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Uncorking a Sonoma Wine Tasting

Clay Mauritson, of Mauritson Wines, will pour three of his wines at Uncorked tonight, April 25

Used to be, not all that long ago, rosé was a tough sell. Years of cheap product and then oceans of overly sweet white zinfandel had put off many folks who like crisp, dry wines.

"We mostly made it for ourselves," said winemaker Clay Mauritson, who will be pouring his Mauritson wine at Uncorked The Wine Shop tonight, including his rosé. "The reason we make rosé is to increase the quality of the other wines."

Like many winemakers, Mauritson pulls some of the newly crushed grape juice from his vats of red cabernet sauvignon, malbec and merlot grapes to intensify the flavors of the resulting red wines. All grape juice is actually white - red wines get their color from fermenting with the skins. The skins also add tannins, which in turn give the wines that nice crisp bite and the ability to age. With less juice in the vat, the wine has more tannin, which eventually softens into a richer, more complex wine.

Mauritson will be pouring an example of that in his 2008 cabernet sauvignon. He'll also feature a 2010 zinfandel and the 2011 rosé.

Mauritson Wines is located in the a special appellation area of Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley called Rock Pile and Mauritson is the fourth generation of his family to grow grapes in the area. He is, however, the first in his family to make wine from the grapes they grow.

"My brother, they still think I'm crazy," Mauritson said, joking about the difficulty of the wine business.

As for the rosé, Mauritson only makes 350 cases of it, and is a little surprised that it's becoming so popular. Part of that he attributes to younger consumers being more willing to try new wines.

The Mauritson event is one of a series of wine pourings and tastings that happen at Uncorked on a regular basis.

"We want to be event-driven," said Jeff Bonafede, wine director and partner of Uncorked.

The tasting costs $15 and begins at 6 p.m. at the store, 320 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach.

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