The Perfect Pair
The mother-daughter duo behind Lorenza makes us want to drink rosé all day
“I spent my summer at 15 years old learning to love pink wine,” Michèle Ouellet says with a laugh, sitting with her mom, Melinda Kearney, in the backyard of Kearney’s St. Helena, California, home. Don’t worry: She spent that summer in Paris, having just been scouted as a model, where enjoying a glass of wine with dinner is the cultural norm for teenagers. As she got older, her love for rosé deepened, which inspired her mom, a longtime Napa County resident with a history in the food and wine biz, to suggest a project: their own vintage. They started the process in 2007, and a year later, bottles of Lorenza (also Ouellet’s middle name) reached rosé lovers around the U.S. “It’s really fresh and feminine and delicate,” Ouellet says. “When I think about the flavors and the aromas, I think of gardenias,” Kearney adds. “The aromatics are bright; there’s a citrus pop. On the palate, it’s like rhubarb and Rainier cherries and a little grapefruit or mandarin orange peel.”
The two are now known for living the #LorenzaLife, and, after spending a day with Ouellet (whom you might recognize as the face of Madewell and J.Crew) and Kearney, we here at Tidal daydream about living it too. Especially when it means outdoor dinner in the neighbor’s vineyard with Napa County’s most delicious foods, a gathering of your closest friends, and, of course, a never-empty glass of rosé. The evening’s local delicacies included famous fried chicken from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc, French fries from Gott’s Roadside diner (“I could live on rosé and fries,” Ouellet says), crudités and salad made from a Calistoga farmers market haul, and cheese from Napa’s Oxbow Public Market. Ouellet gathered her high school pal Sam Simon and his wife, Rachael, and Kearney’s friend Debi Gollan joined for the fun too. Lorenza was freely poured and its crispness paired well with every dish. “Michele and I love acidity and what it does to enhance food. You think about a squeeze of a lemon…kind of a similar concept here. [Lorenza] just brightens everything up. Plus, it’s pink so it’s happy, you know?” Kearney says. “I don’t think there’s really any other varietal that gets people so jazzed up,” Ouellet adds. The night, which ended with a dance party in Kearney’s kitchen, Ouellet pausing only to top off everyone’s glasses, certainly seemed like proof.