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Rosé – Still Misunderstood and Looking for Love?

August 13, 2013 17 comments

This Wednesday, August 14th, is the Wine Blogging Wednesday event, where all wine bloggers get the chance to share their thoughts and experiences related to the designated theme. The theme of this upcoming Wine Blogging Wednesday event, or WBW for short, is Rosé – here are the details of the announcementThis is what this blog post is all about.

How often do you drink Rosé? Do you think Rosé is fully understood and appreciated by the consumers en mass? I’m afraid that many wine drinkers still have a notion that Rosé is either sweet, or strictly  seasonal, or mostly inferior, or all of the above. I remember being in France about 7 years ago, in November, and ordering a bottle of Tavel in a restaurant. My French colleague gave me a look, and then said sternly “just keep in mind, you are ordering a summer wine” – of course he has an excuse as a Burgundy buff, but still – even in France, people often see Rosé as seasonal wine, not as a wine you can drink all the year around. In the US, yo would rarely find Rosé on the main shelves – they are usually setup on a side, ready to be replaced by the holiday wines, and slowly moving to the “closeout bins” as summer comes to an end.

Many people judge Rosé by the color, which reminds them of White Zinfandel, and think it is a sweet wine. I have seen many people come to taste the wines at the store and refuse the glass of Rosé simply saying “no, thank you, I don’t drink sweet wines”. It really takes time to convince them that the wine they are refusing is actually perfectly dry, refreshing and food friendly – and not only during summer, but all year around.

Having presented this pinkish “doom and gloom” to you, I actually have to admit (happily) that over the past 3-4 years, the situation is changing to the better. Even as a seasonal wine, there is really an abundance of Rosé offered in the wine stores. More and more wineries and winemakers now include Rosé as part of their standard offering, year in, year out. This happens in France, this happens in Georgia, this happens in California, Greece, Italy, Spain, New York and many other places.

The great thing about Rosé is that they are some of the easiest wines to drink – and some of the food-friendliest. Rosé typically has a flavor profile of a light red wine, with strawberries, cranberries and onion peel being some of the main characteristics – it also lacks the punch of tannins as skin, seeds and stems contact is minimized during the winemaking. At the same time, Rosé typically has savory complexity coupled with acidity which is usually a bit less than the acidity of a dry white wine. Overall, it is easy to drink and food friendly – what else do you need from wine? Of course I’m not advocating that the whole world should start drinking only Rosé at this point – but Rosé definitely has its own permanent (not seasonal!) place on the shelves of the wine stores and in your wine cellars.

Let me now give you two great examples of Rosé wines.

Williams Selyem Vin Gris of Pinot Noir

Williams Selyem Vin Gris of Pinot Noir

2012 Williams Selyem Vin Gris of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley (12.9% ABV) – bright concentrated pink color, reminiscent of cranberry juice. Strawberries and cranberries on the nose, same on the palate, lots of strawberries and cranberries, very dry, perfect acidity, very balanced overall and very easy to drink. Drinkability: 8-

Antica Terra Erratica

Antica Terra Erratica

2011 Antica Terra Erratica Willamette Valley Oregon (13.1% ABV) – another 100% Pinot Noir Rosé. What a treat! Perfectly bright strawberry red in color, nice nose of raspberries and cherries. First the wine opened into a light Pinot Noir, showing some smokiness and earthiness, then evolved into into bright strawberry and onion peel wine, classic Rosé, and then it was gone… Drinkability: 9-

There you have it, my friends. Open a bottle of your favorite Rosé, pour a glass and enjoy – however remember – sometimes Rosé is too easy to drink… Oops, did we just finished this bottle? Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, New Life at Mayacamas, Few Reminders and more

August 7, 2013 19 comments
Field Recordings Chenin Blanc Jurassic Park Vineyard

Field Recordings Chenin Blanc Jurassic Park Vineyard

Meritage Time!

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #68, grape trivia – Chenin Blanc. In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about Chenin Blanc grape.

Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: True or false: South Africa grows (area-wise) twice as much Chenin Blanc as France

A1: True. Chenin Blanc plantings in South Africa take a bit less than 25% of all grape plantings in the country, and it exceeds plantings in France by at least two times.

Q2: Do you know how Chenin Blanc is typically called in South Africa?

A2: Steen. Chenin Blanc is South Africa was traditionally called Steen, but as many wineries are improving quality of their Chenin Blanc wines, they also use the traditional “Chenin Blanc” name on the labels more and more.

Q3: Based on DNA research, Chenin Blanc might be a parent of:

a. Pinot Blanc, b. Sauvignon Blanc, c. Marsanne, d. Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano)

A3: Sauvignon Blanc.

Q4: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 95-100 range Classic (the highest and the most prestigious category). True or False: there are no Chenin Blanc wines with Classic rating.

A4: False. While there are only 14 Classic Chenin Blanc wines to the date (all from Vouvray region in France), Domaine Huët Vouvray Cuvée Constance 1997 scored even perfect 100 points.

Q5: One of my all time favorite Chenin Blanc wines is made by the company called Field Recordings in California. It is a single-vineyard wine, coming from the vineyard which has the same name as one of the blockbuster movies of the 90s. Do you know how this vineyard is called?

A5: Jurassic Park! I’m really curious what would give such a name to the vineyard, but hey, this is how it is called. And Jurassic Park Chenin Blanc I had was spectacular.

I’m glad to report that we have lots of winners this time! Emil, SheWinesSometimes, VinoinLove and TheDrunkenCyclist answered all 5 questions correctly, and they get the coveted prize of unlimited bragging rights!

Now, to the interesting stuff around vine and web!

I have a few interesting things for you to read. First, an article by New York Times‘ Eric Asimov, talking about new life of Mayacamas Vineyards in Napa. Mayacamas is one of the historical vineyards in the region, originally built in 1889, and owned by Bob Travers and his wife since 1968. I experienced Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon only once, and it was a spectacular wine, done in very restrained and elegant style. Now the winery is acquired by Charles Banks, who owned Screaming Eagle in the past, and he brought in Andy Erickson, a past Screaming Eagle’s winemaker, to make wine at the Mayacamas. How Mayacamas will change is a big question for all of its fans,  so you should read the article to learn more.

Here is an interesting read for you from W. Blake Gray, on the subject of [yeah, here we go again] wine tasting notes. Before you read the article, test yourself – do you know what gunflint is? You do? Great, do you know how does it taste like? My personal answer is “no” for both questions, but you go read the article to learn something new and get entertained.

The last article for today on the subject of Georgian wines, talking about new and interesting wines coming from the “cradle of winemaking”, as Georgia often is referred to. Go find the bottle of Georgian wine to enjoy while you will be reading the article.

We are getting closer to the few important dates (deadlines, rather) so here are your reminders:

August 14th – Wine Blogging Wednesday event, #WBW80 – Dry Rosé. All you need to do is to write a blog post pertinent to the subject, and submit it to the host. For all the details please click here. Let’s make it a success!

August 16th – deadline for submission for the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #2, with the theme called Trouble. You can find all the rules here. I finally made my submission, so I sleep much better now. There is still time, get your trouble under control and write! Side note – if you are using twitter, I recommend using #MWWC hash tag for all submissions and discussions.

August 29th – Annual Cabernet Day 2013. Grab the bottle of your favorite Cab and join the festivities – here is the link to the invitation I received for this Cabernet Day, in case you want to state your participation officially.

That is all I have for you, folks. The glass is empty -but the refill is coming. Until the next time – cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Wine Blogging Wednesday Returns, New Wine Writing Challenge Announced, And more

July 24, 2013 13 comments

ChardonnaysMeritage time!

Let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #66, Grape Trivia – Chardonnay. In that quiz you were supposed to answer 5 questions about probably most popular white grape in the world – Chardonnay.

Here are the questions, now with the answers.

Q1: Name the producer of the most expensive Chardonnay wine in the world. As an added bonus, please also provide the name of the wine.

A1: Domaine Romanee-Conti (DRC), which is probably the most famous in the world producer of red Burgundy wines also makes a tiny quantity of the white Burgundy in Montrachet. This wine is impossible to find, but if you will, it will set you back by at least $3,000.

Q2: Chablis used to be the bustling Chardonnay producer in France, supplying most of the wine in Paris and beyond, until it came to the severe decline during the beginning to the middle of the 20th century. Do you know what was one of the biggest factors which led to that decline?

A2: The time periods in this question should be slightly adjusted – it should be really late 19th century, not beginning to middle of the 20th. Nevertheless, the quick answer here is … railroad. Until the railroad was built in France in 1850s, Chablis held near monopoly on Parisian wine market, being able to easily supply the wine by the river. Railroads allowed easy access for much cheaper wines of South of France to the lucrative market, which shook Chablis’ dominance. Then there were other factors, such a philloxera, but it all started from the railroad…

Q3: Name 3 main flavor descriptors of the *big* California Chardonnay

A3: Vanilla, butter and oak – read the description of any “big” California chard, and most likely you will find all these words.

Q4: Judgement of Paris of 1976 was instrumental in bringing California Chardonnay onto the world-class wine map. Do you know which California winery we need to thank for that?

A4: Chateau Montelena was the one!

Q5: As with many other grapes, various clones had being developed for Chardonnay, to adapt better for the particular region and/or resulting wine style – for example, there is a number of so called Dijon clones of Chardonnay, which can be used by anyone wishing to produce a classic Burgundy style wine. One of the clones was developed in California in the middle of 20th century, and it is still a very popular choice among many California Chardonnay producers to the date. Can you name that clone?

A5: Wente clone. It took about 40 years to create the Wente Chardonnay clone, which became a popular choice among winegrowers in California in the 1940s – 1950s. You can read this article for more details.

Looking at the results of this quiz, I have to tell you that I actually anticipated higher success rate – but it seems that outside of the question 4, which was answered correctly by all, the rest of the questions came up to be rather difficult. We don’t have a winner today, bu the honorable mention goes to Asueba, who correctly answered questions 1 and 4, and was quite close with the answers for the questions 2 and 3.

Now, to the interesting stuff around vine and web!

Well, I don’t even know where to start – lots of interesting things are happening!

First, the newly minted queen of the Wine Writing Challenge, Kirsten, a.k.a. The Armchair Sommelier, announced the new trouble theme for the 2nd Monthly Wine Writing Challenge. Why “trouble theme” you ask? That’s just the name of the theme – Trouble. You can read all the details here, and start getting in trouble. Oh yes, and if you are a creative type, we are also looking for the cool loge for this Monthly Wine Writing Challenge exercise – get your creative juices flowing! The submission deadline is August 17th – summer days are flying fast, don’t get in trouble and don’t miss your chance to steal the crown…

Wine-Bloggin-Wednesday-Glass-200x300Now, I have to tell you that Wine Blogging Wednesday is back!!! For those of you who missed it ( which will probably be quite a few people), this was a popular monthly wine blogging exercise. Every month a new theme was announced, like Cabernet Sauvignon, or Viognier, or Single Vineyards and so on, with various bloggers playing role of the host. This was not a competition, but rather a thematic submission with the host producing a summary blog post after the wine blogging Wednesday, or #WBW, would take place. These #WBW events stopped for almost a year – and I’m glad to see them come back. The theme for the Wine Blogging Wednesday #80 (#WBW80) is Dry Rosé, and the #WBW80 event will take place on August 14th. For all the details on the #WBW80 and previous 79 #WBW events, please visit Wine Blogging Wednesday web site.

It is hot. It is the summer. But – 31 days of Riesling event is in full swing! Nothing cools you off better than nice and refreshing glass of Riesling. The 31 Days of Riesling event is going on until the end of July – check the event web site for the participating restaurants, stores and tons of interesting stuff about Riesling.

When was the last time you tasted Chenin Blanc wines? Lettie Teague, the wine writer for the Wall Street Journal, calls Chenin Blanc a “delicious underdog” in her recent article. You might want to read it, and then may be even grab a bottle or two based on her recommendations – you might be in for a delicious surprise, as I was with Field Recordings Jurassic Park Vineyard Chenin Blanc.

Last but not least, I want to bring to your attention a rant by Duff Wines about the way we taste the wines and live our lives. It will worth your time, so I highly recommend it.

That’s all I have for you, folks. The glass is empty – but refill is on the way! Until the next time – Cheers!

Thursday Rant–Wine Blogs

May 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Here is the post from the fellow blogger Jeff @ The Drunken Cyclist, with my comment which was left on Jeff’s blog:

You idea of “themes” is exactly what existed in the wine blogging world for many years – this is what was called Wine Blogging Wednesday, or #WBW, where the theme was set once a month with the “host”, and then all would be writing for that theme and the blogs would be posted and summarize. There used to be even a dedicated web site for that – after running for about 80 months, it is now closed : ( But here is a glimpse for you for what it was: http://drinkwhatyoulike.wordpress.com/tag/wine-blogging-wednesday/
Yours truly even participated in a few of the #WBW events, and it was fun. I don’t think we can do it more often than once a month (speaking strictly for myself), but I will be glad to support “Wine Blogger Challenge” if you want to start that movement. We can have a joint “announcement” from all of the supporting bloggers and we will need to promote it on Twitter, but again – you can count me in. And as a show of the support, I’m going to reblog your post on my blog 🙂
Cheers!

the drunken cyclist

I have nothing against wine blogs–quite the opposite, I technically write one, I guess. I also follow several really great blogs and really admire their authors and are inspired by them daily. The problem I have with them is that as a “unit” there is really not much cohesion and at the same time not much in the way of differing viewpoints.

Both could be certainly due to the subject of our blogs: Wine appreciation is rather personal and certainly contextual. I might like a wine simply due to the fact that it tastes good to me. I might like a wine because it was part of an overall incredible experience for me. Another drinker/taster might be drinking the exact same wine in a completely different (or even a very similar) context and have a different opinion of the wine. When you come right down to it, though…

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