Hamptons memories – Jesse Bongiovi bring his ‘Hampton’ rosé to the Peninsula

Jesse Bongiovi pouring his Hampton Waters rosé, a collaboration between he and his father, Jon Bonjovi. Photo by David Fairchild

by Stephanie Cartozian

While growing up in the Hamptons, part of the “art de vivre” for Jesse Bongiovi, and his father, the iconic rock star Jon Bon Jovi, was afternoons sipping rosé. After attending Notre Dame University, where he played football, Bongiovi wanted to recreate what he refers to as the “Hampton Life.” That effort led to a collaboration with well known French winemaker Gerard Bertrand to create a premium rosé with less acidity on the front end, but retaining the freshness one expects from a rosé. 

Last month Pavilions supermarket in Rolling Hills Estates hosted a tasting of Hampton Water’s 2021 vintage premium rosé.

Bongiovi and his father founded the winery six years ago. Bertrand came up with a method of aging the wine in new French Oak for 30-60 days. 

“It softens the acidity, gives it a creamier mouth feel, light and dry with a long lingering finish. We are tuning our style to the American palette,” Bongiovi said.

Bongiovi describes Bertrand as a bit of a “mad scientist.” Many rosés, he said, “are traditionally aged and processed in stainless steel casks. Our method is a bit avant-garde and goes against traditional rosé production methods. The tasting notes on this wine include distinctive minerality with hints of strawberry and citrus, which make the strawberry design inversion at the bottle’s bottom very apropos.”

Produced in the Languedoc region of France 90 miles west of Provence, the grapes are from Bertrand’s own vineyards (there are currently 17 of them), so they are able to control the quality from top to bottom. Their distinctive bottle top, Vino-Lok, is composed of clear glass. After the plastic wrapping above the neck is removed, the glass cork can be popped off with a simple thumbs-up motion, without a wine-opener. For the wine connoisseur, the glass “cork” is more chic and sophisticated than the prolific screw cap and it looks much more dignified tableside. 

“We chose not to use a traditional cork top because their sourcing destroys trees and we wanted to produce a fully sustainable product,” Bongiovi said,  

Their award winning blend consists of approximately 60 percent Grenache, 15 percent Cinsault, 15 percent Mourvedre and 10 percent Syrah. 

Bongiovi acknowledged that some critics view his venture as a vanity project. His responds by noting their first release, in 2018, was named the top ranked rosé by Wine Spectator, earning a score of 90 points. Rosés rarely make Wine Spectator’s top 100 list, yet this one ranked 83 out of all wine varietals. It was the first time in 25 years that a rosé made the list. According to Wine Spectator a score of 90 or higher means 90-94 “Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style.” 

Hampton Water has scored 90 points or more over the subsequent four years. Bongiovi said the rating drew  global attention.

When asked if he is going to branch out into different varietals, he said, “We prefer to be a master of one.” Pen


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