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Rosella's Vineyard 2018 Zinfandel

Making wine on island time.

Rex and Sandi Garoutte had high-powered careers in the Bay Area in the 1990s. She was an insurance sales manager and he was an engineer. Rex tried his hand at brewing beer, and before long was buying grapes from a vineyard in Lodi, California. As Rex’s hobby grew, Sandi started thinking about moving back home to Southern Oregon.

Before long, they found a 10-acre property that had vines planted in the 1980s. Sandi taught herself vineyard management. Rosella’s Vineyard is one of the few dry-framed (non-irrigated) vineyards in Southern Oregon, and she (and her adult son) do all the vineyard work themselves.

Rex became a full-time winemaker and named the winery for his mom, Rosella. Her favorite place in the world? Hawaii.

Rex and Sandi wanted to incorporate the feeling of happiness and unrushed time they experience in Hawaii into their brand. They are old school and unapologetic. Friendly, not fancy.

You’ll sit outside under the roof of their winery/tasting room/house next to their boat for tastings and can take your glass and walk right out into the vines. Perfection.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Rosella's Vineyard, Grants Pass, Oregon
2018 Zinfandel

Zinfandel may be a warm weather grape, but it’s still pretty rare to find in Southern Oregon. Rex and Sandi loved Zinfandel from early days in California, so in the early 2000s, they pulled out some Chardonnay and planted Zinfandel.

But it took them a long while to figure out how to produce a great wine from those grapes. At first, the vines would go crazy, producing huge amounts of unappealing grapes. But if they clipped all the clusters off after the first cluster of grapes, those few grapes remaining would make outstanding wine.

This is an intense red Zinfandel, perfect for cold weather, and big, bold meat dishes (with, perhaps, a nice hunk of blue cheese on the side). It is full bodied, black and inky with blackberry and black cherry flavors held together with a hint of oak, cedar, and black pepper. Despite its intensity, there is a nice hint of acid running through that balances out the fruity notes creating an incredibly easy drinking wine. This is Oregon Zinfandel at its best.

A Cellar 503 selection in December 2020, Holiday Wines Applegate Valley | Zinfandel