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Category Archives: Rose wine

Wine of the week: Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare 2014

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Vin Gris de CigareBonny Doon’s Randall Grahm is perhaps the most subversive person in the wine business, and one sip of his rose, the Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare, shows why. On the one hand, it has all of the necessary qualities for a terrific pink wine — freshness, nary a hint of residual sugar, and a certain stoniness that many of the great French roses from Provence have.

On the other hand, the Vin Gris de Cigare ($15, sample, 13%) also tastes like it will age for at least a couple of years. What cranberry fruit there is is hidden beneath the other components, and the fruit should slowly show itself over time. This is not supposed to happen with rose, which is usually made to last for just one vintage (and is perfectly fine when it does). That Grahm makes a rose that will age, and for only $15, is just another example of how sneaky he is, and how his wines almost never do what the wine business says wine should do.

Hence it’s no surprise that I enjoy them so much. Highly recommended; serve the Vin Gris de Cigare chilled, either on its own or with any summer food, be it salad or grilled fish, chicken, or beef. I drank it with socca, the chickpea flour pancake from southern France on a hot Dallas Saturday afternoon. If I wasn’t magically transported somewhere other than my air conditioned living room, the combination reminded me why pairings can work as long as we aren’t slaves to them.

Finally, a note about Grahm’s newest — and perhaps most subversive — project. He is crowdfunding a vineyard to create 10,000 new grape varieties, in the hope of finding a unique New World vinifera, something that didn’t come from Europe and so is better suited to our climate and soil. In this, Grahm figures he has a chance to explore New World terroir in a way no one ever has. That creating new grape varieties is incredibly difficult does not seem to daunt him in the least.

The project is about 35 percent of the way to its $350,000 goal — you can contribute here, and there are some impressive premiums. And, given my experience with crowdfunding, Grahm will have more fun than he can imagine. Not that I know anything about waking up at 2 a.m. to check the funding percentage.

The Wine Curmudgeon as hipster: Dude, he likes rose

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rose

I totally get the resemblance… hat and beard and even glasses.

The news is official, from not just Deadspin and Details, which are about as hipster as post-modern media get, but from Manhattan sommeliers — and even their more hip Brooklyn brethren: “Dude, we’re drinking rose.” “Bro, you are so right.”

This is so exciting that the Wine Curmudgeon, given his long love and advocacy of rose, is going to grow one of those hipster beards and wear one of those hipster hats. Because, dude, rose is freakin’ awesome. Fist bump here.

On the one hand, I should be thrilled that the hipsters have embraced rose, because anyone embracing rose is a good thing in the fight for quality cheap wine, given that it’s almost impossible to find a $10 pink wine that isn’t worth drinking. Plus, that people who may not know wine, who usually drink craft beer or artisan cocktails made with pickle brine, are now drinking rose is something to be much appreciated.

On the other hand, why is this trend — any wine trend, really — only official if a Manhattan sommelier approves of it? Why can’t it be a trend if a cranky, middle-aged ex-sportswriter who lives in the middle of the country approves of it? And, regardless of the personal insult to me, why isn’t it a trend because rose sales have been spiking upward for a couple of years — without any help from people who work at what the Details article called a Brooklyn “fauxhemian” hangout?

Just chill, dude.

Maybe so. The Wine Curmudgeon has been known to visit Manhattan (Brooklyn, even). So, in the spirit of rose-mance, I will bring rose with me the next time I go, and not the usual Provencal pink the hipsters know. How about South African rose? Or Spanish rose? Or even Texas rose? Because, bro, I want to, like, be totally cool with that.

 

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

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