LABOR DAY-LEMA: Margerum, Riviera Rosé, San Luis Obispo County, California 2012

We have a problem: what to drink for Labor Day.

The holiday is the exact opposite of its title.  We do no work on Labor Day.  It is the last gasp of summer.  We need to have fun.  And the beverage of choice should reflect that.

First: drink American.  Honor those hard laborers by buying the sweat of their toil (not literally).  Gloss over the fact that non-natives probably picked those grapes (or recall that at some point, we were all immigrants).  Let their work fill our national glass and let us, together, become greater than the tally of our parts.

However, the heat and humidity of summer will slay most of the country.  Warm red is out.  Cool white is fine.  Bubbly is too celebratory.

Instead, let us follow “Rosé” the Riveter:


Yes we can.

Let us drink rosé and not work for one day.


Soon, most rosé will disappear or go bad.  As discussed previously, rosé pays the bills so winemakers can pay off their loans, buy barrels, and wait for their fancy (i.e. “reserve”) reds and whites to mature.  By now, most shops are eying the Fall.  Red season.  They over-bought rosé and have now put all their 2012’s on sale.  It’s time to buy.

Today’s laboriously glorious beverage comes from Margerum in Central California.  Called Riviera, after that French resort coast obsessed with chilling down with a glass of pink.  This West Coast rendition consists of 70 percent Grenache, 15 Counoise, and 15 cinsault: the usual suspects.


Hi gorgeous.

The color is classic medium minus intense rose pink.  A slight fizz from controlled bottling is visible.

Aromas are inoffensively average in intensity, with fresh strawberry, melon, and an intriguing tip of bell pepper and herb.

The palate is wondrously dry.  White Zin this is not.  Acid rings and rings a high noted bell at medium plus intensity.  Tannins barely present themselves, but could chop a hot dog and move on (thanks to the 3% added barrel-aged Grenache).  Textures are round yet slightly prickly.  Alcohol and body are pleasant and medium.

Flavors don’t overwhelm either.  Tart red grapefruit, that slightly bitter white core of a strawberry, watermelon, and a bit of earth and potpourri will keep you interested, but not distracted from that game of catch football.  The length, although delicate, is impressively medium plus.

Margerum’s Riviera Rosé is quite good (3 of 5). It may even be very good, because it works for you.  It labors, quietly getting you tipsy, yet not interrupting your failed attempts at BBQ.

Yes, it originally cost around $20.  But as summer winds down, you just might find it on sale (I managed $11.99).

Happy Non-Laboring Day.


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