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La Bastide Blanche Bandol Rosé 2015

It may be after Labor Day, for many of us the white shoes get put away but not the rosé.  It is such a versatile wine that pairs beautifully with food.  The Wine Wednesday post is about this lovely La Bastide Blanche Bandol.  Easily drinks like a rosé twice the price.  I found a bottle on our stay at Hawthorne in August and was again super impressed by it.  We enjoyed it on our last eve there with dinner outside under the stars.

From a little web searching on this tasty wine:  The limestone rich soils of St. Anne de Castellet provide a taut mineral framework and juicy acidity, while the high proportion of Mourvèdre in this traditional Provençal blend offers an intense fruit core of ripe strawberry laced with grapefruit and tangerine zest accented by pungent herbs and a touch of spice. This is the classic Bandol rosé by which all others ought to be judged.  

This elegant, powerful rosé comes from one of the producers who put Bandol on the map as a truly great wine region in the early 1990s. La Bastide Blanche’s success rests on extremely low yields and impeccable conditions in the cellar. 

A complex, perfectly balanced wine with lovely aromas of red-currant, peach, blood orange, rose and spice. The palate is dense with creamy berry fruit, citrus and stone flavors, ripe and full with bright balancing acidity with terrific density and length. Delicious now, this will improve over the next few years.



 

 

Domaine Guizard Rosé

As the rosé season soon comes to a close for some, I know many of you enjoy it year round.  So I thought I would highlight the bottles in the next few weeks, that were enjoyed at the rosé tasting that occured at the shop last month when we had the Jeanne McKay Hartmann trunk show.  It was such a fun eve with customers milling about shopping, sipping rosé and Jeanne painting up a storm while Arielle Dombasle played in the background.  We served a variety of wine from one of my favorite Seattle importers, Precept.  The Domaine Guizard rosé from the Languedoc Appelation was loved by all, so I thought it would be the Wine Wednesday choice of the week.  

From the vintner’s site:  “On those warm lands, the dominating Grenache combines well with the Mourvèdre. After nightly harvesting and direct pressing, the wine displays a light, orange salmon, robe, and delivers soft but elegant aromas of white flowers, hardly peppered. More expressive, the mouth is supple, round and slim.”

The kind folks at Precept have offered my blog readers the ‘Friends and Family’ discount, which is 25% off of the retail price.  If so incline contact them at Precept Wine and be sure to tell them you read about it on the daily blog post or were lucky enough to try this yummy French rosé the night of the tasting at the shop.



 

 

Domaines Ott Clos Mireille Rosé Côtes de Provence

Entertaining guests from near & far plays a big part of our stay at Hawthorne.  A combination of friends and family, it is something we both cherish about our time there.  This Wine Wednesday post is about an exceptionally divine bottle of rosé that was a gift to us from our friend Elizabeth when she stayed a night, that we popped open and enjoyed a few nights later at dinner at the picnic table out back under the stars with our friends Mimi & Richard from Little Ghent Farm. Domaines Ott Clos Mireille rosé is a wine I have seen mentioned in articles and occasionally had seen on shelves at wine selling establishments, but had never grabbed a bottle.  Silly me.  It was heavenly.  It will be a bottle we will seek out again & again.

From a little searching around on the web: Overlooking the sea, Clos Mireille is in Londe les Maures close to Brégançon. The broad sea-facing facade provides Clos Mireille wines their inimitable character. The microclimate and the sea spray create the perfect conditions for producing subtle and distinctive wines. The wine consists of a beautiful blend of grape varieties: grenache, cinsault and syrah. The bouquet consists of white fruits and strawberry aromas with a hint of citrus accents. Fruity notes on the palate segue into a smooth and firm structure.



 

 

Commanderie de Peyrassol Rosé

Rosé has been the libation of choice for guests this visit. The heat makes it a welcome choice.  It is always fun to check out the different varieties at wine shops & the grocery store when we are out shopping.  Different regions with different wine distributors makes the mix always interesting to peruse.  This Commanderie de Peyrassol rosé is a Provençal wine I have seen in the past but have never tried.  I am so often drawn to and like quite a bit, wines from Provence.  This most certainly did not disappoint, and was quite tasty with a tomato sandwich. 

From the maker:  Cinsault, Syrah and Grenache make a balanced trio full of fruity flavours, nicely sharpened with a touch of Mourvèdre. Its rosy appearance is soft as a dream, and an expressive, gourmet nose lends charm to this blend dominated by wild berries: gooseberry and raspberry reveal themselves in a crisp, silky palate enhanced with an elegant touch of minerality.  Ideal as an aperitif, to accompany tapas, but also goes well with all varieties of grilled fish, beef or fish tartare and fresh berry desserts.



 

 

Robert Sinskey Vin Gris of Pinot Noir

20160615-064728.jpg Wine Wednesday is a very special bottle of rosé, made by Robert Sinskey Vineyards, in Napa. Demand for his rosé is quite high and production is limited, so if you can get your hands on a bottle/bottles, do. It is really swell stuff. Since we are early in the pink drinking season, it can still be found. I had Pike & Western Wine Shop order up a few bottles for us, which they were able to get their hands on without too much trouble, so buying early in the rosé season is key. The below from the RSV website to give you a little overview of the wine from the man himself.

“Everyone makes a pink wine these days… even Brangelina makes a pretty good rosé. It’s hard to imagine that twenty-five years ago, when RSV first made Vin Gris, the only other American rosés were either sweet White Zin, sweet pink (insert any variety here) or deep red saignée-method rosé… and even that was usually sweet too. I’m thrilled that we have many more choices today. I just wish there were more intentional rosés.

Decades ago, when I was in college, I bicycled through France – from Paris to Lyon, over the Alps to Marseille, up the middle of the country to the headwaters of the Dordogne and out to Bordeaux. All along the way I treated myself to carafes of beautiful light salmon/pink, dry rosés whenever I stopped into a café or bistro. It was the wine you had for lunch or afternoon snack. They were crisp, refreshing, non-cerebral and big on visceral pleasure. When I came back to the US, the two things I missed the most were good coffee (it was the pre-“S-bucks” era and espresso was rare) and a good rosé. Instead of dry and crisp, those stateside rosés were sweet and flabby or artificially tart from acid additions. Most, rather than whetting your appetite, would upset your stomach and leave you feeling ill. These rosés were manufactured to be cheap wines, usually from byproducts of other winemaking endeavors. When we made our first Vin Gris, our desire was to save the reputation of American rosé by making a classically delicate, European inspired pink with a sense of purpose and precision. There was no market for a wine of that type, but we made it anyway and lost money on it for the first fifteen years. Now, it is one of the fastest selling wines in the RSV portfolio. It’s still not profitable every vintage because we use prime Pinot Noir from RSV’s organically farmed Carneros vineyards and some years, like 2015, the yield is too small. A numbers person would suggest we supplement with purchased fruit or saignée (where the juice from fermenting red wine is “bled” off for the rosé) but our Vin Gris is a labor of love and we like doing things the hard way. A few years ago, The Drinks Business Magazine wrote an article titled, “SAIGNÉE ROSÉ ‘NOT TRUE ROSÉ,’” addressing the fact that too many producers are still employing this method for their wines. Unfortunately, there is usually no indication of methodology on the label and the only clue is color. If a rosé is anything but onion skin/salmon to pink and is instead a dark pink, or even red, it is probably a saignée-method rosé. RSV Vin Gris of Pinot Noir is, and always will be, an intentional pink wine because we want to craft wines that we like to drink. No compromise!”

Cheers to that!!!



 

 

And Why am I Mr Pink Rosé

20160420-042845.jpg This Wine Wednesday post is the kick-off to the rosé season. I say that with a smile, because I think pink wine is pretty great all year long. Rosé on a super chilly day by the fire thinking of Summer can be pretty swell. But I know many reserve it for the hot months and it has already been hot in Seattle a few days already, so I know many folks have started the season early. Rosé, similar to wearing white, is reserved by many for sipping from Memorial Day through Labor Day. I think that rule is changing for quite a few as the huge wine display right as I walked in to the grocery store the other day was all rosé. Which brings me to the bottle, And Why am I Mr Pink. The label instantly caught my attention, as it looks like it was hand-written on with a Sharpie. As I perused the mountain of pink wines, the fab wine department salesperson came over and we started chatting. I asked her what her favorite rosé was at the moment. She immediately reached for this bottle. Done. We would give it a try. I knew not of the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ scene from which I am assuming the name was pulled from. But I listen to the folks who run the wine departments. They are sampling and taking note of wines all the time. I always want to know what bottles they are taking home and enjoying themselves. This 2015 rosé of Sangiovese made in the Columbia Valley by Mark Ryan McNeilly & Trey Busch of the Underground Wine Project is a winner, not only for the tasty-ness of the rosé in the bottle, but for its exceptional price. Around 12 bucks a bottle, this is perfect for large group dinners or a party. Cheers to drinking pink!



 

 

Wine Wednesday on Thursday

20150903-045417.jpg It is always a special day when the FedEx guy shows up with a box that contains a few bottles of rosé. We were knee deep into Day 2 of re-display when he dropped off the lovely surprise gift. From a long-time WK customer and blog reader. Brooke, you made our day! Merci, merci. She sent her favorite rosé for us to try. Needless to say, that box was quickly opened and in the fridge those bottles went. After a long day of display that included our power being out when we first arrived, to a fire alarm check that lasted for 10+ minutes, to the air conditioning having challenges, all along we moved things and then moved them some more, a glass of rosé at 5:45 was such a gargantuan treat. And then the fabulous-ness of this wine took center stage.

Wow, this is some seriously good stuff. Domaine Saint Mitre Papillon quickly became a new favorite. Brooke, you know me well! The 2014 vintage won the Silver Medal at the 2015 Concours International de Lyon. After a little web searching last eve, tasting notes:
“Light salmon in color with a vibrant brilliance, this rosé calls out with notes of macerated strawberries, Mt. Rainer cherries, framboise and just a touch of creaminess in the core. On the palate, it’s intense for such a small package, with crushed strawberries, cherries, fleshy red plums, citrus and big acid on the tail end balancing out the richness in the core.” Strawberries, cherries, framboise and red plums. Oh my. Just a perfectly light & lightly fruity rosé that is the color I adore. Best part is all this gloriousness comes in at about 15 bucks a bottle, making this rosé potential party wine for a crowd, but special enough for a special occasion. A home run in my book.



 

 

Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris

20150826-071959.jpg I promised lots of rosé options this season, and by golly, I have taken my homework assignment seriously. Yes, I have a big grin on my face. Kind of like when my dad used to say as his fork came darting in the direction of our dinner plate, “I just have to have a bite to make sure it is good for you.” Which always made me laugh as a kid. So I will continue to taste away and make sure all these rosé options are good for you…

Domaine de Fontsainte, Gris de Gris, is a bottle we have tried before, but it was some time ago. All this early Summer heat has many wine shops & grocery wine departments depleted of quite a bit of their rosé. So trying new bottles is the option. This is a really lovely wine, and it hits that under 20 bucks I think can be spent to have a really nice rosé. The first vineyards at Domaine de Fontsainte, in the Corbières appellation, were planted by the Romans. Artifacts found in these vineyards, such as an old coin dating from the time of Marcus Agrippa in 25 A.D., are a testament to its antiquity. It is imported to the states by Kermit Lynch out of Berkeley, which is always a good sign to me that a stellar bottle is ahead. I don’t think I have ever had a Kermit Lynch wine I did not like.

From the maker:
A crystalline salmon colour with superb amethyst tints. Fine separate legs run slowly down the glass.
Nose
Expressive and particularly tonic, the wine immediately gives off notes of raspberry, cherry and freshly picked strawberries – followed by exotic aromas such as pineapple and mango.

Fine separate legs run slowly down the glass. Gotta love wine speak. What really shined for me were the raspberry, cherry and strawberry notes. This rosé has a bit going on, which I rather like, so I think it works great with food. As we head into the final weeks of Summaaa, this is a fab choice when trying a new rosé. Happy Wednesday all!



 

 

A Rosé Tasting

20150812-062625.jpg Having a wine tasting can be as simple as putting out a variety of wines for folks to try. Summer speaks of rosé, so we had a little tasting with guests out at WestWard on Sunday, that is super easy to replicate. French was the thing all these bottles had in common. It sparks conversation–how some like it sweeter, others lighter, others more intense. Side conversations begin, guests can help themselves to refills, laughter begins. It is a festive way to begin a dinner party. It is a great way to try new wines you have not tried before, try bottles that were gifts, and mix in a few tried & true favorites.



 

 

Saint-Felix Rosé

20150729-065555.jpg Wine Wednesday is all about rosé these next few posts as we are knee deep into Summer and pink seems to be the prevailing color. Rosé is now so popular that many small producers are selling out way before they used to, with many favorites already gone and impossible to find even though it is July. Not long ago those same bottles would have been marked-down in September. It is so fun seeing so many folks enjoying pink. It is just festive. Which leads me to Saint-Felix. Most times I am drawn to French rosé. I just am. There are many, many lovely US producers of rosé, but in a pinch when I am grabbing for a bottle we have not tried, I will veer towards French. That is where this bottle comes in. I was in a hurry out on the island, with TPS & Bailey waiting in the car, and I was just running in to pick up a few quick things for guests coming just for drinks. A few of my tried & true were out, so this Saint-Felix looked interesting, was a tad darker than I usually choose, but in the basket it went. It was a lovely surprise. Stood up to the cheeses we served it with. Has a yummy watermelon note to it. At 10 to 12 bucks a bottle, it is perfect for a party or large gathering. Always fun to try something new. Look for a few more rosé posts in the coming weeks as the season heats up. Happy Wednesday everybody!