William Chris Vineyards Syrah Rosé
Who Likes It:
Chris Kelly, Beverage Director at Lenoir in Austin
Though music and art occupied most of his formative years, wine eventually became Chris Kelly’s primary focus in his twenties. Since then he has worked in wine bars and retail stores in Aspen, Chicago, and Austin, where he currently calls home. Over the years, he’s developed a fondness for the mantra “wine is a grocery,” rather than a commodity that should be too precious to enjoy. Kelly is currently a certified sommelier and beverage director at Lenoir restaurant in Austin.
84 percent Syrah, 16 percent Merlot
Why He Likes It:
“In a recent ode to redefine the term ‘refreshment’, I’ve become obsessed with the term ‘dry rosé,'” says Kelly. “William Chris Vineyards’ nod to Southern France is clean and structured, all the while remaining complacent and uniquely Texan. It’s wild fruit and herbal notes make you think of the southern Rhône Valley or Provence. Most importantly, it’s refreshing. This pale, dry, whole-cluster pressed rosé matches perfectly with the hot weather and food of central Texas. Carrying just enough residual sugar, it pairs with spicy food but is still ‘bright’ and lean enough to handle more delicate seafood dishes.
“I would pair this with our soft egg tamale or caviar pie at Lenoir and later this spring, watermelon ceviche,” says Kelly. “You may as well pair this with a swim in Barton Springs, too or a post-jog snack—it’s that quaffable.”
On Down the Road:
“A slogan that I’ve cherished in music is, ‘It’s not until we know imbalance that we rediscover what true balance is.’ Wine is no different,” says Kelly. “I’d love to see more balanced wines in Texas. The climate in the High Plains and Hill Country AVAs cater to making consistent, dry white wines and Provençal style rosés every year. I’d like to see more of those—dry wines with minimal intervention (less re-acidifying, less tannins added, lower alcohol, distracting flavors.) Instead of thinking, ‘How can we be more like Spain or California, or even Southern France,’ I’d like to employ, ‘How can we make wine enhance and refresh our own food scene in a hot climate?’ I’m honestly not sure why Barton Springs isn’t filled with dry rosé!”
Winemaker’s Note: Chris Brundrett, William Chris Vineyards
“This Syrah Rosé was incredibly fun to make,” says Brundrett. “My team and I have a lot of passion regarding the rosés we make here in Hye. This was mostly Syrah pressed in whole clusters from the Twin Lakes Vineyard in Wealder, TX. The whole cluster press means we don’t remove the grapes from the stems. We keep everything in tact once they’re harvested. There is about 16% saignee Merlot from Granite Hill Vineyard in the Hill Country, which really gives this wine some backbone. This adds different nuances and texture to the wine that is different from de-stemmed grapes. The minerality of this wine is complimented by the soft fruit. I hope everyone enjoys drinking this wine as as we did making it.”