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A flight of rosé at Croteaux in Southold. (Credit: David Benthal)

The Winery: Croteaux
The Winemaker: Alie Shaper
The Wine: 2023 ‘Chloe’ Sauvignon Blanc Rosé
The Price: $39

(Photo credit: Doug Young)

Since Croteaux first planted vines in 2003, it’s been the only all-rosé producer in the country. With nine different versions of rosé in rotation and pink hues ranging from barely-there pale to deep, saturated salmon, the winery proves that not all rosiness is created equal. Indeed, they dial in their rosés to the point of labeling a few by the grape’s clone type—some wonderful wine-geek nerdiness! 

Since 2015, rosé warrior Alie Shaper has been at the helm as winemaker here, blending her deft experience as a Long Island winemaker, deep knowledge of that other rosé-centric spot, Provençe, and use of the trio of methods most often employed in traditional rosé production. In order to achieve the kiss of pink on the ‘Chloe,’ Shaper blends in just a wee bit of cabernet franc, a decision she came to after experimenting with another popular Long Island red grape, merlot.

“I experimented with addition of both merlot and cabernet franc, the two red varieties we grow on the estate property, and I’ve found that cabernet franc blends with the sauvignon blanc most seamlessly,” Shaper says. “The goal of adding it is to balance its impact on the enhancement of the wine’s color with its influence on the sauvignon blanc flavor profile.”

Grapes: 99% sauvignon blanc, 1% cabernet franc

What’s in your glass: Shaper starts by fermenting the sauvignon blanc on its own and, once that process is complete, starts demure trials of blending in just a hint of cabernet franc to find a just-right balance of the barest blush of pink and the tiniest pop of berry flavor in the background. “We want to preserve the light, bouncy, tropical fruit of the sauvignon blanc without introducing an obvious undertone of red wine flavors and tannins,” she says. “We’re careful in our blending to choose a combination that is so subtle that you might not notice it unless it’s specifically pointed it out.”

Pairs with: That zippy-yet-heady sauv blanc is a natural fit for seafood. “It’s so good with a lobster roll!” says Shaper. “Fresh, ungarnished oysters are terrific with ‘Chloe,’ too. For a festive quaff, I also like to pop in a couple slices of nectarine and star fruit.”

To hold or not to hold: Drink up! ‘Chloe’ is meant to be refreshing, vibrant and is ready to drink when you are.