2010 Vitus Napa Valley Rosé of Merlot

Mission Codename: Rhône Colored Glasses

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Revisit or friends at Vitus and secure a limited allocation of their delicious Rosé of Merlot, an elegant, balanced summertime wine.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Vitus Napa Valley

Wine Subject: 2010 Rosé of Merlot

Winemaker: John Gilpin

Backgrounder: The Wine Spies are always on the hunt for the best wines that we can find. When it comes to Rosé , we are exceedingly difficult to please. Today’s wine comes to us from a Wine Spies favorite, Vitus Wines, whose delicious Rosé offers supple softness and beautiful balance – making it an elegant summertime sipper.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Gorgeous light salmon pink hues with perfectly even color from core to edge. When swirled, the wine catches the light, casting off glinting pink highlights. When the wine settles, tall columns of skinny tears fall quickly down the glass.

Smell – Sweet and lively, with sweet jasmine, honeysuckle, creamed honey, pink & red rose petals and strawberry essence. As the wine warms, just slightly, it reveals pink grapefruit, dried apricot and dried cherry.

Feel – Ultra smooth and satiny at the tip of the tongue and across the mid-palate. This softness spreads to the far corners of the palate. Then, as the wine settles onto the palate, it becomes slightly grippy as plush tannins emerge. The bright acids in the wine drive sweet and tart flavors to the far corners of the palate, as a flinty minerality and a soft dryness emerge.

Taste – Wild strawberry, tart bing cherry, dried cranberry, citrus and mixed red flower petals take lead. As the wine opens, it introduces subtle dried apricot and the softest hints of minerals and subtle white pepper.

Finish – Long and filled with flavor, with red fruit, flowers and citrus slowly tapering off in even proportion. At the tail end, minerals and the most subtle white pepper persist.

Conclusion – What an elegant, supple, delectable wine, this 2010 Vitus Rosé of Merlot is. Our tasting panel simply could not get enough of this refreshing, soft, delicious wine. In fact, our two sample bottles were emptied very quickly, as our panel experimentedwith sips and mouthfuls of varying sizes. We recommend that you try the same thing. Pair this fabulous wine with a fruit and cheese plate, or simply enjoy a glass or two in the sunshine!

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: John Gilpin

WINE EDUCATION: Cal Poly B.S U.C Davis – Oenology

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Winemaker for three labels

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Blending will always produce a better wine!



We were unable to secure an interview with winemaker John Gilpin so here is the interview that Agent Red conducted when we featured the previous vintage of this wine.


AGENT RED: Greetings, John. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

JOHN: Thanks, Agent Red, we are excited to be sharing our wine with your operatives, again.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

JOHN: My very first taste.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

JOHN: Helen Turley – she really got what Napa really was all about: Big, ripe wines.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

JOHN: I make the wine first for myself, because if I don’t like the wines I am making why bother.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

JOHN: With an open mind and with no preconceived ideas about the wine. Let the wine speak for itself!

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

JOHN: I hope you enjoy the wine because there is a part of myself that goes into each bottle! Cheers!

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

Vitus Napa Valley can be tasted at the tasting room of our friends at Napa’s Bourassa Vineyards, the location of which can be seen in this satellite photo. Be sure to mention you are a wine spy when visiting

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