For the first time ever we sent off a bottle of our “Brosé” (2020 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 saw 68 entries, which were sampled (four at a time), reviewed and scored by a small collection of local wine professionals from the Houston area.
Kralik, who began his career in education teaching high school French, math and history, would spend his 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:
What is a “True Rosé”?
Well, 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 a red grape crush, 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 raised, picked, and processed with the intention of making rosé. True Rosés are therefore not a byproduct of red wine production, they are intentionally or purposefully made. They are True Rosés.
Here’s what the panel had to say about 2020 Prelude (which, we were thrilled to note after perusing all the other Willamette Valley entries, had one of the highest scores!)…
2020 Bells Up Winery Pinot Noir Prelude, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $28. 109 Cases made. Quite red for a rosé. A bit medicinal on the nose with some red fruit. The palate is also quite fruity with some intense acidity. Very nice. Excellent. 92 Points.