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Screen shot 2014-04-21 at 7.12.05 PMFinally in Virginia, the sun has come out and the 7 day forecast does not show snow, sleet, or frost. With almost every Virginia winery having a staple dry Rose it was time to open one up. Early Mountain Vineyards located in Madison, Virginia was once called Sweely Estate until it was bought out by AOL Founder Steve Case. Case, now estimated at $1.3 billion dollars and number 1382 on Forbes billionaire list, has created a destination for not just the wine made on the property there but all Virginia wines.

If you go to visit, you will usually have local music and small plates on a menu that is a little bigger than you find at most wineries. They also have a little bit of merchandise but what really makes them different is that instead of tastings they do flights. These flights change ever so often and feature other wineries around the area. I have had a few red ones and even a flight of Cabernet Francs from the same winery of different years. They are a little pricier then a tasting but still an interesting experience.

This brings us to tonights selection of the 2012 Early Mountain Vineyards Malbec Merlot Rose. They must be making room for the new vintage because it is normally $18 a bottle and it was on sale for $100 a case and $80 a case for wine club members. You can’t beat $6.66 for a bottle of wine! They also have a really nice website and this is what they had to say about their wine:

Who brought the watermelon? Like the fruit it resembles, our 2012 Malbec-Merlot Rosé is both refreshing on its own and instant fun at the table. But this dynamic wine has a serious side too—it’s completely dry. Our 2012 Rosé is made of 79% Merlot and 21% Malbec and vinified the traditional way by resting on its skins 24 hours. It pairs great with both salty and herbal foods, from charcuterie plates to anything influenced by mint or basil. This strikingly bright, iridescent pink wine is for those that take good times seriously!

Interesting because my bottle says 78% Merlot and 22% Malbec, typo maybe? Only 330 cases produced and I own one. Might I also mention that it is not common to see a Malbec in a Virginia Rose and this grape is becoming one of my favorite wherever it is grown. So how is it?

Color – A bright clear Ruby Red.

Nose – Not super fruit forward but definitely has that classic Jolly Rancher nose I see in a lot of Virginia Roses.

Taste – Lots of fresh strawberry at the beginning and fades to more tart. Light-bodied.

Finish – Clean and crisp. Hits you hard & dry then runs aways fast.

Overall, a very good picnic summer day’s wine. For some reason the old Degree commercials come through here in my mind “strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.” I doubt this wine was made for a woman but it could be a crowd pleasure even for the most diverse crowds. Some guys just need to get over the color of the wine and know that it makes it more of a red than a white. I have been to this winery twice and men at other tables refused to be caught dead holding a glass. Grow up! Real men drink dry Rose!

Rating: B

~Justin