Ehlers Estate Sylviane Rosé, St. Helena, Napa Valley 2019

Deep salmon color; raspberry, melon, cherry on the nose; strawberry, cherry, raspberry, vanilla on the palate.

Ehlers Estate Sylviane Rosé, St. Helena, Napa Valley 2019

Dry; excellent acidity (3.22 pH), making for fine food wine. Blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 40% cabernet franc—not your usual rosé formula, but this works. Full bodied. Think strawberry yogurt. Significant tannin for a rosé, but not unexpected given the grape blend. Still this is not a tannic wine—just more tannin and body than you typically find in a rosé. Fermented in stainless steel and once-used barrels, so there is some oak, giving it a nice, creamy element; 13.4% ABV.

Lured by the allure of wine and motivated by embrace of new challenges, French entrepreneurs and philanthropists Jean and Sylviane Leducq purchased land in the St. Helena area of Napa in the mid-1980s. In the manner of a French châteaux, they methodically acquired adjacent property to assemble today’s 42-acre, organically farmed estate. Bernard Ehlers, the original owner, built a stone barn in 1886 that is the heart of the operation today.

Philanthropy is a significant part of the Leducqs legacy. The website notes: “Developing the winery had become a passion project for Jean and Sylviane, one they shared long after the sale of their other successful businesses in Europe. In 1996, Jean and Sylviane established the Leducq Foundation, an international grant making organization to support research in cardiovascular disease and stroke.” Visit the website for the inspiring story.

Laura Díaz Muñoz

The Leducqs passed on management of their operation to Laura Díaz Muñoz in 2018. Originally from Madrid, Spain, when she took the reins Díaz committed to taking Ehlers into its next generation, including focused farming that includes some replanting. She also experiments with a variety of vessels for cellaring and aging.

The Ehlers vineyards are located in an up-valley location in the St. Helena AVA. The location provides ideal ripening conditions with the narrowing channel of the Vaca and Mayacamas mountains delivering cooling winds to promote freshness, balance, and finesse.

Ehlers Estate Sylviane Rosé, St. Helena, Napa Valley 2019 is elegant and bold, not what you generally expect from a rosé. Definitely not a summer-only rosé. Enjoy any time of the year. Can easily be pair with very wide range of food, including richer meats including smoked pork chops, slow-cooked lamb, poultry. $32

Ehlers Estate website

Ehlers vineyard and winery
Ehlers vineyard in dormancy
Jean and Sylviane Leducq
Laura Díaz Muñoz virtual tasting during COVID-19 shutdown
Ehlers tasting room