Jamie McFadden, local chef and co-owner of the in-demand Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine and Events, has added winemaker to his resume. He is the owner of Snowbirds Vintners, a whimsically named business that celebrates Florida’s favorite flock. But while the name and labels are playful, the wines themselves are quite serious.
It’s a Florida enterprise, and the wines are produced right here in Orlando, but the good news is that the grape juice comes from away.
Far away, in the case of Snowbirds’ newest release, a 2016 Rosé. McFadden sourced the grapes from Lake Chelan in the Columbian Valley of Washington.
The juices — syrah, mourvèdre and grenache— were brought to Central Florida and the production facility of Quantum Leap. There, McFadden and winemaker Norm Saley created their blend, an almost even one among the three varietals.
McFadden recently debuted the new rosé at an event at Hawkers Asian Street Fare in Mills 50, not even a small leap from the Quantum Leap facility.
The wine is a perfect summer sipper, just right for poolside soirees — just be sure to keep an ice bucket nearby. The color is rosier than many rosés, and the taste has hints of strawberries and roses (the flower). You might taste a bit of peach, too, as I did.
Of course, McFadden thinks about food pairings with his wines. With the rosé, he recommends barbecued lamb, roasted beets with goat cheese, smoked corn, and cantaloupe cucumber salad. But frankly, I think it’s just fine all by itself.
Snowbird Vintners’ previous releases include a 2013 Monterey Merlot and a 2015 Gruner Veltliner, also from Lake Chelan.
Snowbirds wines are sustainably sourced and produced from organic farming practices.
The rosé sells for $18 and is available at Quantum Leap’s showroom or online. It is also available at Whole Foods in Winter Park, Tampa and Naples, The Cellar Door in Mt Dora, and Swirlery Wine Bar on Michigan. It is served at all Hawkers locations, K Restaurant Wine Bar, The Rusty Spoon, Tap & Grind, Sheraton Lake Buena Vista and The Bear & Peacock in Winter Park.