I was smitten. The moment I held that Mourvedre in my mouth, it was over. Finally, an American rosé that was not only fun, delightful, light—the usual suspects of an unpretentious pink—the 2008 Bedrock ‘Ode to Lulu’ Rosé was positively provocative.
I was to think about that rosé for the rest of the night. Its pale, somber tone that flickered ever-so-often with the blush of youth when caught unaware. The texture, the depth, the echo of the lees upon which it slept for three months before it was bound to the bottle. It almost had a haunting quality… a sense that it could not be understood without the knowledge that its grapes were born of those 120 year old Mourvedre vines.
I needed to know more.
Morgan Twain-Peterson is no rookie when it comes to winemaking. He grew up with grapes. He is the son of Joel Peterson, founder of Ravenswood Winery. He found his own way, though, and worked his way up, earning a masters from Columbia, acting as a wine buyer/seller in New York, currently finishing his Master of Wine degree (a highly prestigious feat), and going on to run Bedrock Vineyards in Sonoma.
Many people in the wine industry are quick to admit they love rosé… they are quicker, though, to follow such a ‘bold’ announcement with a comment such as, “Well, I mean, they are just so fun. Not complex by any means. But certainly lovely and light.”
What struck me about Morgan is that he, much like myself, sees rosé as having so much more significance. He explains, “[Rosé is] as much for pure pleasure as for intellectual stimulation.” Rosé, when handled properly, has as much potential to provoke thought as any other complex wine. For example, grapes must be picked at lower alcohol levels to preserve its personality. This is almost as important as its careful crushing, pressing, maceration, sur lie contact, bottling, and slumber. If the rosé is alcoholic, dull, and off-balance with residual sugar levels, then it is simply a poorly made rosé—a resourceful byproduct that lacks integrity and satiates easy economical gain. Unfortunately, this defines the majority of rosé. Fun for a night, maybe even two, but not the one you want to write home about to your friends and family.
The 2008 Bedrock ‘Ode to Lulu’ Rosé achieves a remarkable balance between buoyant light-heartedness and near austere roots of historicity that inspire minutes, even hours, of lingering contemplation. The name alone–‘Ode to Lulu’–speaks to its dual nature, as it clearly has a foothold in New World soil but translates an Old World message and style, honoring the revered Lulu Peyraud of Domaine Tempier in Bandol through the aged Mourvedre vines of Sonoma. From the fresh accessible fruit and citrus intonations to the deeper-seated notes of earth and old vine structure, it is an understatement to say what a refreshing feeling it is to behold such a gem of a rosé, particularly from the states.