Perhaps no American winemaker takes rosé as seriously as Herb Quady. Formerly a winemaker at Boony Doon Vineyards, he moved to Southern Oregon in 2003 to help pioneer winemaking there. He and his father (owner of California’s Quady Winery) purchased 100 acres in 2005 and began planting. We remember tasting the 2006 maiden vintage (made from purchased grapes) of Quady North, which we reviewed a decade ago. Our reviews of the 2017 Quady North rosés follow at the end of this article. Look for our Report #66 The World of Rosé, coming soon. And check out our earlier rosé articles on our web site, including last year’s article focused on rosé of Pinot Noir.
Herb is one of the few American winegrowers who plants vineyards and sources fruit from vineyards specifically for making rosé, often using cooler, east facing sites. He sources much of his fruit in the Upper Applegate Valley where the weather is 5°-7° cooler than the valley floor. He plants red varieties like Grenache in places where they wouldn’t get ripe enough to make a red wine, but moderate temperatures allow for the gradual sugar accumulation and long, slow ripening to develop the flavors and delicate aromas required for rosé. He uses an open trellis to encourage air flow within the canopy and keeps some shading on the fruit to avoid thick skins and excessive bitter tannins.
Herb’s winemaking emphasizes gentle fruit handling. The sorting table is designed to eliminate unripe and defective grapes. He does mostly direct, whole cluster pressing to avoid the polyphenols that contribute to bitterness; he does it gently so the green berries in Grenache (which ripens unevenly, especially when picked early) don’t press out. He does small presses in order to carefully monitor acid levels, which can fall off quickly. For the portion of his grapes that are macerated, he carefully destems, leaving the berries whole, does a short cold soak, and then gently presses and ferments at cold temperatures in stainless steel to preserve delicate aromatics. For his rosé blends he prefers to coferment to get better integration early on. His goal is to make a wine that’s balanced from the beginning to avoid having to make acid and other adjustments later on.
Quady North is located in Southern Oregon, which became an official AVA in 2004 and has elevations that range from 700 to 6600 feet, so there are microclimates that can suit a large number of grape varieties. Located about three hours south of Eugene, the Southern Oregon AVA includes within it the Umpqua Valley and Rogue Valley AVAs, and within Rogue Valley lies the Applegate AVA where Herb has 100 acres of sustainably farmed vines. The Mediterranean climate of Southern Oregon makes it hospitable to Rhone varieties, and it’s home to over 100 wineries and 3 thousand acres of vines.
Herb Quady’s rosés are some of the very best produced in America. They are delicate and refined, similar in style to rosés from the Côtes de Provence but with generous New World fruit. His Counoise Rosé is an original. Made from vines specifically planted for rosé in the Upper Applegate Valley, it’s the only single variety Counoise tasted for this report. His excellent wines are made all the more attractive by their relatively low prices.
Quady North 2017 GSM Rosé Rogue Valley ($16) 90 Pale pink rose. Red berries and mineral nose. Lots of upfront fresh flavor that’s surprisingly red fruit in character given the high percentage of Syrah. Very pleasant and refreshing. 55% Grenache picked at 20 brix plus 39% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre and bits of Vermentino and Counoise from parcels specifically farmed for rosé. Whole cluster plus 2 percent free run juice (saignée) from destemmed fruit. Lacks the charm of the all-Grenache rosé but still excellent value.
Quady North 2017 Rosé of Counoise Applegate Valley ($19) 91 Very pale pink. Spicy red raspberry, crab apple and a hint of cinnamon on the nose. Deeply flavorful palate that mirrors the nose with intense spicy dark red fruit and apple flavors. Protracted finish, rich and extracted. From a cool vineyard site in the Upper Applegate planted for rosé. Pressed whole cluster along with 10% destemmed Syrah.
Quady North 2017 Rosé of Grenache Rogue Valley ($18) 91 Pale pink tinged copper. An elegant vin gris style Grenache rosé that’s delicate and perfumed, showing minerals and light red berry scents. Full in the mouth with excellent minerality and raspberry highlights, finishing clean and long. Sourced from three different vineyards. direct press whole cluster and destemmed fruit and fermented at 40°-50° in stainless steel. 11.6% alc.