Horton’s “Gears and Lace” label Pinotage Rose 2018

As we know, 2018 was a very difficult vintage for Virginia vintners, but despite that, the industry has been through bad vintages before and I’ve never seen such a bad vintage that people worked so hard through to get such surprisingly good wines from.

One of these is a new label, from the “Gears and Lace” series by Horton Vineyards, of a rose of Pinotage. This may be the most intriguing and original wine I’ve had all year, and is a must for those who want an edgy, new, original and very hedonistic Virginia wine in a dry rose format.

The color is pretty dark, crimson for a rose. I don’t have a problem with that; the French own the Provencal pale pink rose category and that’s great for them, but we in the U.S. (and especially the East) should feel free to make our own stylistic models for dry rose that include darker color and juicier flavors.

The nose: very intriguing and full of fun stuff! It’s like a dark rose from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, juicy and smoky as if made from southern Rhone grapes, or a blend of Tannat and Carignane. The aromas resolve into roses, and a riot of red fruits: plums, cherries, strawberries and some rhubarb.

Palate: dry but rich (13.5%), round and full-bodied, this rose is juicy and if it were on an online dating site, would be described as “curvy”, even voluptuous, bursting with red fruit flavors (mostly strawberry), and a long finish. This wine is as subtle as Aretha Franklin singing “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”, but in the best way.

Great with spicy foods, barbecue, and the best rose for cooler weather and richer foods now that summer is (finally?) leaving (allegedly…)

Incidentally, I will be at Horton Vineyards (west of Orange just east of Barboursville) this Saturday, October 5th, from 12:00-2:00 p.m. signing copies of my definitive book on Virginia wine, Beyond Jefferson’s Vines.