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19 July 2007

Keep It Simple, Sucka

Mark the time: 10:21 PM MDT on a Thursday.  I have made a gross generalization about one particular category of wine - rosé.

Realrose Pink wine's astronomic position in the ever-expanding wine universe is this: Rosé is made to drink and enjoy.  No analytical tasting necessary.  I've recently (see here) sampled serious rosé and found that I was almost let down by the wine's subtlety & complexity.  In contrast, I slammed down $7.95 for a pink Garnacha from Spain and was tickled, uh, pink.  Remember the axiom, "Veidah iss betta"?  How's about this for a rosé regulation: "Keep it simple, sucka*". 

Exhibit A in support of good, simple rosé:
Marco Real Garnacha 2006 ($6-$9; imported by S. Miles Selections).  This little pink gem has everything anyone could possibly want in a summertime beverage.  It's straightforward with ultra-simple scents and flavors of strawbrerry strawberry.  After that, if the wine be chilled, it's mission on earth is to refresh you at the beach, on a picnic or in front of an AC vent.  Senor Real scores bonus points for keeping the ABV under 13% (12.5%, to be exact).  Nothing ruins a dandy rosé sipping experience more than hefty body & hot finish due to high [ethanol]. 

Currently Spain seems to be the epicenter for cheap & cheerful pink drinks.  If you can't find M. Real, I'm sure you'll come up with another rosé josé.

*And by simple, I don't mean White Zinfandel.  WZ is an abomination unto the oeno-world and should be smitten from the face of the earth.  Can I get an Amen?

13 July 2007

(Almost)Love at First Sight

Prose Have you ever had a wine visually knock your socks/stockings/l'eggs off? 

It's rare that the mere sight of vino hanging out in a clear glass/crystal tub causes oenoinfatuation.  Sure, bubbly looks enticing and can capture one's imagination.  But still wine?  It typically doesn't dazzle the visual senses.

Until now.  I poured a glass of Domaine du Gros Nore Bandol Rose and was immediately mesmerized.  This pink wine, isn't really pink.  It's a lovely copper-salmon-caramel color.  How does wine evolve such a sublime color?  Who wouldn't love it?

Alas, my visual affair with Domaine du Gros was short lived.  Gros Nore is exceedingly subtle on the scent front.  Fine tune your sniffer, and you'll uncover earthy-herby aromas along with a bit o' berry.  In the mouth, G.N. is also restrained.  It's hefty @ around 15% alcohol, but still manages to maintain a zesty dimension.  Sad to say, the flavors are buried underneath the wine's rather stout body.  Overall, the wine is pleasant, but at nearly $20, I might find it difficult to spring for a second time.  Of course, that visual peepshow of ultra-unique color is worth at least one trip to the wine shop.  Give it a try, or at least, a gander.

Nore2005 The Skinny: Domaine du Gros Nore Bandol Rose 2005 ($19-$20)

  • From the oft overlooked Southern France Appellation of Bandol.
  • A blend of Mourvedre, Cinsault & Grenache.
  • Imported by Kermit Lynch
  • Lest you overwhelm its delicate flavors, serve this wine with light/subtle fare such as grilled chicken breast or pasta prima vera.

22 June 2007

Memo to Marquis

Memo_1 Memo

To: Rémy Pannier 

From: Basic Juice 

cc:  Growers (from the 500 of you viticulturing in 63 different appellations) who contribute grapeage to Marquis de la Tour's Rosé Sparkling Wine 

Date: 22 Jun 07

Marquisdelatouri Re: Future branding/marketing of Marquis de la Tour Rosé (NV, $9) sparkling wine


Dear Sirs/Madames:

Seeing as how Rémy Pannier is the Loire Valley's largest wine producer, I'm sure your company employs a number of smart, aspiring marketing wizkidz.  No doubt, one of them has already pitched the idea of rebranding Marquis de la Tour bubbly in order to make it more appealing to the US consumer.  I can picture the pitch in my mind....."look, we'll use those Budweiser frogs.  And instead of 'bud-weis-err' the amphibs can ribbit, "De-La-Tour!" 

Allow me to be the first to nip the aforementioned idea in the proverbial bud.  I'm sure the folks at Arrogant Frog are joyed to the max with their decision to leap into cute, crittery labeling.  However, your A+-value-priced, sparkling Rosé needs no such gimmicky hoo-ha.  I am happy to recommend a couple label modifications, free of charge:

  1. On the front label, include these two succinct, highly descriptive adjectives in large, bold font (in English, as I and my fellow citizens no parlay much francais, if you catch my drift): DRY, SPARKLING WINE
  2. On the back label, feel free to indulge the creativity of your marketeers.  Let them craft a nifty taste description (e.g. Marquis de la Tour Rosé is a lovely salmon-colored bubbly full of straw- and rasp-berry scents.  De la Tour's taste is divine with creamy texture, apple cider notes and a pleasant floral-berry finish) or pairing suggestions (e.g. Marquis de la Tour is the perfect accompaniment to summertime produce-enhanced dishes such as grilled tomato, basil and goat cheese sandwiches or lamb chops & farm fresh veggies)

I guarantee that five years down the road, you won't look back in shame at a label sporting pink frogs gussied up to look like something of a cross between Zoro and the Scarlet Pimpernel.  Rather, team Marquis will stand tall with pride at its simple, classy and info-rich label.  Heed me now; thank me later.

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01 May 2007

Pink 'n Meaty

Strawbacon As with most varietals, the difference between new world expression and old world character is enormous.  Take one of my favorite Rhone grapes, Mourvedre (aka Monastrell in Spain).  The old world character of this red grape is often the recipient of such non-fruit descriptions like, "butcher shop," meaty, gamey and wild.  Produced in Aussie, Cali, South Africa or even in some of the modern-styled wines of Spain, Mourvedre morphs into a mighty fruity wine with scents of blackberry jam, black cherry and stewed raspberry.  Yet, even in its tamest, fruitiest form, Mourvedre always slides in something unexpected.  Occasionally, you'll get a whiff of eucalyptus, clove, tobacco or dark chocolate...or even meat.

So how would Mourvedre perform as a Rosé?  Will it be all yummy strawberry followed by bacon?

Fortunately, Cline's 2006 Mourvedre Rosé ($15) doesn't finish off with any flavors that could be construed as meaty.  It does however offer a nifty flavor combo of fresh strawberry, red plum and a touch of clove.  While This pinkie is a bit big on the -OH side (13%), it rights itself with a spritz of acidity and a touch of textured tannin.  As with most rosé wines, Cline's pink Mourvedre will do its duty with nearly any unpretentious food.  Try it with a  turkey burger, cheese pizza or pasta.

Think of it as your very own bottle of buckie [itunes] [emusic, trk 6]

13 June 2006

I Need Three Eyes

Rosé wine is one of my favorite warm-weather beverages. I lived in France for 13 years, and learned to love this coral-colored delight during a couple of summers spent in the Minervois region. My daughter was conceived there, and when she was a baby, we used to joke that the color of her cheeks was the exact color of the wine that we drank so much of. (Before you start clucking your tongues, I had no idea I was pregnant, and stopped drinking as soon as I found out. And my daughter has turned out to be an intelligent, beautiful creature). Rosé became a summer tradition for my family and friends. It's perfect on its own or with a meal. 

The only thing I don't like in a rosé is too much sweetness. Don't even try to serve me a white zinfandel; I won't drink it (and I lurve wine). This isn't such an issue in France, although some rosés are sweeter than others. What I do like in a rosé is a deep color and a fruity nature. I want it to taste like a rosé; I want it to refresh me and lift my spirits.

Continue reading "I Need Three Eyes " »

03 May 2006

Steal This Article: Pink Drinking

Editor's note: Steal this article!  Whether you publish a paper, magazine, blog or scribble on the bathroom wall; fresh (& free) content is always welcome, no?  Feel free to grab this article and use it to spice up your publication.  Do with it what you will - so long as you mention that the original comes from The Juice.  Now go forth, and copy & paste.

Beachtoes Real Men Drink Pink

OK, I admit it.  I used to snicker at people who drank White Zinfandel.  My thoughts went something like this: “Why drink a wine that more closely resembles iced tea or cherry Kool-Aid than real wine?”  Luckily, that was as far as I made it down wine snobbery lane.  A very enlightened wine guru helped me do a U-turn when she shared her cardinal rule of wine enjoyment:  “If you happen to like a particular wine, then who cares what anyone else thinks about it?  Just drink and enjoy.”  Wine is all about enjoyment.  If you happen to like White Zin then bully for you!  I must admit; it takes a courageous person in the often hyperpretentious lounge culture to order a glass of pink wine.  I’ve seen an entire table collectively roll its eyes at a courageous (or blissfully naïve) thirtysomething ordering the lone glass of White Zinfandel amidst a sea of inky Cabernet and oaked up Chardonnay.  Well, I now proclaim myself to be a rosé drinker and I’m damn proud of it.  I still don’t care for White Zinfandel.  But I have discovered a nice little universe of rosé wines outside the White Zin realm that are perfect for springtime sipping.

Continue reading "Steal This Article: Pink Drinking" »

21 March 2006

A Long Island Wine Weekend wine

Lirose Beau’s been banging on my email door lately, wondering where the heck I’ve been. Where are my posts? Has the Wine Goddess died? Nope. Wine Goddess has been busy doing a whole lot of, well, nothing too exciting…except for this past weekend, when Lenn organized a gathering of fellow oenophiles for a Long Island Tasting Weekend.

I was so inspired, I had to come out of hiding and write.

Being local to the NYC area, I couldn’t turn down Lenn’s invitation: a BYO dinner on Saturday night, and a Long Island rosé tasting on Sunday morning. We drove out to wine country on Saturday afternoon and checked into our home for the night - the Harvest Inn B&B in Peconic. What a great place! The Harvest Inn is charming and cozy like a B&B should be, but with modern amenities, and super-soft sheets, that make the stay a little more splendid. Bonus: because it’s relatively new construction, there are no squeaky floorboards to keep you up at night. The innkeepers, Darolyn and Chris, are quick to make you feel right at home, and they routinely welcome guests in the evening with a wine tasting hour (which we skipped because our wine lineup for the night was already too daunting). And if this isn’t enough to entice you, Chris cooks up a mean gourmet breakfast each morning to get your day started off with a bang.

Continue reading "A Long Island Wine Weekend wine" »

18 March 2006

Schilcher - Austria's Rosé

Schilcher Speaking of rosé, have you tried Schilcher?  Me neither (at least not yet).  However, this May, you can bet your kugels I'll be schniffing and schipping scheveral glaschess of Schilcher.

Schilcher is unique to Western Styria, which is often referred to as Austria's most eccentric wine producing region (and that's saying something).  This rosé is made from Blauer Wildbacher, a highly acidic indigenous grape variety.  Schilcher is described by those in the know as, "[purple] onion peel to salmon pink," in color.  In addition to tongue tickling acidity, Schilcher is full of herbal and spice notes.  It's rarely seen outside Western Styria, save for occasional appearances in Viennese wine bars.

This unique pink wine is said to shift colors as it shimmers ('schillern' in German) in the glass.  Hence, the name, "Schilcher."  Of course, if you want to know more about Schilcher and Western Styria, you'll just have to join me in the Live Austrian Wine Adventure!


15 March 2006

Spain: Old School Pink & White

As you may know by now, The Gray Lady has dipped her toe into the wineblogging pool.  For deep thoughts into what this might mean for wineblogdom, visit Vinography or Fermentation.  My take is this: More eyeballs on wine blogs is a good thing.  More people reading passionate, down-to-earth wine writing is an even better thing.  And more wine lovers discovering new & exciting wine is superterrific.

RosadoHowever, I'm most excited about Eric A's initial post on a Spanish Rosé from Rioja.  This aint no day-glo rosé  It's old school.  I love this wine.  Or rather, I was planning on loving this wine.  You see, a few months ago during a trip to New York, I purchased Heredia's Viña Tondonia Rosado (1995).  But then something tragic happened.  I forgot the bottle when I checked out of my hotel and never heard from it again.  So sad.

Reading about such a unique Spaniard, reminded me of my initial experience with traditional white Rioja made by the same producer - Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia.  It is equally unique:

Old School White Rioja
(originally published 27 Oct. 2004)

Back in the day (read: the early 90's and before) White Rioja of Spain was one of the most uniqe white wines around.  Sadly, today the creeping global wine style is erasing many of these wine gems.

Continue reading "Spain: Old School Pink & White" »

01 February 2006


The folks at Terre Rouge suggest their Vin Gris d'Amador be enjoyed as follows:

"It is the perfect wine for a hot summer afternoon on the patio or at your favorite bistro.  In France it is practically a sacrilege to not be drinking a glass of rosé with your lunch at the cafe..."

Hmm.  Well, it's the middle of the winter, drizzling outside like a scene out of Blade Runner.  Not to mention the fact that I have no patio, it's after lunch and I'm certainly not in France (alas).  Of course, suggestions, are just that - suggestions.  I hereby ignore said suggestion and stick this bottle of lovely cherry-red, rosé wine into the fridge for a 12 minute cool-out.

As the wine chills I proceed to construct a Dagwood steak sammy out of leftovers: prime rib in foil, a 1/2-eaten baguette and some spare cheese hiding out behind the margarine tub.  Now, with the assistance of an old timey panini press, I simulataneously, warm, toast and melt.  Voila.  Cheesy-meaty-toasty goodness.

I pop open the Vin Gris and discover that it hits the spot as a sidekick to my simple sandwich.  However, this wine really starts to shine once it's warmed up a bit and I've finished (read: scarfed) the sandwich.

The Skinny
Tr_vingrisTerre Rouge Vin Gris d'Amador 2003 ($10-$13)

  • 54% Mourvèdre, 42% Grenache and 4% Syrah from California's Sierra Foothills
  • Not your typical pink wine - this wine possesses a great deep cherry-red color with copper undertones
  • Allow Terre Rouge to warm up a bit before you start sipping.  Your nose will thank you.  There are rich, yet restrained scents of vanilla-spice and red raspberry.  However, a most unique aroma piqued my interest in this wine.  It seems to offer up a little Pinot Noir-like mushroomy funk mixed with some of the 'meaty' character for which Mourvèdre is famous.  Yum
  • In the mouth the wine feels fairly full-bodied.  There are subtle tannins as well as a surprisingly evolved combination of flavors.  It's a bit more complex than your typical 'sippin rosé' 

Give it a try.  Who cares if it's February or March or...

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