Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You Get What You Pay For, M. Chapoutier Belleruche Rose 2013, Cotes du Rhone Disappoints Big Time!

Normally, I'm a huge Cotes-du-Rhone enthusiast, and I generally encourage people to drink them because they are amazing values and made with forgiving grapes like Syrah and Grenache.  Sometimes even a cheap CdR tastes cheap - that's what happened here in this out of balance M. Chapoutier Belleruche Rose.

I know that this wine was only $10.99 (and discounted 15% because it was a part of a mixed case) but it was pretty disappointing.   The nose was lackluster, and the finish was weak - but that's not what made me not enjoy this wine; it was the burning alcohol on the finish that made it taste unpleasant and oddly like some kind of a rose vodka.

The Chapoutier website claims that this is primarily Grenache with a little Syrah and Cinsault.  It was just not tasty.  Plus side - I saved calories by not drinking wine.  Down side - I didn't drink wine tonight. If you only have $10 to spend - grab one of the rosados from Spain that I've reviewed.  Otherwise, just grab a couple of vodka nips.

The Verdict --   FAIL!
color: pretty rosy pink w/ touch of purple
nose: faint watermelon and strawberry, wet stone
palate: strawberry - burning tart strawberry, sour watermelon belts - overwhelming alcohol
price: $10.99
pairing: I had this with some turkey meatballs, and after the first couple of sips I switched over to seltzer water.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

More than just a pretty face - Miraval Cotes de Provence Rosé 2013

oooh! i feel like I'm in Provence!!

Sometimes you visit a wine region, and the wine just tastes so incredible.  You bring some back or buy some when you get back home to recreate that experience, and most times it falls short.  This was not my experience with the Miraval Provence Rosé.  It tasted as great today as it did when my hubby and I lounged under an olive tree at the Perrin family restaurant L'oustalet in Gigondas http://www.loustalet-gigondas.com/en/.  Great wine can transport us, and sipping on this little beauty; I am back in Southern France!

This pink drink is brought to us by the extraordinary Perrin family.  They are masters of the southern Rhone Valley to say the least, and everything they touch tastes delicious.  It's no wonder that when they decided to make wine from select parcels in Provence (on their summer estate no less) and partner with the Jolie-Pitts (yes THOSE Jolie-Pitts) it would be phenomenal.

Grapes:  Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle
Typical blend for south of France.  Rolle is a white grape - also known as Vermentino by our friends in Italia.
Region: Cotes de Provence
http://familleperrin.com/.  This is a large area as we've learned, but that doesn't mean that the wine has to suck.  This wine is made from selected single vineyards withing the region.

Color: pretty pale pink
Nose: melon, peach, raspberry and strawberry.  delicate violet and wet stone.
Palate: tart wild strawberry, citrus fruits, crisp and fresh.  Little twang of mint, lots of mineral and mouthwatering acidity. Great zingy finish.
Price: $25
Pairing: had the first half with sushi and the second half with a Caesar salad!  Easy to drink solo though!!

The Verdict
This is my favorite rose so far in this tasting.  It's so elegant and lean but has so much power and grace behind it.  It's such a pretty balance of floral and herbaceous peppered with delicate peach and strawberry.  If you see this bottle, don't be afraid of it's distinct squat and sloping bottle shape - or it's $25 ish price tag.  Buy it and drink it --- preferably outdoors.  It's irrisistable.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Drinking and Selling Rosé this week in NYC with Glenn Close, Pulenta Estate La Flor Rosé Malbec 2013, Mastroberandino Lacrimarosa, Chateau de Paraza Minervois Rosé, Axel des Vignes Bordeaux Rosé

Vertran NYC sales rep, Steve Pellegrini

OK! Only one Rosé was drunk with Glenn Close, and she was drinking a glass of white wine at the time... at another table... across the room! This week I worked with two superstar wine sales reps in New York City.  We sold a lot of the Rosé that I represent (Pulenta La Flor Malbec Rosé) and we drank a lot of the competition (for research purposes only!!)

 Pulenta Estate La Flor Malbec Rosé 2013
Mendoza, Argentina -- 100% Malbec
This is a non-saignee method rosé made from 100% Malbec grapes from the family owned vineyard of the Pulenta family over in Mendoza, Argentina - grapes were grown specifically for this bottling.  The estate is lovely, the people are lovely, and suprise suprise, the wine is lovely too.  A rich fruit punch hue, strawberry and cranberry on the nose, and mineral and juicy watermelon on the palate along with a dry finish.  It's a great little rosé and you're helping me with every bottle you buy and guzzle. Available by the glass in NYC at Joe Allen, Nelson Blue, Casa Mezcal, and Community Juice.

 Mastroberadino Lacrimarosa 2013
Campania, Italy --100% Aglianico
Glenn Close in Rose friendly plaid (look hard!)
Steve Pellegrini and I drank this at Orso on 46th Street with in swirling and spitting distance from Glenn Close.  It photographs dark, but the color is a rosy pink and the nose was very aromatic and pleasant full of raspberry, blood orange, and plum.  Very drinkable with similar fruit on the palate, pretty acidity, and a respectable finish.  I had this with a Gorgonzola and prosciutto pizza with arugula.  It was perfect. Plus - loved the jug they served the carafe in!  Made me feel like I was in Sorrento!
 Axel des Vignes 2013
Bordeaux, France - Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot blend
Sometimes you get get what you pay for, and in this case an $8.99 rosé tastes just like that... a cheap wine.  The color is gorgeous a medium intense pinky orange.  The nose is even quite pleasantly aromatic with notes of  plum, peach and red fruit.  On the palate, this wine really falls apart.  There is no fruit whatsoever, but I could even excuse that if there was any kind of finish.  It's a boring, vapid wine with bad structure.  Congrats Axel - you get the award for the worst rosé I've tasted so far.  Please proceed to the bottom of the list... fin de queue, pour toi!!

Chateau de Paraza AOC Minervois Rosé 2013
Minervois (Langued'oc) France - 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah
David Burke (the sales rep!) and I had this delicious little sipper with lunch sales call at Harlem's Red Rooster. This is an example of an inexpensive wine that doesn't taste cheap.  Hailing from the heat of the southwest coastal curve of France this has a perfect pale pink color (looks darker in photo).  Aromatic on the nose, spice from the Syrah, plum and red berries from the Grenache.  Palate is simple but has a lot of freshness and fruit.  Finishes dry and is very easy to drink.  It also paired extraordinarily well with Marcus Samuelson's Gravlax and the Lobster Roll!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Liquid Geography Rosado 2013 - Philanthropic Drinking!

I didn't even realize how cool this rosado was until I took a closer look at the label and saw a gold seal stating Muchas Gracias and a little paragraph explaining how 100% of the profits of the rosado go to charity to fund a cure for cancer.

The Grape & Region:
This rosado is 100% Monastrell from the Bullas region in Southeastern Spain.
Monastrell also goes by the name of Mourvedre - super popular in the south of France.  It's a late ripening grape that needs heat and plenty of drinking water.  It's a big boy (or girl) tannic, alcoholic, with intense color (thanks to thick skin) and phenolics.

What? You say, a rosado like this has the feel of a Provencal rosé?  well, you're learning so quickly - yes, many aP rovencal rosé uses this sturdy grape in their blends.

The region of Bullas is almost completely dedicated to Monastrell!  We're talking somewhere in the area of 80%.  That's a lot of percent.  The D.O. (Denominacion Origin) Bulles is for the production of young reds and rosados only.  Sorry white wine.

Also, I love this label and the term Liquid Geography.  I wish I'd coined it.  We in the wine biz are always talking about terroir and a sense of place and how that generally elevates the wine from the vast gallons of plonk.  In this case, this little $12 rosado is telling a story of where it's from.  It's a cool, crisp and refreshing pink drink made from the Bullas region that specializes in this grape and this style of wine.  This is brought to us by the masterminds at Ole imports.  The more I drink from these guys, the more I like them.

The Verdict
A tasty wine that you can feel good about drinking... sign me up.  As with most Spanish wines, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck.  These are old vines they're using, and the wine is just darn tasty.
color: perfect pink
nose: Italian plum, spice, strawberry, cherry, hint of earthiness
palate: nice acidity, lots of minerality and faint strawberry - finishes dry
price: $12.99
pairing: this stood up to spicy BBQ beef brisket.  Yum!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rosé Weekender Edition - Bouquet of 3 Rosés -Hendry Rosé 2013, Eric Kent Rosé 2013, 14-18h Gaia Rosé 2013

label of Eric Kent's Rose
This installment is dedicated to the three rosés I sampled this weekend.  The Hendry Rosé even came out and joined us for Karaoke on Saturday!!

Eric Kent Rosé 2013 
Sonoma Coast, California
(less than 350 cases made)
45% Pinot Noir/ 55% Syrah
 Even though Eric Kent's label was the most eye-catching, I enjoyed this wine the least.  Maybe I had a bad bottle, but I found the alcohol so overwhelming that I couldn't taste anything on the palate.  My friend MariLisa might disagree with me, she seemed to like this more than me, but hubby David and I both felt our tongues burning from alcohol overload!  I would say that in researching Eric Kent for this blog, he seems like a really cool guy, dedicated to promoting interesting artists -- like Yellena  James for this label, and they're a smallish operation.  I would try his other wines for sure.
The color is bright clear red like cherry Kool-ade.  It had some strawberries and cream on the nose, some sweet plum and spice, but truly I just smelled alcohol.  On the palate, there was bitterness and tongue searing heat from alcohol.  I got a hint of fruit and minerality before the burn.
I am always confused why a winemaker would want to marry Pinot Noir and Syrah.  They don't seem compatible - the Syrah would seem to overpower a delicate Pinot Noir.  Then again, I'm no winemaker.

Hendry Rosé 2013 
Napa Valley, California
(less than 700 cases made)
Primitivo/ Cabernet Sauvignon/ Zinfandel (exact percentages not found)
David and I visited Hendry last year when we were in California.  We had a questionable time at the winery - the tour guide/tasting guide was a very technical person and not really a great people person.  However, I really like this all-estate winery and their meticulous attention to detail Their label btw, is really classic, simple, and inviting.
Remember what we were saying about saigneé rosés?  Well this is one of them, it's basically a by-product/ means to get a more concentrated red wine.  I thought that the saigneés would not have as much integrity (and maybe they don't has as much longevity?) but this one was great.  It's a spicy little blend of Zinfandel and Primitivo (related varietals) and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Yes, we took this to karaoke with us, and it held up well to Elvis (see photo below) Neil Diamond, and Cher.
Fresh and vibrant on the nose with notes of watermelon, plum, strawberry, and some almost oaky spice. The wine is close to bone dry, crisp and refreshing.  There is still quite a bit of that fresh juicy fruit on the palate and a pleasing finish.  Very good.  If you see this - definitely pick up a bottle or order some on their website.

Greek Rose I had at Nerai in NYC

Gaia, Agiorgitiko 14-18h Rosé 2013 
Peloponnese, Greece
http://nerainyc.com/  and http://www.gaia-wines.gr/en/products/agiorgitiko-14-18-h
I enjoyed a glass of this at Nerai in midtown NYC pre-karaoke.  It's a chic Greek restaurant whose white stone walls make you feel like you could be if not in Mykonos then at least on vacation!  All of my pictures I took were blurry, so sorry for the stock photo.  This rosé was the most interesting one that I tried - and the cheapest!!
The grape here is Agiorgitiko, a fragrant grape that is the main red grape in Nemea (Peleponnese penninsula).  This wine is named for the time it spends on the skins... somewhere between 14 and 18 hours.  The color on this rosé was also quite dark, and deep pink/purple.  The nose was extrememly fragrant in a unique way.  along with the typical and enjoyable aromas of plum and cherry, there was also a distict herbal note of tarragon and rosemary.  It was very intriquing.  There was a slight bitterness on the palate, not unlike an amaro, followed by the fruit notes of the nose.  Very cool, and quite a bargain for under $20.  Support Greek wines!!!!  They need our help, consumers.

Hendry Rose at Karaoke - Elvis in the background.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pink Perfection - Crossbarn Rosé of Pinot Noir 2013, Sonoma Coast, California

The Crossbarn Pinot Noir Rosé is made by the good people at Paul Hobbs in Sonoma, California. Full disclosure... I work for Paul Hobbs Imports!  However, I can be fairly objective when I say that this rosé is quite delicious and one of my favorite pink drinks! And no, I don't get any commission for any bottles sold.  That being said, I advise you to visit the winery online if you are interested in trying this - it's rare to see in a wine store & they sold out at the winery before the end of last summer.  Just sayin'.  http://store.crossbarnwinery.com/shop.ams?

This rosé is made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes sourced from the Sonoma Coast.  This is a cooler climate area (think rolling fog and chilly ocean breezes) and perfect for this crisp and aromatic style of rosé. The grapes are hand-harvested (best to handle Pinot Noir as gently as possible) and then fermented in stainless steel.

The nose is just stunning -  very aromatic and evolving in the glass quite a bit.  Tons of candied orange rind (the winery tasting notes say tangerine oil - I like that description) along with wild strawberry, white cherry, and a pleasant spicy note.

I've been drinking $10 rosés for these first few days, and with a wine like the Crossbarn Rosé, the benefits of the trade up are really illuminated.  You get a crafted wine, the balance of fruit and acidity is perfect, the nose and palate are much more complex, not just one note, but multi-layered. The palate mirrors the nose, but also has a freshness and minerality that whets the appetite. Yum!  Prepare to be transported to Sonoma wine country!

The Verdict
color: deep ballet slipper pink
nose: strawberry, orange zest
palate: strawberry, watermelon, candied orange rind, minerality
price: $18
pairing: fish tacos, lobster rolls and grilled chicken caesar salad!!
One of my favorite roses. If you live near me, I'm willing to share, but you should probably buy your own!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

South African Sipper - DMZ Cabernet Rosé 2013

Today's exploration in pink takes us to South Africa where I tasted the DMZ Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2013.   I'm on the road this week, so my stemware was actually a plastic cup!   The DMZ rosé is made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon  by the DeMorgenZen winery in Stellenbosch from grapes within the Western Cape. You can see from the map below that it's a fairly large area spanning several wards and regions.  This is not the most terroir specific rosé, but I think it's very interesting and really delivers a punch for hovering around the $10 range.   
Yes, this is an inexpensive rosé, but it's still interesting.  I kept going back to sniff and swirl to try and decipher what I thought I was smelling.  It somehow embodies both the sweet (in the fruity aromas of strawberry) and the savory (cumin spice) and a third characteristic... earth maybe - but really it was more of an asphalt smell - like newly laid asphalt - very tarry.  One might expect this distinct pungency on the nose  from South Africa - and that's not a negative comment (from me anyway).  I find that $10 wines can be boring - this was not the case with DMZ.

The Verdict
color: dark salmon pink
nose: currant, macerated strawberries, hot asphalt after the rain
palate: mouthwatering, bright acidity, more mineral than fruit - some tart redcurrant or cranberry not much
price: $10.99 
pairing: I didn't pair it with anything, but it would be great with some shrimp pad thai... or maybe i'm just hungry.  Drink as an aperetif - like many rosés, but serve some food with it - with all of the zippy acidity can really stand up to proscuitto and other cured meats 'n snausages.