Devison Vintners has just released its first wine. However, the Walla Walla based family behind the brand is anything but new to the industry. This year will be Winemaker Peter Devison’s 19th harvest, after all. His wife, Kelsey, began a career in wine sales and distribution 13 years ago. Together, they’ve launched their own brand and just released one of the most beautiful rosés I’ve tasted this year. If the 2018 Devison Vintners Rosé is any indication of what’s to come, expect to hear plenty more about this couple and their wines in the future!
I first encountered Peter when he spoke at the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, Washington. Two years later, we worked together at a Woodinville winery after he moved across the state. Peter’s talent and dedication to the cellar were apparent from the start, and I have great respect for this hard working winemaker.
It is from Peter that I learned what makes rosé exceptional. Quality rosés made with intent are main stream today. However, he was at the forefront of the movement in Washington State, and is a master of rosé. While some winemakers bottled pink wine made with the cast-off juice from another wine, (saignée method, a process that concentrates the red wine), Peter made a point of bringing in grapes while they still retained acidity and had lower levels of sugars. He kept the wine on the lees (yeast particles) for a period of time in order to build mid-palate intensity and reduce astringency. Then, unlike the sweet rosé most of us know and fear, he fermented the wine to dryness.
Peter embraces a minimalist intervention style of winemaking and has mad skills when it comes to native fermentation. In other words, he relies on the natural yeast on the grapes and in the cellar rather than using commercial yeasts. Commercial yeasts can alter flavor and amp up alcohol. He also minimizes racking, the process of moving wine from one vessel to another. “The more you have to move a wine, it depletes greatness,” he’d tell me. Over the years, the resulting wines have been awarded top scores from critics. It will be exciting to see what happens when his latest wines reach the market.
The official release for Devison Vintners is slated for spring of next year and the anticipated lineup includes:
Stony Vine Syrah
Rhône Red Blend
The Making of Devison Vinters Rosé
It’s no surprise that the inaugural 2018 rosé from Devison Vintners is rosé with intention. This Washington wine is a blend of 77% Mourvèdre and 23% Grenache from acclaimed Boushey Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. This site is on a southwest slope over 1,300 feet in elevation, which is well over the height of the Missoula flood table. That means the soils are truly ancient. The climate is known for its long, sunny days and cool evenings. Such conditions result in crisp, refreshing wine.
After picking, the fruit went straight to press without any processing or skin contact, and then cold soaked for 12 hours. This means that the pressed juice was maintained at a temperature of about 50˚F before fermentation started. You know how when food is cooked low and slow, it retains and intensifies flavors? Think of it like that. Next, the juice was transferred to a mix of 50/50 concrete and neutral barrel for fermentation with native yeasts. This wine was kept on the lees for four months. It was then filtered and bottled in early February.
Out of the Bottle
Devison Vintners Rosé is the palest of pinks. The color could be referred to as rose gold or even onion skin. It’s so exquisitely delicate. Alcohol is recorded at 12.5% and, of course, the wine is bone dry.
This elegant rosé gives me tropical fruit and floral notes on the nose. At first sip, it makes me think of cherry blossoms and the anticipation of the season’s first strawberries. Vibrant, feminine, and beautiful, perhaps the winemaker modeled it after his wife.
Although I’m usually all about pairing wine with food, I thoroughly enjoy this wine on its own. It’s the best way to appreciate the coming of summer and experience that “at last” sensation.
I was fortunate to receive a sample bottle of this release, then promptly ordered a half case. It is likely that I’ll need to purchase more before the end of the summer!
Find Devison Vintners Rosé
If you wish to secure this wonderful wine while it’s available (and I highly recommend you do!), it can be found online via the Devison Vintners website for $24 a bottle. In Seattle, Devison Vintners can be found at Esquin Wine and Spirits. For those in Woodinville, head to the Barking Frog restaurant for lunch or dinner and enjoy Devison Vintners Rosé by the bottle or glass.
Someone tweeted the other day that they wouldn’t pay more than $20 for a pink wine. I, however, am willing. After all, a lot of care and expense goes into a quality wine like this. There’s not just fruit from a top grower. It’s also a labor of love that requires the skills of an accomplished winemaker to coax the vineyard from the grapes. Additionally, a concrete vessel for fermentation is an expensive investment. Not to mention, the labels were manually affixed to each bottle. Plus, consider the drive time from Walla Walla to Seattle to deliver the goods. All in all, Devison Vinters Rosé is not a cheap wine to bring to market. It’s also not a wine to slug down without a thought. Open a bottle and savor each sip, one at a time.