Writer and wine columnist John Schreiner is Canada's most prolific author of books on wine.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Sandhill Rosé is back
Photo: Sandhill's Sandy Leier
You know that spring has arrived when wineries begin releasing their rosé wines.
At Sandhill Wines, Sandy Leier has been making acclaimed Provence-style rosé for several vintages.
Sandy succeeded Howard Soon, the veteran Sandhill winemaker, when he retired. Where Howard made single vineyard wines only, she has extended the portfolio to include “terroir driven” wines with fruit from several vineyards that supply Sandhill.
Sandy was born in Vancouver and grew up in Kelowna where she prepared for a winemaking career with a degree in chemistry from the University of British Columbia Okanagan. She joined the Andrew Peller winemaking team in 2006. Before taking over Sandhill, she was the lead winemaker for both Calona Vineyards and Wayne Gretzky Okanagan.
Provence style rosé has come to mean pale, occasionally delicate, always dry and refreshing. The Sandhill rosé is a wine in search of a picnic or a luncheon on the deck.
Whether made in this style, or in a more robust style, rosé wines have become very popular. Some wineries are releasing them in significant volume. Bartier Bros., for example, has just released 3,000 cases of its delicious 2020 rosé.
Sandhill has produced 6,000 cases of its rosé. After all, the winery has the entire marketing muscle of Andrew Peller Ltd. behind it, making sure the rosé has good distribution. The package – a clear bottle shaped somewhat like a bowling pin – adds to the wine’s shelf appeal.
This is a blend of 65% Gamay Noir and 35% Merlot. Here is a note on the wine … and a toast to all the other pink wines we will see this spring.
Sandhill Rosé 2020 ($20 for 6,112 cases). The wine has aromas and flavours of strawberry, raspberry and melon. It is crisp and balanced to finish very slightly off-dry. 90.