The winemakers of the Sonoma Coast are sneaky.
They produce and talk mostly about reds and whites made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay respectively. And although those classic wines are still the deserved show horses of the region, there’s a secret coming out of those vineyards: rosé.
Several prominent winemakers are cordoning off acreage and growing prized grapes specifically for wines of a pinker hue.
2011 Red Car Bybee Vineyard Rosé ($25 for 750 ml; click here to buy): The Pinot Noir grapes used in this inaugural offering from Red Car Wine Co. are culled from a single cool-climate vineyard that is farmed biodynamically. Bright with peach, honeysuckle and melon, this rosé is barely pink in the glass but undeniably refreshing.
2011 Lioco Indica Rosé ($16 for 750 ml; click here to buy): The founders of this winery break their own Chard-and-Pinot-centric rules for this rosé. For the 2010 bottling, they started using old-vine Carignan to make the juicy, strawberry-rich wine; the 2011 continues that tradition and shows even better, with a bone-dry finish.
2011 Cep Rosé ($24 for 750 ml; click here to buy): This rosé is bottled under the second label of the famed Peay Vineyards, overseen by rock-star vintner Vanessa Wong. Though the winery is located in the Sonoma Coast, this year's rosé uses Pinot Noir grapes from the Russian River Valley. It is a true vin gris, with flavors of intense minerals, citrus and a touch of sugar.