Toad Hollow Vineyards Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir, Eye of the Toad, Sonoma County 2018

Pale copper color; watermelon, peach, baking spice on the nose; watermelon, strawberry, red grapefruit, candied cherry, white peach, ginger on the palate.

Toad Hollow Vineyards Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir, Eye of the Toad, Sonoma County 2018

Dry; soft and demure mouthfeel juxtaposes with bright fruit and juicy acidity (3.42 pH). This over-delivers for the price year after year. The 2018 vintage in northern California was excellent, as reflected i this wine. The 100% pinot noir grapes came from the Carneros region of Sonoma, where the maritime climate and frequent fogs suit pinot noir well.

Toad Hollow picks at low sugars to make a wine lower in alcohol (11.5 ABV) to emphasize juiciness and vibrancy. This is elegant and precise in the French/Provence style. Bone dry—.026% RS. That is so bone dry it will not be a rosé for every palate, but if you enjoy tartness and vibrancy—and a great value-for-price play—this is made for you. Fermented and finish in stainless steel to further celebrate the pinot noir flavors.

Frankie Williams, Toad Hollow president

Regular readers know of my admiration of Toad Hollow’s president Frankie Williams. Francine “Frankie” Williams has a colorful history that includes working for the CIA. She arrived in California in 1972 and met Dr. Todd Williams. They married in 1978 and operated a San Francisco bar named “Toad Manner.” Later, they opened the Whiskey River Inn in the Sierra Foothills before moving to Sonoma and Healdsburg, where Frankie helped manage a law firm. Then came the wine operation.

The Toad Hollow name comes, according to the winery’s charming website, from original owners, Dr. Toad (Todd Williams) and The Dancing Badger (Rodney Strong—he was a former dancer and choreographer), two friends who decided to start a winery in 1994 instead of retiring and rusting away. It remains family owned, although—from the website: “Heaven is a livelier place these days as both Dr. Toad and Mr. Badger have left their wine glasses with us here on Earth, but we know that these fine gentlemen toast us regularly, as we do them!”

A couple of years ago, Frankie entered into a marketing and sales agreement with Delicato Family Vineyards to achieve more distribution, but Frankie retains 100% ownership of Toad Hollow Vineyards. She continues to enjoy her days surrounded by Russian River Valley vineyards and her long-time staff. And we continue to enjoy her wine.

Toad Hollow Vineyards Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir, Eye of the Toad, Sonoma County 2018 is bone-dry, 100% pinot noir in French/Provence style. Elegant and precise, it showcases a quality vintage in Carneros. The “Eye of the Toad” offering has delivered superb value-for-price for more than two decades. Its acidity, low alcohol, and dryness makes it a versatile wine for food. Pair with seafood; light salads; light salads that also include fresh fruits; light pasta; goat cheeses. Works a very chilled summer sipper of deck, patio, picnic, porch, or pool side. $12-14

Toad Hollow website

Toad Hollow tasting room
Toad Hollow tasting room interior
Toad Hollow winery and vineyards
Toad Hollow vineyard
Toad Hollow vineyard in springtime
Page from charming Toad Hollow website