Ram’s Gate Sonoma Coast Rosé 2020

Medium copper color; peaches, strawberry on the nose; pink grapefruit, strawberry, raspberry, lemon-lime on the palate.

Ram’s Gate Sonoma Coast Rosé 2020

Dry; silky from five months of sur lie aging in neutral barrels. Nine months in neutral oak. No noticeable tannins or oak. Less tang than previous vintage. Soft, tasty red fruits. Delicate flavors. Blend of 90% pinot noir, 10% grenache. 12.8% ABV

Ram’s Gate is a project of managing owner Michael John, a San Francisco private equity investor and wine collector who is active in environmental improvement efforts. He is joined by Jeff O’Neill, Paul Violich, and Peter Mullin.

The website notes: “The Ram’s Gate ownership team is led by Managing Owner Michael John, a San Francisco private equity investor and wine collector, with strong ties to the wine industry in addition to being active in environmental improvement efforts; Jeff O’Neill, the owner of O’Neill Vintners and former Chair of the Wine Institute, Paul Violich, a well-known Northern California investor and agri-business leader specializing in walnut and almond plantings; and Peter Mullin, a businessman and passionate wine grower who owns a 15-acre estate in Umbria, Italy, where he grows Sagrantino and Sangiovese grapes. Ram’s Gate Winery is the realization of their shared passion for fine wine and commitment to land stewardship.”

Ram’s Gate winery

Hands-on management is interesting. From the website: “Taylr Behnam Cuneo is Managing Director for Ram’s Gate Winery. While she has always held a passion for the art of pairing a delicious meal with high-end wine, today she oversees not just the Ram’s Gate culinary program but the winery operations and hospitality, as well.

Ram’s Gate Managing Director Taylr Behnam Cuneo

“A California-native, Taylr graduated with a business degree from Loyola University Chicago in 2007. Immediately following, she pursued her passion for culinary arts and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2010. Fueled by a desire to explore how wine and food can interact, Taylr found herself drawn to wine country. She was among the first members of the Ram’s Gate team when she joined as Sous Chef in 2011 and by 2012, she transitioned to Executive Chef. During her tenure, she helped build the winery’s state-of-the-art culinary program. With her background in business and management, along with her can-do attitude and willingness to tackle any challenges that come her way, she climbed the ladder and became Managing Director of Ram’s Gate Winery in 2017. Taylr believes that, like wine, building a legacy brand takes time and patience, and is motivated by a desire to see Ram’s Gate constantly catapult to the next level.”

Joe Nielsen is the director of winemaking. Website notes: “Following nearly ten years at Donelan Family Wines in Santa Rosa, Joe became Director of Winemaking at Ram’s Gate in 2018 and spent his first year focused on digging into the soils of Ram’s Gate and falling in love with the estate. ‘Coming to Ram’s Gate, I feel like I’ve been given a pile of gold and silver and they’re asking me to make jewelry,” says Joe. “I have everything I need to make great wines that are complete, complex and compelling.’”

Ram’s Gate Director of Winemaking Joe Nielsen

Ram’s Gate Sonoma Coast Rosé 2020 is delicate delight. Grapefruit and strawberry. Elegant and serious rosé, but tough QPR. You want quality from Ram’s Gate, you need to pay for it. This will please sophisticated rosé drinkers. It also will beguile those who are not into serious wine because it does not hammer your palate, leave oak splinters in your mouth, or slice your tongue like a straight razor. If you are a guy wanting to charm a lady with savoir faire, invest in this wine. Guys can enjoy it, too, no doubt, but this—and I know I am flirting with sexism—is quintessential chick wine.

Clearly works as aperitif. I paired it with garden-salmon salad and both my wife and I loved it. Will pair with lighter fare, but sipping on its own likely is its best métier. $38

Ram’s Gate website

Ram’s Gate vineyard
Ram’s Gate courtyard
Ram’s Gate tasting area
Ram’s Gate vineyard tour
Ram’s Gate founders
Ram’s Gate food-wine tasting
Ram’s Gate outdoor tasting