It’s almost summer in the Hamptons, which means rosé season is nearly here. In the last several years, rosé has become synonymous with the East End, and this year, Wölffer Estate Vineyard is especially excited about their latest pink offerings.
“First of all, we had this dream vintage of 2020,” says winemaker Roman Roth of the 2020 Summer in a Bottle and Estate Rosé. “It was literally a dream come true, it was the perfect growing season last year, so there was some good news in 2020, and just a dream. July, August and September were amazingly dry. It was almost a drought year, which is great for making quality wines, and then, of course, comes all the big pressure, the big push that we get everything beautifully and well-protected into the bottles.” Roth and his team are currently finishing the bottling process for both wines. Once they release them, he says, “it starts a wave of excitement, and just the spring feeling, the summer feeling is here.”
While the climate has become increasingly unpredictable, Roth feels this year’s vintages benefited from it. “It’s cooler out here. That is great for the grapes. It dries the dew quicker, so there’s less fungus pressure. It dries the grapes quicker. We expose the grapes by removing the leaves around the clusters so that they get the sun. The sun hits them quicker, they dry quicker, the air hits them better.”
That Roth is so enthusiastic about this year’s vintage says a lot, considering how hard it must have been to work under social distancing conditions during the pandemic. “We’ve been very strict, we work late, we work shifts,” explains Roth. “We had half our team. At harvest times, we had the morning shifts and then the night shifts so that there’s not 12 people running around, there’s only six people running around. All we do is work, so nobody went out partying.”
Wölffer, along with the rest of the Hamptons and North Fork wineries, have helped make a name for Long Island as a burgeoning wine industry, with several, including Paumanok and Pindar, taking home big awards at the New York Wine Classic this year. “New Yorkers are very spoiled,” Roth says with a chuckle. “They get everything from around the world. Everybody wants to sell in New York. I think there are over 2,200 rosés on sale in New York. Quality, in the end, is what counts.”
And quality means consistency. “I think, always, most important is consistency because I said earlier everybody can make good wine in a good year. We’ve really been pushing. We’re really working hard on the consistency that every year, we make nice wine. I think that’s where, finally, we’ve managed to break the ice, to break the prejudice. You know how hard it is to break prejudice.”
Summer in a Bottle 2020 tasting notes: Don’t be misguided by the 2020 Summer in a Bottle Rosé bottle design. With its whimsical exterior, inside lays a purposeful yet approachable rosé. Each vintage brings a new chance to capture the ripe fruit, and 2020 provided ideal growing conditions for each cluster, giving every berry a chance to ripen perfectly. The nine grape varietals transform this blend, creating a complex yet balanced palette, savory, long finish, and luxurious ripeness that’s unmatched.
2020 Estate Rosé tasting notes: The 2020 Estate Rosé brings complexity, great dimension, and understated elegance. Destined to remain an award-winning favorite, scoring 90 points for Wine Enthusiast, the Estate Rosé’s brightness and acidity give a strong nod to the maritime climate that gives the unique characteristics to the grapes that lend to this wine’s final taste. It was the rosé that started it all for the Wölffer brand, and the 2020 vintage is truly the greatest in its history. Floral aromas with rose petals, orange, fresh melon, and ripe kiwi fill the glass.