Three quick facts about me: 1) I have very broad taste in music that spans many genres and eras; 2) I like to consider all of the evidence/facts and do research before I make decisions or commit to things; and 3) I have a propensity for getting sucked down internet rabbit holes… Given those facts, it should come as no surprise that when I started this post by trying to decide what my top favorite 90s songs were, it turned into a rabbit hole of clicking on links and ultimately led to indecision. Why was I researching 90s songs you might ask? Well, because in addition to top notch food and wine, Slate Wine Bar (in Washington, DC) was also playing a top notch 90s playlist one of the most recent times we went there. Which is a critical element of success in my opinion.
In all seriousness, we spend a lot of time writing about the food and wine that Chef Danny Llledo has masterfully curated (I will get to some of the wine shortly), but I just wanted to take a minute to talk about the atmosphere at Slate. Danny makes an effort to get to know everyone who walks through the door, and creates an environment where everyone and everything seems familiar and comfortable by the end of the night. When Kathleen and I were there most recently for the #roseallday tasting, Danny invited us to the bar to share a glass of wine with him and some of the other patrons there. We sat amongst regulars and newcomers, and after 10 minutes it felt like we were old friends. That’s what I love about Slate - everyone feels like friends and family.
Anyway, getting back to the point of this post, the reason that we were at Slate was for the #roseallday tasting, and National Rose Day (the second Saturday of every June) happens to be today. So it seems like as good a time as any to tell you about some of the wines we tasted at Slate that night. Quick Fact #4 about me: I love a good “National Day”. One time my friend at work and I tried to start National Goldendoodle Day. I’ve never even had a Goldendoodle but I was down - that’s how committed to National Days I am. But I digress.
This year’s Slate tasting line-up was pretty solid, and I would recommend any of them as options for you to drink today or any day! There were two flights - one American and one European, so naturally we had to try both. Highlights from the flights were...
2017 Los Dos, Campo de Borja, Spain
It should come as no surprise that we liked the Spanish rose, and this one did not disappoint. With a nose that matched the flavor profile, Kathleen and I agreed that there was a banana flavor, as well as a reminiscent flavor of Runts candy from our youth, but had a slight disagreement about whether it was banana runts (Kathleen) or banana fruit plus red Runts flavor (me), but suffice it to say there was at least banana and at least Runts of some kind! We thought this would be a perfect rose to sip on the porch in hot weather. Drinkable with or without food.
2017 Figuiere Le St. Andre IGP Rose, Provence, France
A Cab/Syrah/Cinsult/Grenache blend, this traditional Provence rose came in subtle and soft on the nose. A bright acidity reminded us of granny smith apples, and we wanted to pair this with white fish or scallops.
2017 Bellenos Rose, Burgundy, France
Gamay rose is not generally my preference, but surprisingly this Burgundy turned out to be our favorite of the lineup. At first we were dubious of the strong nose of chalk dust and hay, but the flavor profile was 180 degrees different than the nose. It had a smooth complex flavor profile of sweet McIntosh apples with just a hint of unsweetened coconut cream. This rose would pair well with salad or something lighter.
2017 Four Bears, Carneros, California
This California Pinot Noir rose had the most unique color of any of the wines we tasted. It was so dark and bright that it almost looked like a light colored Pinot! This rose also brought a nose of banana and ripe strawberry that carried through to the palette. Despite how full bodied it was, we didn’t think it needed to be paired with food, but if you were to pair it, it would go classically with pork.
2017 Brooks, Willamette, Oregon
Another Pinot Noir, this Oregon rose from the Willamette valley was one of my favorites. It had a super sweet nose of raspberry and cream, but was surprisingly dry. The raspberry carried through to the finish, with a lingering cream on the palette. Medium bodied with a hint of cranberry, this would pair well with grilled salmon or to sip with crackers and dip before dinner.
All in all, I’m glad that we were able to have a fun night! We were slightly sad that there was no sparkling on the flight lineup, but we more than made up for it by ordering a glass of sparkling after dinner. Then we finished the night with an amazing Chardonnay and some great conversation. Some of these wines are still on Slate’s glass list, so if you’re in the DC area, go check them out! 2404 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007