- ROSÉ WINES
We are mildly amused by the reaction of most people to the
thought of drinking a rosé or pink wine. "Oh, no! We don't want anything
Or: "We want real wine."
Years ago, in the late-1960s and early 1970s, the fashionable wines were Blue Nun
Liebfraumilch, Mouton-Cadet from Bordeaux, a straw-covered bulb-shaped bottle from Tuscany
and a pair of Portuguese pink wines. Mateus came in a flagon, while Lancer's was put
into a "crock" bottle. From France came "Nectar-Rose," a
Cabernet rosé from the Loire Valley. Almaden, then a large winery in San Jose and
Hollister, used to make a delightful Grenache Rosé. Paul Masson made a fizzy
rosé called "Crackling Rosé." Naturally, these wines were sweet, relying on
sugar for their character.
In Mediterranean regions where people have been drinking wines for more than a few
years, rosé wines are not uncommon. In fact, they're embraced with tremendous
In Spain, for example, we found many restaurants with a dozen or two rosé
a couple of whites and then the obligatory 30-50 red wines. And the wines there are
not sugary, sweet insipid excuses for wine. They can be flavorful and stone, bone
France produces many wonderful
The Rhone Valley's
"Tavel" is famous and usually expensive. The Tavel
appellation is seen only on the pink wine; you won't find a white or red
version of Tavel. Grenache is "the" grape of this famed rosé.
Provence also produces a wide array of
pink wines, especially famous being those from Bandol. In
Provence, by the way, the wines with a more light orange/onion skin/pale
salmon color are highly prized. They don't care much for deep cherry
red colored pink wines.
Bordeaux even offers
yet where are you likely to find that? These wines, you
see, never attain high numerical scores in the various journals because these are simply
not fancy enough for wine geeks.
California has been producing rosé wines for decades. They were typically made
when red grapes didn't achieve a sufficient degree of ripeness to make a big red wine.
Then, when growers planted tons of red grapes in the early 1970s, the market wanted
fruity wines and wineries obliged making "white wines" (well, they were not
red...some were pink or had the color of onion skins) from red grapes. Some were not
saleable as "rosé," but sold as Blanc de Noir, snobby wine drinkers
In the early 1970s, almost every winery seemed to have a rosé! Caymus called
its rosé "Oeil de Perdrix" (Eye of the Partridge) and the wine was made of
Robert Mondavi made a beautiful Gamay Rosé from Napa Valley fruit. At
a dinner where I was trying to translate Italian and English for Mr. Mondavi
and a prominent Barolo winemaker, we spoke about wines from the first decade
of "Robert Mondavi Winery" and I mentioned this Gamay Rosé and
his eyes lit up.
"That was a good wine!" he cried.
And he was right!
used to make a dynamite "Petite Sirah Rosé."
Sebastiani had "Eye of
Mill Creek, in Sonoma's Healdsburg, made a Cabernet Sauvignon
as did Simi nearby. The Kreck family (as in Mill Kreck) copyrighted the term
"Blush" for its "Cabernet Blush." Other wineries, finding this
term to have marketing power, could call their pink wines "Blush" wines only if
they paid a royalty fee to the Krecks!
David Bruce was one of the first to make a "Blanc de Noirs," produced from
Zinfandel, if memory serves. This was a brownish, onion-skin-colored wine.
Magnani at Grand Cru Vineyards in the Sonoma Valley made a "Nouveau"-styled
wine, as well as a Blanc de Noirs. Sutter Home, at that time a producer of
"serious," big Zinfandels from Amador County fruit, made a "Blanc de
Noirs." This was a "White Zinfandel" and theirs was a bit sweet.
This turned into a massively popular wine and made the Trinchero family wealthy in
no time! They had struck gold!
I was affiliated with a small winery in those ancient days. This place made
really good, bone dry rosé wines of Grignolino, Petite Sirah, Cabernet, etc. I took
these to a snobby, snooty San Francisco wine shop. The owner or manager laughed when
I presented these wines, not even wanting to taste them! "We
don't sell rosé in this store!" he proudly informed me.
I was disheartened,
but amused at the same time. For, you see, right next to the sales counter was a
stack of rosé wine! But it was sold as a Blanc de Noirs table (still) wine.
It was from
Domaine Chandon and called "Tâche Nature." So....a
rosé by any other
Today there is still a large sea of White Zinfandel. Most of this is made from
over-cropped vineyards in California's massive Central Valley. The grapes have very
little character, yet when made as a somewhat sweet wine, they manage to find a market for
Making a flavorful, good quality pink wine, call it rosé, blush, vin gris or
anything else you like, is a tricky piece of work.
To achieve the right color, most winemakers macerate the grape skins, which offer
color, tannin, flavor and fragrance, for some modest amount of time. Too short a
period and the wine lacks color and flavor. Too long a maceration period and the
wine becomes too dark and perhaps even a bit astringent (from the tannin).
Large, behemoth factories would make rosé wine by merely "coloring" a tank
of white wine with some very dark red. If you add a few gallons of inky, dark
Alicante Bouschet to a tank of Colombard or Thompson Seedless white wine:
Voilà! Rosé (or the terrible term : "Blush Chablis").
Ferment the wine until it is bone dry. Then add grape concentrate or unfermented or
partially-fermented juice to achieve the exact amount of sweetness desired.
Today many California winemakers 'bleed' off liquid from their fermentation
tanks full of juice and grape skins. This allows them to have a
greater skin-to-juice ratio and make, perhaps, a bigger red wine. In
doing so, they end up making small amounts of pink wine.
Since these grapes cost a fortune, many vintners feel obliged to charge a
Keep in mind, though, producers whose first interest is "rosé"
wine are making theirs from fruit picked at a modest sugar level. This
is rather different from these California winemakers who are picking grapes
at a potential alcohol level of 15% or more. Rosé wines with elevated
alcohols simply miss the mark...
Okay. That's the scoop on rosé and pink wine.
SOME ROSÉS WE LIKE:
AMIDO 2015 TAVEL ROSÉ $14.99
some 30 hectares spread out between Tavel and Lirac in the Southern Rhône
Valley, Christian Amido has been at the helm of this estate for nearly 25
years! They built a new facility in 2001.
Armand Maby was involved in the various family enterprises and he showed us
around the Tavel and Lirac appellations the first time we visited a few
years ago...sadly, he passed away, but the kids still run the place.
The recipe is a good one, the wine having a subtle spice note and a touch of
berry fruit without being a fruit bomb. Of course, it's dry. The
blend is 85% Grenache, 15% Cinsault--some vintages have had a bit of Syrah
and Clairette, but the 2014 is made from but two varieties. Amido
leaves the skins in contact with the juice for a day-and-a-half, enough to
extract a bit of color, but not enough to pick up astringency in the wine.
The 2015 is, as usual, a delight. Dry, fruity, floral
and thoroughly enjoyable.
JELLY JAR 2015 ZINFANDEL ROSE $17.99
- We rolled our eyes when a customer asked for a Zinfandel
called "Jelly Jar."
There are so many crappy wines in today's market with names such as Layer
Cake, Butter, JAM, etc.
But it turns out Jelly Jar is the work of a real family winery, not the
(half)-brain child of some marketing geniuses.
It seems winemaker Andy Pestoni remembers his grandparents enjoying wine
they were consuming not from fancy Riedel crystal stemware, but from a jelly
jar! Oh my, times were so much simpler then!!!
We have been selling a lot of his Lake County Zinfandel, a beautifully
raspberryish red wine and a bit of his similarly charming Barbera.
- We tasted his new 2015 Lake County Rosé and this is a killer. The
wine offers such an amazingly berryish aroma. You cannot
imagine. Really. You can't.
The wine is dry and the palate delivers on the promise made by the
phenomenal fragrances here.
He made but one tank's worth of a thousand gallons, so this wine won't be
available for long. Don't miss it.
PULLUS 2015 PINOT GRIGIO (ROSÉ)
The sales rep proudly announced she had a Slovenian Pinot Grigio which is
a "ramato"-styled wine. "Ramato" is a wine of
auburn, copper or salmon color. The wines get this bit of color when
the grape skins are macerated with the juice during the
There are some people who find white wines fermented with the skins,
sometimes called "orange wines," to be attractive, despite many
of those having the spoilage flaws of oxidation, or worse. The
voices rallying around these orange wines praise them for being
We are all for "natural," but we also appreciate a good,
delicious bottle of wine, too. Not everything that's natural is
necessarily superior. We tasted a few "natural" wines at a
trade tasting and a fellow who writes a wine letter asked what I thought
of the wines. These were wines costing the consumer something like
$75-$90 a bottle.
- My response was "Look, when the Merlot and the Pinot Grigio have
the same brown color, Houston: We have a problem!"
And if we want to drink something oxidized, we can buy splendid, seriously
fine Sherry from Spain for $15-$35 a bottle, we don't have to buy crappy,
sloppy wine just because it's supposedly "natural." ((And
I'm always amused that some of the folks who are so in love with
old-fashioned and natural come to a tasting by car and not by horse.))
Well, enough of that soapbox (for the moment)...
Pullus is a brand of wine made by the Ptujska Klet winery
in Slovenia. If you know where Austria's Graz is located, you can be
at the winery in just a bit more than an hour by car. From Gorizia
or Trieste (in Italy's Friuli), you need a bit more than 2 hours to drive
So the sales rep poured the 2015 Pullus Pinot Grigio and we were
flabbergasted. Or as one of our British friends says: Gob-smacked.
So why is this Pinot Grigio posted here on our page of "pink"
Well, because the wine displays a decided bright, cherryish pink color.
They leave the skins of ripe Pinot Grigio grapes with with juice for a day
or two or three. This allows the wine to pick up some pink color.
And it shows remarkable fruit, too. Lots of notes of watermelon,
cherry, berry and ripe pear. It's dry and utterly charming.
Delicious, too. Did we mention delicious?
UMATHUM 2015 "ROSA" $18.99
- One of
the top, elite winemakers of Austria is a guy named Josef Umathum. His
beautiful cellar is located in the Burgenland and you'll need an hour and a
half, typically to drive there from Vienna.
We were so delighted by his 2012 Rose, that I trekked to the cellar last
year to pay homage to this fellow and to taste his other wines!
If you would have told us that the 2012 Rose from an Austrian vintner would
be our best-selling pink wine last year, I'd have suggested you have your
Seriously? Are you nuts?
Or as young folks say today, "WTF?"
But, I kid you not...this wine was so well received, we were shocked.
People who had never bought Rose wines were returning to buy 6 or 12 bottles
The 2015 is a tad better, we think, than the 2014. It's a blend of
three varieties which are relatively unknown in these parts: Zweigelt,
Blaufränkisch and Saint Laurent. This has some nice red fruit notes to
it...raspberries...cherries...it's dry and even has a suggestion of tannin,
adding to its 'dry' character. The color is light red and
Umathum does not use a screw-cap for this wine, nor does he use a cork.
Instead, this comes in a special proprietary bottle and it's sealed with a glass
stopper. All you need is a thumb to open this and based upon consumer
reaction, this is worthy of a "thumbs up"!!!
Winemaker Josef "Pepi" Umathum in his new cellar...he makes a lot
of red wine, so there's an impressive room full of small oak barrels.
The Rosa wine is not aged in oak, however.
you've been looking for a dynamite example of Rosé made from the
Espadeiro grape, here you go!
This is a gorgeous example of Vinho Verde and it even has a classic hint of
fizz to it.
The wine is beautifully cherryish in color, but it also displays cherry and
raspberry notes on the nose and palate.
It's quite crisp and nicely zesty and the wine seems to be quite dry.
Currently in stock: ARCA NOVA 2015 VINHO VERDE ROSE $9.99
Clos des LUMIÈRES
is a smallish estate you've never heard of as they spend absolutely nothing to
promote their wines here in the U.S.
And why should they?
Their wines are sold to a local California importer for an honest price and
these arrive here at an attractive price for the consumer.
Would you prefer thousands of dollars of advertising and a higher price just so
the brand name would be more easily recognized?
We sometimes have people come into the shop and ask for a recommendation.
We show them a wine and they (then) ask "How come I've never heard of
This vineyard and winery are located in the Rhône Valley town of Fournés,
about 30 minutes drive west of Avignon and the same east of Nimes.
The 2015 Rosé carries a Côtes du Rhône
appellation and the wine is 40% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre and 10%
We like its mildly floral aromas and the flavors match the fragrances.
It's fresh, light, dry and bright on the palate.
You may find this tastes even better when you learn it's only $9.99 a bottle
(and we offer a discount on it as part of a 12+ bottle purchase.
Currently in stock: 2015 CLOS DE LUMIÈRES
Côtes du Rhône
Currently in stock: 2015 CHATEAU LA CANORGUE
LUBERON ROSE $16.99
CHATEAU LA CANORGUE
the Cotes du Luberon we have this splendid dry Rose from Jean-Pierre
Margan's Chateau La Canorgue.
This beautiful property was the filming location for the Russell Crowe
movie, A Good Year. The property is so nice, we understand someone
from the Rockefeller family presented Jean-Pierre with a blank check,
saying "fill in the amount and leave." He told them
"merci, but non merci!"
Jean-Pierre has long been farming with an eye towards organic
viticulture. In fact, he's farming biodynamically.
The 2015 Rose is a delight...pale in color with sort of an onion skin
tone, the wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre...dry and
fresh, with some berry and spice notes.
JM RAFFAULT 2015 CHINON ROSÉ
Here's a wine we discovered in our search for another good pink wine for
the shop. We bought a number of samples to try and this one was
It's, first and foremost, a "Chinon."
That is, it's a Cabernet Franc wine made from grapes grown within the
delimited area of Chinon in France's Loire Valley.
- If you know the red wines of this region, they can be quite pleasant,
though perhaps not especially complex.
And go dine in Paris and you'll find lots of Sancerre whites on the wine
lists and Chinons for reds. These are relatively reasonably-priced
and they work well with the food.
Chinon as a red often has a mild red fruit note and there's a faint smoky
tone in many of the wines.
So we were surprised to taste Raffault's 2015 and it captures that same
character but in a lovely pink wine. Dry, of course.
CHATEAU DE CAMPUGET 2015 COSTIERES DE NÎMES
This 160 hectare estate is situated between
Arles and the town of Nimes and it's owned by the Dalle family. Jean-Lin
Dalle is assisted by his son, Franck-Lin (Jean-Lin's a history buff and has an
appreciation for American founding father Benjamin Franklin). We don't
know if they follow basketball and are fans of Jeremy Lin.
We've found their recipe for Rose to be rather good and the wine arrived at an
attractive price, too.
The 2015 is 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache Noir. Lots of berryish fruit and
the wine is nice and dry.
Tasting at Campuget...
The vineyards...as you can see, they do not employ chemical weed-killer to
ago regarding a trip to Austria I remember two things.
Well, more than two.
But two things made an impression.
One was the number of stars in the sky after a dinner in the Steiermark
region. We came out of a restaurant and I was shocked to see so many
stars. When you live in the SF Bay Area and you look up into the
night sky, starlight is minimal thanks to the volume of "city
lights." On that night in Austria, with minimal artificial
light, the stars were as bright as I'd every experienced them.
The other memorable thing from that same evening was my introduction to a
really tart and very particular rosé. It was a wine called
Schilcher and it's made in the Western Steiermark (and a bit in the
southern Burgenland) from a unique grape called Blauer
If you have read about some crisp, tart, fairly acidic wines you'll note
the term "racy" is used from time to time. I've had German
wines which are "racy." On one trip to Deutschland in the
1980s I visited a bunch of wineries in the Mosel and Rheingau and after a
couple of days of tasting (and drinking), I could feel the impact or
after-effects from the wines.
Schilcher, however a whole other animal.
We had not seen the wine here in California and I recall on that trip to
Austria eons ago we were told it was a wine found solely in the West
Steiermark and it was a wine which, as the saying goes "doesn't
travel well." On top of that, the Austrians drank all of it
Fast forward to 2016 and one of our importers, who deals in all sorts of
obscure wines from Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Georgia, shows
up with a bottle of Schilcher. And not just any Schilcher.
Christian Reiterer is Mister Schilcher. In the 1970s he had one
hectare of Schilcher and maybe three of 'farm land.'
Today he has 60 hectares of grapevines and exports Schilcher around the
world to those special souls who can handle its bracing, racy acidity.
It's relatively low in alcohol (around 11.5%) and it's bone dry.
Even if this had a bit of sweetness, you would not sense it thanks to its
Sure, you can serve this with an Austrian Wiener Schnitzel. Or
Wiener Backhendl (a breaded chicken schnitzel). They say freshwater
fish is another good match for Schilcher. We've tried it with some
charcuterie or salumi here and that worked nicely.
But fasten your seatbelt, because this is marvelously fruity (think of
those little wild strawberries called fraises de bois) and snappy
and as zesty as you can imagine.
This is not your father's or mother's rosé!
Currently in stock: 2015 REITERER SCHILCHER
CASAL GARCIA VINHO VERDE ROSE $6.99
is a remarkably good, dry pink wine from Portugal...it's from a winery a few
miles outside of Oporto and they're famous for their Vinho Verde.
If you've been searching for a rose made from 30%
Vinhao, 35% Azal Tinto, and 35% Borracal, here's your wine.
It's fresh, strawberryish and close to dry, with a faint spritz to it.
This is a delightful wine, flavorful and low in alcohol.
Domaines Ott Rosé 2015 "Chateau de Selle"
(List $56!) SALE $49.99
fancy bottle was designed in the 1930s and the Ott family makes one of France's most
esteemed rosé wines in Provence.
The family owns three estates:
Clos Mireille, producing Côtes de Provence white wine.
Château Romassan, a Bandol property where they make red, white and rosé.
Château de Selle, their original and oldest holding in the Côtes de Provence where they
make rosé, red and white.
We usually have the Château de Selle Rosé (as well as their Clos Mireille white), a pink
wine vinified from Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Cinsault. I think this wine is
best served with Provençal-styled cuisine. Bouillabaisse wouldn't be a bad idea.
Nor would something incorporating saffron.
ANOTHER ROSÉ: 2015 BY.OTT $25.99
cousins, Jean-Francois Ott and Christian Ott, collaborated to make a new, more
economical wine called "By.Ott."
It's vinified at the Château de Selle and the grapes come from that same
property, Ott's Clos Mireille estate and from fruit purchased from two other
It's 75% Grenache with the rest being made of Cinsault and Syrah.
The color is typical light pink...and the wine has a fresh, fruity nose while
being berryish and dry on the palate.
- CLOS CIBONNE
- This little property is located about an hours' drive east of Marseille
and about an hour and a half west of Nice. You'd need about half an
hour, driving east, from Bandol. And like Bandol, it's within view of
the little harbor of Toulon, where you'd catch a boat to Corsica.
- The domaine takes its name from a sailor who was a captain in Louis The
16th's navy who owned the place in the late 1700s. Captain Jean-Baptiste
de Cibon died in 1797 and the estate was sold to the Roux
Andre Roux, who passed away in 1989, had planted a lot of the Tibouren grape
on the property before World War II.
This variety is rather obscure, but if you drive a couple of hours into
Italy, you may find the same grape which is called Rossese di Dolceacqua.
Some theories postulate this grape originated in the Middle East or
The Roux family still cultivates Tibouren and it's a specialty of this
But this is not a fruity, care-free little wine that's bottled a few months
after the harvest...instead they ferment it in stainless steel, temperature
controlled tanks for about ten days and then it's racked in ancient
cooperage, foudres which are a century old. They typically blend a
small amount of Grenache into the final cuvee. The wine then remains in
those old wooden vats for about a year before it's bottled.
It's a mildly minerally Rose, with an orange-hue to its coloring. The
wine pairs nicely with a classic seafood stew, though the winery web site
claims it's ideal paired with red mullet or a lamb curry.
Currently in stock: 2014 CLOS CIBONNE Tibouren Rose $26.99
Olivier and Claude Deforge
- RIVE SUD 2015 PINOT NOIR ROSE from FRANCE $9.99
now had several vintages of this delightful, simple Pinot Noir Rose from a
fairly large producer in the town of Limoux.
That region is located in the vast Languedoc area and they're a short drive
south of the city of Carcassonne.
Limoux is more noted for a sparkling wine, but this little Rose is a
pleasant surprise and it's well-priced at a mere ten bucks.
The wine takes the appellation of Vin de Pays d'Oc...and it's from high
elevation Pinot Noir vineyards. Hand picked, too!
It's a delicious, mildly cherryish Rose...we've especially liked this with
ham or smoked pork.
DOMAINE De L'HORTUS 2015 (List $15) SALE
Orliac family owns this modest domaine, one of the quality leaders in the
Pic St. Loup appellation in the Languedoc.
The photo on the right
shows young François Orliac in their rocky vineyards.
This is the eighth or ninth vintage of their Rosé that we've had in the
shop. It used to be made of juice bled off their red wine production,
but for the 2015, they've done a direct pressing of the grapes.
It's 20% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre and 50% Grenache this
vintage... You'll find a lot of raspberryish notes in this wine and it's perfect for
taming spicy foods. It's a great picnic wine, too.
HEITZ 2015 Napa Valley GRIGNOLINO ROSÉ Sold Out
sure sign of Summer is the arrival of Heitz old-fashioned, dry, Napa Valley rosé
made of the Italian Grignolino variety.
This is light and dry and it offers a wonderfully floral
There's nothing like it and most California vintners have no clue as to how to
produce a good pink wine.
Most are more skilled at affixing a high price tag to the bottle than they are
to vinifying the wine.
The Heitz family has been making this since the 1960s...
We enjoy this at some of the local dim sum parlors. We've shared
bottles with a number of Piemontese vintners and the wine (and dim sum) have
been a delight.
Elisa Scavino of the Paolo Scavino winery in Castiglione Falletto.
Izzy Oddero of the Oddero winery in La Morra.
Saint-André de Figuière "Magali" 2015 Rose $17.99
- This smallish domaine is run by Alain Combard and his family. He's
born in Provence, but spent many years working in the Chablis winery of
Domaine Laroche before coming home
The vineyards and cellar are situated in La Londe-les-Maures which is
roughly half way between Marseille and Cannes. The estate comprises
some 70 hectares, or which 45 are devoted to grapes.
The wine, as you can see by the color, is classically Provencal.
It's a 2015 Côtes de Provence Rose with the name of one of Combard's kids,
Magali, on the label. The "kids", by the way, are all
adults. Magali is married and has two kids of her own...she's the
public relations specialist for the company. And what better calling
card from Provence than a dynamite dry rose?
It's a blend of Cinsault, Cabernet, Grenache and Syrah. Beautifully
fruity and nicely dry, it's fresh and easy-drinkin'!
DOMAINE LE CLOS DES LUMIÈRES
is a modest-sized estate in the Southern Rhone Valley, but they make a brilliant
Grenache Rose from vineyards situated just outside the Cotes du Rhone
It's a dry Rose and there's plenty of fresh fruit on the nose and on the
And you can't beat the price (keep in mind, this gets our 12 bottle discount,
10% or 15%, depending upon the sale).
Currently in stock: 2015 LE CLOS DES LUMIÈRES GRENACHE ROSE $9.99
LE ROC ROSÉ 2014 (FRONTON) Sold OutChâteau Le Roc is the leading estate in the Fronton region near Toulouse.
The Ribes brothers make some terrific wines, using the Negrette grape (we
call it Pinot Saint George here in California). In addition to the
Negrette, there's 35% Syrah and 5% Cabernet.
Their 2014 Rosé is berryish and dry with a touch of spice. Good value.
Remarkably balanced, too...
BIRICHINO 2014 VIN GRIS Sold
term "Birichino" is an Italian word referring to someone
who's a bit of a rascal or someone who might be described as
"impish" or "puckish."
A couple of cool fellows who had been affiliated with the Bonny Doon
Vineyard (once upon a time) have their own little wine production now
and it's called Birichino.
We've had a dynamite white wine made of Malvasia Bianca and they
produce a lovely, elegant Grenache for a red wine.
And they also have a terrific "pink wine," a Vin Gris.
Having been instrumental in producing Bonny Doon's Vin Gris de Cigare,
these two rascals have a pretty good idea of how to make this wine.
Grenache is the base and they get fruit from a high elevation, Sierra
Foothills site and combine it with some Santa Clara County
fruit. There's Cinsault and Mourvedre along with the white grape
called Rolle. The wine ends up being nicely fragrant and
brightly aromatic. It's light and dry, yet flavorful, showing
If you're serving salty olives, tapenade on some crostini, flatbread,
pizza, charcuterie or salumi, asparagus wrapped with Prosciutto,
here's a good accompaniment!
ANTICHI VIGNETI DI CANTALUPO "Il Mimo"
2015 Rosato $15.99
Arlunno family has been making wine in "the other Piemonte" since
the 1969 vintage. Ghemme is their claim to fame and they're a leading
light in producing Nebbiolo in that appellation.
But they've dabbled in making a charming little Rosato which they call "Mimo"
(mime). The label features a mask which was found in the area and is
thought to be Roman.
The Nebbiolo grapes are crushed and left with the skins overnight or for a
day, depending upon the vintage. The wine is cold fermented until it's
dry and then they work to clarify it before bottling.
The resulting wine is nicely dry and has a slight 'bite' from the tannin of
the Nebbiolo. Pairing this with food makes it taste smoother.
Don't ask for this by name...just come in quietly, amble over to the
rosé rack and point. We'll understand.
AVANIEL 2015 Tempranillo Rosado
Monteabellon winery in Spain's Ribera del Duero has had a dynamite
"recipe" for making a thoroughly delicious Rosado.
Of course in the Navarra region of Spain, you'll find some well-regarded
pink wines and those are typically made of Garnacha.
But in the Ribera del Duero region, famous for big reds, comes a rosado
made entirely of Tempranillo.
Monteabellon has some younger vineyards and they source the fruit for
their Rosado from those parcels. Clearly this is cold-fermented and
they bottle it when it's young and fresh...very fruity. Its
fragrance reminds of a fruit basket full of raspberries and strawberries.
The wine is dry. We wish it had a shade more acidity on the palate,
but serving it thoroughly chilled helps give this a bit more of an edge.
We had a bottle recently at a restaurant, pairing it with
some Gumbo to start and some ribs to finish...it stood up nicely to the
DOMAINE PETIT AOÛT
wine from a well-below-the-radar area in France and it's made of a grape
few wine drinkers have heard of and which fewer have ever tasted!
The Domaine Petit Août is located in the town of Theus, a
few miles from the "big city" of Gap. If you were in
Aix-en-Provence, getting in the car you'd drive an hour and a half north and
a bit east to get to this remote enological outpost.
Yann De Agostini (sounds Italian, no? Well, the Italian city of Turin
is about 3 hours away) cultivates a few hectares of a grape known as
Mollard. Now the Spanish will tell you they grow the Mollard grape,
but their variety is actually said to be Carignan, while this variety from
the Hautes-Alps is said to not be the same thing.
It's thought that this Mollard is a descendant of the Gouais
De Agostini started with all of two hectares of vineyards in his first vintage,
2009. These days the property comprises maybe 4 or 5 hectares.
We tasted his 2014 Rose and found it to be quite good. No oak.
Dry. Nice acidity, but not too tart. It's a splendid and
refreshing wine and one that you friends will have never heard of or tasted.
WALDGRIES SANTA MAGDALENER $22.99
is NOT a pink wine and it's not a Rose.
But it's one of the most marvelous chillable red wines you could ever hope to
Waldgries is a small winery in Bolzano, the "Sudtirol" region of
Italy. People there speak German before they learn Italian.
But you don't have to be a linguistics expert to enjoy this wine...it speaks
eloquently and it's easy to understand.
The main grape is called Schiava (or Vernatsch in German) and it's blended with
a small percentage of Lagrein.
This is wonderfully aromatic! Imagine the perfume of a beautifully
fragrant French Beaujolais. Then double it!
You can serve this with all kinds of foods...it's
magnificently strawberryish in aroma and flavor. And it's dry, of
course. Don't miss it.
BUBBLY ROSE WINES
And of course we have a
number of top Brut Rose wines in the shop...
Billecart-Salmon, Schramsberg, Laurent Perrier, Rene Geoffroy, Bollinger and
Allimant Laugner's Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose.
A new addition is Vitteaut Alberti's Brut Rose ($19.99!), a Cremant from
Burgundy. It's made entirely of Pinot Noir and is nicely dry and yet
retaining a touch of fruit.
get numerous requests for Lancer's Rosé and are happy to special order it for
It currently goes for $6.99 before the 12 bottle case discount.
If you're interested in a case, please call us to place your order.
This is what it used to look like:
is how it looks these days:
MATEUSThis goes for $7.49 a
bottle. I bought one to taste it just to check it out.
It's pale pink, sort of onion skin color. Sweet...not much fruit on
And it still comes in its flagon-shaped bottle. We actually have a few
bottles in stock...
the early 1970s, Blue Nun was "the" German wine. It took the
mystery out of buying a bottle of Riesling...you did not have to know
hard-to-pronounce names such as "Weingut Reichsrat Von Buhl Forster
Riesling Spätlese trocken Grosses Gewächs."
Blue Nun won't be winning any blind-tastings of German wine, but it is still
available for those customers who have a case of nostalgia and want a case of
wine is purportedly from Bordeaux.
It sort of tastes like a Bordeaux, but we wouldn't be surprised if other wines
were blended with Bordeaux to create Mouton Cadet.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, chic wine drinkers knew this brand as being a
symbol of good taste and sophistication. I think today the same people (or
their offspring) buy wines such as California's Far Niente or Cakebread to
demonstrate their status as bon vivants.
The white wine equivalent of Mouton Cadet came from the Burgundy firm of Louis
Jadot. (See below...)
have to give the people credit who would come into a shop or restaurant and try
to pronounce the name of this wine.
"Do you have any Lou-ee Jar-dott Polly-Foos?"
"Where's the Louis Jadot Pussy Fussee?"
It was a sign of sophistication, to be sure, to be able to order a bottle of
this wine in a restaurant. Your guests knew you were a sharp, well-heeled
individual. The waiter knew and so did the bus boy.
I think yesterday's Pouilly-Fuissé drinker is today's buyer of Far Niente or
If you want some bottles of Jadot Pouilly-Fuissé or their perfectly
ordinary Macon Villages, let me know and we'll special order these for
BACK TO OUR HOME PAGE