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Category Archives: Holiday wine

Memorial Day and rose 2015

Memorial Day and rose 2012

rose 2015The blog’s eighth annual rose post, which runs every year at the traditional start of summer, is notable for two reasons. First, it may well be the only place on the Internet that has consistently advocated for rose in the last decade, and, second, because of all the wines we’ve talked about. Dare I say that the combined posts are among the most comprehensive list of cheap, well-made, and value-oriented roses in the cyber-ether?

The Wine Curmudgeon, being the humble sort of fellow that he is, will let you decide that. The links at the bottom of this post will take you to many of the past recommendations, while the blog’s rose category offers even more reviews from the past eight years. The blog’s rose primer discusses styles, why rose is dry, and how it gets its pink color, and which vintages to buy. Note that some producers, who still don’t understand that we want dry rose instead of sweet pink wine, are calling their sweet pink wine rose to confuse us. The giveaway? Terms like silky and smooth on the back label. Rose should be crisp.

This year’s suggestions are below, but they’re only a start. As I wrote last year, “It’s almost impossible to find a badly made $10 rose.”

Fattoria La Valentina Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2013 ($11, purchased, 12.5%): Solid, if fruity, Italian rose with lots of strawberry, no doubt from the montepulciano d’abruzzo grape used to make the wine. Think of it as the pink wine equivalent of the red wine made in the same region frm the same grape, which usually offers quality and value.

Goats do Roam Rose 2014 ($8, purchased, 13.5%): Another in a long series of solid, fruity, value-driven rose from this South African producer. It has gamay this year, the same grape used in Beaujolais in France, which gives the wine more fruit (strawberry?) than you would expect.

Yalumba Y Series Rose 2013 ($10, purchased, 12%): Australia’s Yalumba always does a fine job with rose, and this no exception. It’s made with sangiovese, and offers soft red fruit balanced by cranberry and an apple peel sort of finish. Always one of my favorites.

Los Vascos Rose 2014 ($10, sample, 13.5%): This Chilean rose, owned by France’s Rothschild family, has had its ups and downs. But this vintage, made with cabernet sauvignon, is structured, fresh, and features dark red fruit. There is even some tannin, which adds interesting balance.

More about Memorial Day and rose:
Memorial Day and rose 2014
Memorial Day and rose 2013
Memorial Day and rose 2012
My lunch with Provence
$100 of wine

Expensive wine 74: Domaine Roger Belland Les Champs-Gain 2005

winereview

Belland Les Champs-GainYou love your Mom, right? You want nothing but the best for her, don’t you? Then the Belland Les Champs-Gain is the wine for her and Mother’s Day.

The Belland Les Champs-Gain ($70, purchased, 13%), a premier cru from the Puligny-Montrachet region in Burgundy, is everything that great wine is supposed to be. It’s the kind of chardonnay that people dream about, and that even those of us who don’t want to pay more than $10 for wine will drink without hesitation — subtle and muted, with layers and layers of flavors and aromas.

Look for white pepper, a brilliant use of oak, and almost ripe apples, three signs of great white Burgundy from Puligny. But there is so much more going on that it’s almost impossible to describe. Besides, just listing a bunch of adjectives won’t come close to doing the wine justice (even though that’s apparently what I’m supposed to do).

Highly recommended, though availability may be limited. In which case, ask your retailer for something similar, and you can’t go wrong. White Burgundy remains one of the few parts of the French wine business that hasn’t shot itself in the foot, head, and behind, for which the Wine Curmudgeon is quite appreciative.

Mother’s Day wine 2015

winereview

Mother's Day wineMother’s Day wine is about options: wine for a gift, wine for brunch, or wine for dinner? Fortunately, the Wine Curmudgeon has all possibilities covered, as well as the most important piece of advice when it comes wine gift giving. you’re buying someone a gift they will like, and not a gift that you think they should like because you know more about wine than they do. In other words, if Mom likes sweet red, then buy her the best sweet red you can afford, and don’t worry about the wine police.

These wines are a start on covering most of the eventualities:

Vinum Cellars Sparkling Chenin Blanc NV ($18, sample, 12.5%): Delicious bubbly that shows what a top-notch California producer can do with the charmat method and the Wine Curmudgeon’s beloved chenin blanc. The wine is slighty sweet, with fine bubbles, lime fruit, and even a bit of spice. This is Mother’s Day brunch wine, and if it is a touch pricey, it is for Mom.

Château Sainte Marie Vieilles Vignes 2011 ($15, sample, 13.5%): Varietally correct right bank Bordeaux, which means earthy, jammy black fruit, smooth tannins, and a merlot sort of finish — not long, but round and full. If you’re planning a barbecue or informal dinner, this French red will make Mom happy.

Château Sainte Marguerite Côtes de Provence 2013 ($18, sample, 12%): Gorgeous onion skin rose from Provence in France that’s worth the price, one of the best roses I’ve tasted in years. Look for fresh red fruit to complement the orange-ish color; what the French call garrigue, an almost herbal aroma; and a very long finish.

Domaine Félines Jourdan Picpoul 2013 ($10, sample, 13%): White wine from southern France with the picpoul grape’s trademark tart lemon as well as something softer — peach? — in the middle. This is about as well made as $10 picpoul gets, and is a candidate for the 2016 $10 Hall of Fame. Let Mom sip it on the porch while she enjoys her holiday.

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