Arnot-Roberts (Northern California only), 2020 Touriga Nacional Rosé
68% Touriga Nacional, 16% Gamay Noir, 11% Cabernet Franc, 5% Grenache
Soils: Cole series; Alluvial fine sandy loam
Vine Density: 6’x8’
This lightly-colored, direct-press rosé is at the top of its class, which includes all the great rosés of the world. Arnot-Roberts has single handedly introduced this Portuguese varietal to the greater market for California wine. Though obviously well-known as playing a big part in the blends used to make fine port, it took these young California winemakers to show us what a great rosé it is capable of producing. Beginning with the 2020 vintage, small percentages of Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Grenache have been added to the mix. Touriga Nacional still remains the dominant varietal in the blend.
Bernie Luchsinger emigrated to the United States in the mid 1960s from Chile and planted his vineyard in Kelseyville thirty years later. Now, Bernie along with his daughter Pilar are growing some of the most interesting grape varieties planted in California: both the Trousseau, and the Touriga Nacional for rosé. The vineyard is planted at 1400’ on volcanic alluvium soils laid over ancient riverbed cobblestones in the Big Valley area west of Clear Lake, the second largest natural body of water in California after Lake Tahoe. These varieties both thrive in the long, warm days and cool nights of the Big Valley, and retain their acidity and personality well in this arid environment. We are lucky to have pioneers like the Luchsingers who were willing to take a risk with relatively unknown varieties in an effort to find what was best for their land.