2011 Modus Operandi Vicarious Rosé (Guest Post)

15 Jul
Here’s a delightful guest post & review from my friend, fellow theatrical artist/educator/ally, and wine enthusiast from the  great Northwest, Dave Tosti-Lane. His review is poetic, insightful, educational and a good time- much like the man himself.  Please share & comment!-JvB

2011 Modus Operandi Vicarious Rosé

Four barrels (100 cases) produced, $20/bottle.

The delight begins with the appearance of the wine in the bottle – crystal clear, salmon pink with a tawny edge – not a trace of haze or sediment; it invites one to open as soon as possible. Passing that threshold, the nose is distinctly floral, again the words that come to mind for me are clean and fresh. Inhaling deeply (yes, I did inhale) lets you feel a bit of the tang of the acid in this complex wine. Swirl in the glass and observe the lazy slow legs making their way down the sides. The first sip is luscious, hitting the tongue with a rush of sweetness that is not remotely cloying, followed by a smooth taste some liken to rhubarb cobbler. That’s a little specific for me, I would say soft fruit, but the cobbler image is probably a good one. Perhaps I’d say many flavors blended together. I’m not really adept at specific tasting notes, but the whole is absolutely smooth and refreshing, neither overly sweet nor bitingly dry. There is a long, delightful finish, lingering with no harshness. As the wine warms in the glass, it continues to improve, encouraging one to hold it in the mouth and only reluctantly swallow it down, but the reward for doing so is that luscious finish. You want to take another sip as soon as possible, but as you enjoy the taste, you transition to long drawn out time experiencing the silky feel of the wine in the mouth and contemplating the enjoyment of the finish to come. Then, a bit of extended nosing of the delicious citrus and cobbler rising from the glass – and the sensuous feel of the wine as it slides over the tongue – you want to make this ritual last for as long as you can. The hardest part is leaving some in the bottle for your partner.

Jason Moore, the master winemaker and founder of Modus Operandi Cellars, describes his process and goals in making the 2011 Vicarious Rosé:

“This Rosé was made in the saignee (French for, to bleed) method where a certain percentage of fresh juice is bled from the tanks of freshly crushed red grapes…the juice that has been bled out can be fermented to create Rosé wine. My goal and intention when making Rosé for Vicarious, is for it to give the experience of a crisp, refreshing white wine. Therefore, this wine has lower alcohol, higher acid; it has gone thru no malolactic fermentation, and has had no exposure to new oak.”

Master Moore and Modus Operandi Cellars represent a serious threat to my annual budget for wine. It’s bad enough that I was unable to resist joining the Modus Wine Club after trying some of their luscious Cabernet Sauvignon; I was not finished with my first glass of the Vicarious Rosé before I found myself online ordering more bottles.

I worry that this will become a pattern with the wines from Modus Operandi – they tend to exceed all expectations. In the case of the Rosé, they also amaze with regard to price at just $20/bottle. In the Pacific Northwest, we’ve been waiting and waiting for summer this year; fortuitously, my Modus Operandi Wine Club shipment arrived just as the temperature finally hit 80˚ for the first time. The Vicarious Rosé is a wonderful warm-weather wine; its low alcohol level and clean taste are completely refreshing. It pairs well with many foods, we tried it with grilled Halibut and fresh roasted beets the first night, and good old fashioned hot dogs the second. Perfect compliment to both, and each highlighted a different quality of the wine. The simple grilled fish with the sweet roasted beets emphasized the balance between tart and sweet of the Rosé, while the hot dog allowed the wine to show it’s power to clean the palate and make an old favorite taste even better. With both, the best part was the time after the meal relaxing and finishing off the glass, allowing the wine to come front and center and be the focus of attention.

My friend and host of this blog Jim van Bergen has noted how impressed he is with the wines of Modus Operandi, and I have to agree (and thank him for the tip to try them out).

Because I live in the Pacific Northwest, I tend to drink a lot of Washington wines, and am somewhat spoiled by the ability to find wineries like Baer, Hedges, Corliss, Canoe Ridge, Novelty Hill and others pretty much right in my back yard. And yet, I find myself returning to the website to order more Modus Operandi wines every time I sit down to drink one. Recently,  looking at the wines in my cellar, I realized that many of them really want to have a few more years in the bottle before they reach their peak -but it seems to me that everything Jason Moore produces is intended to drink NOW – there’s no need to plan out the timing of when you’ll be able to drink it, no feeling guilty because you couldn’t wait until 2014 – there’s only the pleasure of exceptional wine asking only to be decanted and allowed to breathe for a bit before enjoying.

-Dave Tosti-Lane is a theatre sound and lighting designer living near Seattle. He is a founding faculty member and chair of the Performance Production Department at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. His adventures with wine, ignoring those earlier ones in college that more often involved screw caps, plastic glasses, and unfortunate mornings, began with an effort to increase HDL cholesterol through regular ingestion of resveratrol.  He reasoned that if he was going to be drinking at least a glass of wine each day, it really ought to be good wine! Happily, his wife Linda agreed, and the cellar began to grow.

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