May first and kicking off #ROSÉSEASON officially because they will NOT cancel this stuff. All that beautiful rosé sittin there ready to be shipped, and people all worried about summer being cancelled and deliveries not running, but why should any of that stop us from bathing in the rosé this spring? These are both 2018’s, mellowed and perfect and ready to go.

Those in the back rows know how picky I am about rosé. I don’t drink pink crap, I have to practically be forced to drink Pinot rosé. I pretty much drink exclusively Grenache rosé, a little Mourvedre and Cinsault and maybe a Syrah mixed in now and then. It has to pass a color test, and anything pink or red gets rejected. Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Bardolino–in Veneto Region–after experiencing the rosés made from Corvina. This grape–in its red form–holds many characteristics of Pinot and Grenache, and the rosés are crisp and dry, with un-cloying fruit, not saignée, and carrying the perfect onion-skin tone.

They impressed me ridiculously in Italy, and this is the first time I have opened one alongside another rosé. The Withers is a Sierra Foothills Grenache/Mourvedre with a splash of Cinsault. From a family of lean, mean wines, I thought it might be a good juxtaposition–not a contest, merely a counter-point. Especially for skeptics of the Chiaretto.

The Withers has a subdued, calm melon nose, maybe a touch of carmelized onion and dried spit. Invigorating on the palate, it immediately begins a spicy dance, acid zapping the tongue, bright strawberry and morning newspaper with full, round peach in the loooooong finish surrounded by the proper bitter.

The Rizzardi has far more of a floral nose. Lilies and gardenia, lychee and rich banana-mango pours out of it, tempered by a dark streak: black walnut and warm applesauce. Full and rich in the mouth, a blockbuster of ripe, rich watermelon and peach, held back a grade by grand acid which curtails of all that richness before it goes flabby. The finishes are very similar: restrained fruit and that lovely bitter curl.

The Withers actually feels more rustic than the Rizzardi, something I would attribute to Bardolino being far cooler than El Dorado, and the great strides the Chiaretto Pink consortium has taken to modernize production. Both gorgeous, I’m looking forward to summer with these.

2018 GUERRIERI RIZZARDI Chiaretto Corvina/Rondinella/Sangiovese Bardolino Veneto Italy 13.5
2018 THE WITHERS Rosé GR/MV/Cinsault 58/40/2 El Dorado California 13.1

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