Vino Tabi 2008 Rosé of Zinfandel

wineThere are those times in one’s wine-drinking life when a beautiful Rosé is like an epiphany. Drinking the popular Chardonnays and Merlots as often as we do, sometimes the thought of a Rosé wine never comes into the picture. How often do you order a Rosé when you’re out to dinner? It’s easy to forget about the Rosés of this world when confronted with a plethora of reds and whites.

Stopping by Vino Tabi’s tasting room one afternoon, winemaker Katie Fox said, “Try this Rosé. I just love it.” She was referring to her Rosé of Zinfandel 2008 Central Coast ($22 and available only at the winery). One sip and I was smitten. A very pretty coral-ruby color, this excellent wine has a very definite essence of chocolate and strawberries—with just a hint of rhubarb. It’s not cloyingly sweet as are some Rosés—and in fact has quite a tart cherry finish.

Rosé wine declined in popularity over the years, to the degree that many wine drinkers ignored it completely. But it’s now making a comeback. There was some awful cheap stuff going around many moons ago—which was guaranteed to give you a buzz, but didn’t do much else. Most Rosé wines are made from a red grape varietal—such as Pinot Noir, Merlot or, as in this case, Zinfandel. The red skins of these grapes are allowed to come into contact with the grape juice for a short time, thereby getting a pink color instead of an intense red. And the shorter time the contact, the lighter the Rosé will be.

Vino Tabi has been open for about a year now. As well as making their own wines, they allow you to try your hand at making wines as well. They have a Barrel Buddy program where you can own a barrel or share it in partnership with another. Just think of the fun you’ll have in making your own wine and ending up with a personal label on your bottle. Vino Tabi also does educational events and seminars with professional winemaking coaches; fun and exciting wine demonstrations; and, of course, private wine tastings.

As well as the Rosé of Zinfandel, Vino Tabi makes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and others. “Tabi” means “journey” in Japanese. Fox lived in Japan for some time and speaks fluent Japanese, which is why she named her winery as she did. I hope that your wine journey leads you to Vino Tabi to taste some of their wonderful offerings.

Friday Nights at Vino Tabi: It’s party time on Friday nights at Vino Tabi when the tasting room is open until 9 p.m. Andy Fuhrman plays acoustic music, and there’s a Gary’s Gourmet hot dog cart if you need a quick bite. Try a glass of Rosé with a hot dog. Why not!

Vino Tabi, 334 Ingalls St., Suite C, Santa Cruz, 426-1809, vino-tabi-wine.com. Tasting room open daily.

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