Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rose sales 'blooming' nicely at Hauser Estate

Winemaker Michelle Oakes welcomes several visitors to the winery during the 2009 Tour de Tanks in March.
Wrote a day or two ago about Seattle native and Cornell educated Michelle Oakes, who joined the then soon-to-open Hauser Estate Winery in Pennsylvania's Adams County in the late spring of 2008. That winery is now open and pulling visitors to its hilltop spot overlooking the rolling terrain that borders Gettysburg's Civil War battlefield. If you're visiting Hanover or Gettysburg, or driving through the area on Route 30 or Route 15, it's a stop you need to make.

Oakes was asked if the sales of any one wine that Hauser Estate produces has surprised her.
Yes, she answered, there was one, the
Cabernet Franc Rose.

"I guess one I personally wouldn't to be shocked by, but just based on what people usually prefer I'm shocked by, is the sales on the rose," she said. "Rose is a hard sell. It's one of those wines that just based on its repuation is a hard sell. You're dry wine drinkers think blush when they see it and they think it's sweet, and your blush drinkers assume it's going to be sweet as well. So when you put a Rose on the market your blush drinkers get excited about a wine that they're probably not going to care for much and your red wine drinkers don't want to touch it.

"But the rose has been really well received. I think initally it was getting the people to try it, and then the word kind of spread that it's not a blush style; it's actually a fairly heavy rose, it's got a lot of earthiness to it. It was actually on the skins a little bit longer than you usually would do a rose."

Given the winemaker's background in food, the obvious followup was a question about pairing. In her mind, it matches up with almost anything.

"Rose is a great food-pairing wine because you can do it with lighter fare, but if it's a heavier rose it will still hold up to some heavier dishes," she said. "I mean, it comes about perfect when you're thinking things like pork or chicken in a heavier sauce, where you're like, I could go white but if I wanted red, it's a good crossover. I always say rose is a good picnic wine."

Also a good wine for a feast, such as Thanksgiving, where you're likely to see it recomended as one of the perfect wines to place around the food-laden table. Oakes agreed, noting that "it doesn't overshadow your turkey but it holds up to your gravy and your stuffing, all those things."

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