival this year, pictured above.)
Kralik began his career in education teaching high school French, math and history, then spent summer vacations in France as a cycling tour guide through the country’s wine regions. While he initially thought his blog—which he began in 2012—would devote equal portions of content to wine and to cycling, it has evolved to an exclusive focus on wine. (Note: Kralik actively discourages inebriated bike riding, but kept the name as-is because “The Guy Who Rides a Bike Hard in the Morning So He Can Enjoy a Nice Bottle of Wine With Dinner and Not Feel Guilty About It” is too long, he says.)
As noted before, the blind tasting focuses solely on “True Rosés.” Kralik explains:
There are essentially three ways to make a rosé wine. The first, which is rarely practiced outside of sparkling wine production, is a simple blend of red wine and white wine. The second, which is widely practiced around the world, is called the Saignée Method where shortly after the fruit intended for red wine is crushed, a portion of the grape juice (after brief contact with the skins) is bled off (“saigné” means “bled” in French). This bled-off wine is then vinified as if it were a white wine.
The third option is what I call a “True Rosé.” In this process, the grapes are often planted, raised, picked, and processed with the intention of making rosé. True Rosés are therefore not a byproduct of red wine production (as with a saignée), they are intentionally or purposefully made. They are True Rosés.
Here’s what the panel had to say about 2021 Prelude:
2021 Bells Up Winery Pinot Noir Prelude, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $28. Richer color here, a light red more than pink. Salinity and muted fruit on the nose with an agreeable palate loaded with fruit but a tartness that struggles slightly to keep up. Overall, though, a solid wine. Excellent. 90 Points.