Ferrari-Carano 2017 Dry Sangiovese Rosé
There's something new about Ferrari-Carano's most recent vintage of dry rosé wine: a tiny logo in the bottom corner of the label that reads, 'Sonoma County sustainably farmed grapes.'
At the time this wine was bottled in January 2018, Sonoma County Winegrowers announced their new Sonoma County Sustainable wine label, one part of the organization's effort to make Sonoma County the nation's first all-certified sustainable wine region. Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery is one of two Sonoma County wineries in the pilot program, which is putting the logo on a Rosé and a Pinot Grigio for this year's wine releases.
There's more to the logo than just saying so. It had to pass muster with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TBB), which regulates wine labels. Plus, Sonoma County Winegrowers stipulates that '85% of the grapes in each bottle bearing the Sonoma County Sustainability label must be sourced from Sonoma County.'
Both the vineyards and the winery at Ferrari-Carano have been certified sustainable since 2017, based on the rulebook established by California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. This built on the certification for Fish Friendly Farming that Ferrari-Carano obtained for vineyards bordering waterways.
'Currently we are adding these same practices to the other ranches located in both Napa County and Mendocino County,' says vineyard operations manager Todd Clow. While sustainable is not the same as organic — there are more rules in some areas, fewer in others — Clow says that environmental concerns are a priority to the winery.
'Because FC's mindset has always been to have as little an impact as possible on the earth, there weren't a lot of changes that we needed to make,' says Clow. 'I was pleasantly surprised by how much of what FC has been doing over the years was lauded by the auditor,' who verifies that the winery is following the rules for improvement.
More on this complex new program later — for now, ponder it with a pour of simply enjoyable Ferrari-Carano 2017 Sonoma County Dry Sangiovese Rosé ($14). A sense of rock dust and struck flint 'minerality' lends seriousness to the wine's introductory aroma, and chalky red cherry flavors play off green candied cherry or pepper jelly.
When done right, Sangiovese makes a crunchy, refreshing dry rosé like this — sweet in character, not in taste, with a palate presence and a price that makes enjoying it all year long quite a sustainable proposition.