Showing posts with label rosé wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rosé wine. Show all posts

Monday, May 29, 2023

Scouting Around For A Good Rosé

Every now and then, the wine world reveals a surprise to us. The bottle of rosé I opened boasted nothing more than a "California" appellation on the front label. That is usually a red flag indicating that the grapes were grown in subpar regions. On the back label, though, was a note that it was bottled in Santa Maria, CA. That happens to be one of my favorite growing regions in the state. I let my hopes get up. 

Scout Wild Rosé was founded by former lawyer Sarah Shadonix out of North Texas. Scout Wild Wines is located in Santa Maria. The wine tastes so good that I just knew there were Santa Maria grapes in there - I just knew it.

A bit of research revealed that the grapes were - as the label touts - sustainably grown, vegan friendly and gluten free. They were harvested from a place called L&P Ranch - which I could not locate - and Joe Soghomonion Farms, of Fresno. 

It was a downer to find that this wine was made from Central Valley grapes, only because I like to think I can make deductions about wines like the big sommeliers do. At least I pinpointed one of the grapes - the wine is 48% Grenache. The 48% portion of Merlot escaped me completely and the 4% splash of Valdiguié - which they call Napa Gamay - never entered my mind. Alcohol rests at 13.9% abv and it sells for $19.

This wine is a pretty light pink in the glass and has a nose which shows ripe red strawberries and cherries. A slight savory note floats in and out on the sniff. The palate is delicious - full of bright fruit - and has a bit of heft to it, along with a good slap of minerality.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

CA Négociant Delivers Great Rosé At A Bargain

California wine négociant Cameron Hughes owns no vineyards and has no official winery.  He buys already produced wine from established makers on the down low, with an agreement not to reveal the source.  He then sells the wine online through his wine club, which he calls a wineocracy, bringing top-shelf wines to lower-shelf wallets.  Hughes says he keeps prices low by removing the middleman, the distributor and retailer through which store-bought wines must pass.

The sustainably farmed grapes for the 2017 Cameron Hughes Lot 639 Rosé were grown in California's Central Coast region, specifically the Arroyo Seco AVA in Monterey County.  Hughes says the pink wine was made by "perhaps the most famous producer on the entire Central Coast," without giving up the identity.  Hughes claims he's selling the wine for nearly half its original price.  The grape is Valdiguié, which not commonly found outside of the south of France.  Alcohol tips in at a reasonable 12.8% abv and the wine sells for $13.

This rosé is a rich salmon pink, a really beautiful hue.  The nose shows ripe cherry and melon aromas, while the palate brings strawberries and apricots to the table.  It's a very complex pink wine.  The acidity is gentle, so it's a great sipper.  However, you can pair it with a salad, light appetizers or white meat with no problem. 

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Pink Wine In A Moose Can

Randall Grahm's Bonny Doon Vineyard is a serious wine company.  He's a serious winemaker who makes serious wines.  His sense of humor, though, is not that of a dour, soulless number cruncher.  I get the feeling he's had to do a lot more of that kind of work in his career than he'd like, but he doesn’t let it bring him doon.

Grahm is now making a pink, fizzy wine that comes in a can, La Bulle-Moose de Cigare.  He describes the Bulle-Moose as "pretty darn similar to our Vin Gris de Cigare, apart from the fact that it has been carbonated and put up in cans with a slightly goofy label."  It does look goofy, but the wine inside is seriously good.

The press material for this wine includes a reworked version of the "UFOs in the vineyards" tale that was embraced by Grahm years ago for his line of Cigare wines.  It's also on the can.  Grahm admits that his canned, fizzy pink wine is a bit of a stretch for him -- he’s used to much more serious "vins de terroir."  He says it's his tip of the hat to the realized fact that he's going to need some millennials hoisting his creations if the lights are to stay on at "chez doon."

Six Central Coast grape varieties made their way into these stylish cans, 57% Grenache, 18% Grenache Blanc, 9% Mourvèdre, 6% Roussanne, 5% Carignane and 5% Cinsault.  That’s quite a Rhônish roundup.  It was fermented in stainless steel, on the lees, stirred quite a bit and carbonated before bottling, er - canning.  Alcohol is light enough for a picnic or outdoor festival at 13% abv and the wine retails for $8 a can, which contains a half bottle.

The wine -- from a can -- pours up frothy, retreating quickly to a nice frizzante status.  The nose is beautiful and worthy of a picnic.  Bright, fresh strawberry and cherry aromas dominate, with a touch of sage and earth.  The flavors are ripe and sweet, with an earthy touch befitting a good rosé.  Acidity is perfect, great for food pairing as well as sipping.  The winemaker suggests you serve it very cold, and that will make it a great summertime wine. 

Grahm puts tongue in cheek to recommend La Bulle-Moose de Cigare be paired with moossaka, moozarella crostini, moosseline de poisson, tarte au pamplemoose and chocolate moose. 

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Spanish Rosato, Kosher

The Spanish wine co-operative of Cellar de Capçanes reportedly made the first kosher wine in Spain. Importers Royal Wine Corporation says that Spanish Jews "were once one of the largest Jewish communities worldwide, living peacefully under both Muslim and Christian rule until the year 1492 when Isabel and Ferdinand expelled them during the inquisition. Currently, there are approximately 40,000 Jews living in Spain."

The 2013 Capçanes Peraj Petita Rosat is a kosher rosé produced in the Montsant region of Spain. The wine is an incredible blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah grapes. It his only 13% abv on the alcohol scale, which makes it extremely drinkable.

This wine colors up like cranberry juice. It has an extremely earthy and savory element to the nose. It's more than just an herbal "stemminess" - it's a full-on, nose-in-the-furrow dirtfest. There are cherry and strawberry notes, of course, but they live under the ground. The palate plays right along with the game, hiding its bright red fruit underneath an umami blanket. It's not an approach I find much in a rosé, even one that’s Garnacha-based. Nice acidity, and full in the mouth. Pair this with a salami sandwich, cashews or tapas if you're feeling adventurous.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Everything's Coming Up Rosé - El Terrano

Everything’s coming up Rosé at Whole Foods Markets, and that's good news for people looking for wines to pair with spring and summer get-togethers. They have a slew of pink wines that are easy on the palate and the pocketbook. Their marketing department offered a sample of a half dozen of their favorites, and I took 'em. Whole Foods beverage guy Devon Broglie calls this Spanish pinkie one of the wines from their "rosé garden."

Garnacha, Spanish for Grenache, are the grapes that make the El Terrano Garnacha Rosado 2016. They are grown in Cariñena, in the Aragon region of northeast Spain. Traditionally, the wines were heavy on the alcohol, but winemakers in the area began to go more for balance a couple of decades ago. Winemaker Ana Becoechea definitely leans that way with this entry at 13% abv. It sells at Whole Foods for about ten dollars.

The Spanish wine has a beautiful copper-pink color. The nose is not exactly overpowering, but offers up some pleasant strawberry and cherry aromas. There's a slight herbal tint, too. On the palate, the medium weight is abetted by an easy acidity. Red fruit flavors ride out front, while a barely chalky minerality makes things a little more complex. It's not a wine to write home about, even though I am doing just that, but it serves well as an afternoon sip or a companion to a salad or sandwich. Or tapas.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A French Twist On Rosé Wine

Moncigale is one of France's largest wine producers. They are in the south of France and bottle wines primarily from Provence and Corsica. They have a bottling for the American market called Fruits and Wine, which delivers exactly what is advertised.

A mix of wine and fruit juice isn't really a new idea. Think "Bartles & Jaymes Wine Coolers" from the 1980s. Their product was referred to, though, as a "cooler" because it was actually a malt drink

This one, - Fruits and Wine, by Moncigale - is actual wine mixed with fruit juices and a little carbonation thrown in. It's not a bad little beverage, for what it is.

I don’t often mix things with wine, but that’s because I want to experience what the wine has to offer. If it doesn’t offer much, mix. A recent report showed that 66% of consumers are "eager to mix wine with fruit/juices." And Fruits and Wine is already a popular item at poolside parties in Provence, I’m told, so maybe the younger wave of consumers can be responsible for the return of wine coolers, as well as the onset of the $17 hamburger.

Fruits and Wine is billed as a guilt free product with less sugar than a classic cola and less alcohol than the classic wine - it hits only 7% abv. It employs real fruit juice and no fruit syrup, according to the company. They seem to be targeting younger women I with this product, and possibly trying to act as a transition drink to get cider and craft beer drinkers to start exploring wine.  

Their website offers some tantalizing fun-in-the-sun shots and hits the notion that this is a "no fuss" alternative to actually pouring one thing into another. Homemade sangria, of course, is a lot more trouble than simply opening this bottle, so maybe they're on to something.  The theme of freeing one's self, escaping confinement, recurs on the web page as well. It fits right into younger wine drinkers’ "no rules" attitude.

I tried their Rosé and Grapefruit version, and I must say it's very tasty. It has a pretty and deep pink/orange hue and a nose that comes on like sweet candy. Its aroma reminds me rather of a Big Red soda, if you remember those. The flavors are similar to that soda as well, with a splash of grapefruit thrown in for a slight tanginess. The acidity is nice, falling just short of crisp. Although it's not what I want when I want wine, I can easily see this being a delightful sip on the back porch during a long, hot summer.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare 2013

Spring is official now, although it may not feel like it yet where you are.  In Southern California, the shading between seasons is not so dramatic as it is elsewhere, but we still know when it feels like a rosé.  Yes, it feels like a rosé pretty much all the time.  Look for some great rosé wines to be featured under the "Drink Pink" heading on Now And Zin Wine as we work our way towards summer.

A rosé wine has a tough job to do.  It needs to be serious wine, but it needs to be fun, too.  Too much serious, not enough fun.  Too much fun, that's bad, too.  Bonny Doon's Vin Gris de Cigare gets the balance right - serious fun.

The bottle's front label is adorned with the famous "flying cigar" shining its illegal light over a French vineyard.  As described on the back label, "Vin Gris de Cigare is the pink analogue of Le Vigare Volant, our flagship named in honor of the cigar-shaped alien craft banned from landing in the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape by decree of the village council in 1954."  The wine is made by using "the lightest pressings of a noir."  The label also boasts that this is a "pink wine of the earth."  If all that doesn't add up to serious fun, then the concept must be alien to you.

The rosé bears a modest alcohol content of only 13% abv - so you can have two percent more fun than with a Zinfandel - and is produced from  55% Grenache, 23.5% Mourvèdre, 10% Roussanne, 7% Cinsault, 2.5% Carignane and 2% Grenache Blanc grapes.  It's a veritable smorgasbord of serious Rhône varieties.  So that as many serious wine lovers as possible could have fun with a bottle of their own, 14,800 cases of this wine were produced.  A sample was provided to me for the purpose of this article.

Light pink in color, the nose shows slightly earthy strawberry notes - always a great start for a rosé.  It gets better, though with a hint of smoke here and a whiff of spearmint there.  Gettin' serious up in here.  The palate's fruity fun is balanced by a serious savory nature, a gentle earthiness.  The acidity is substantial, but this wine opts for a creamy presentation owing to the fact that the lees - yeast cells used up in fermentation - are stirred periodically through vinification.  

Vin Gris de Cigare is serious, without losing sight of the fun.