Recap of 2015 Rhone Rangers Part 1 – Seminar Series

I attended the 18th Annual Rhone Rangers Celebration of American Rhone Wines  held March 27th and 28th at the Craneway Pavilion & Conference Center.  I attended the events held at the on March 28th, which featured a  two course Seminar Series and the Grand Tasting.

I’ll cover my experience at the two seminars: “Rosés made from Rhone Varietal Grapes” and “American Rhone Wines: See How They Age” in this post.

I’ll recap the Grand Tasting in a separate post.

Recap of 2015 Rhone Rangers Part 1 - Seminar Series

Clockwise from upper left; Moderator Patrick Comiskey; The many shade of Rhone Rose; Flight #1 of the “American Rhone Wines: See How They Age” seminar; Bob Lindquist talking about the ability of Roussanne to age well

The seminars were moderated by Patrick Comiskey, of Wine & Spirits Magazine. Both seminars featured distinguished panelists interacting with both Patrick and the audience.

While Rose is made all over the world, the Rhone Valley seems to be the home of its heart and soul – Patrick Comiskey

 

Rosés made from Rhone Varietal Grapes

First let me say that if you adore rosé wines, as I do, there are not many better ways to start your day than tasting 8 wonderfully delicious and diverse rosés!

Good rosé must quench the thirst, first of all. Even better, it ought to energize, inspire an appetite and induce the desire for another sip. -Eric Asimov

There was geographic diversity with the wines sourced from fruit from Paso Robles, Monterey County, Contra Costa County, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, El Dorado County, Santa Barbara County and Oregon.  While most of the wines were blends of various Rhone grape varieties, there were a few that were made from a single Rhone grape variety.

The seminar panelists were as diverse as their wines.   While most have been making rosé for decades and before it was “cool”, there were a few who’ve been making rosé a relatively short period of time.

The seminar (and panelists) featured the following rosés

  1. 2014 Anglim Rosé (Steve Anglim)
  2. 2012 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare Reserve (Randall Grahm)
  3. 2013 Cornerstone Cellars Syrah Stepping Stone Corallina Rosé (Craig Camp)
  4. 2014 Field Stone Petite Sirah Rosé Heritage Block (Jason Robinson)
  5. 2013 Kale Wines Rosé (Ranko Anderson)
  6. 2014 Quady North (Herb Quady)
  7. 2014 Sierra Vista Grenache Rosé (John MacCready)
  8. 2014 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé (Larry Schaffer)

Patrick’s first question to the panelist was”Why do you making rose and what are you after when you’re making it?

The answers were interesting.  But essentially, I’d break down the responses into those who make rosé out of passion and those who are capitalizing on the rising popularity of rosé.

It was interesting to note that regardless of the motivation behind the genesis for making rosé, many of the winemakers have evolved over the years (and continue to do so) from making one style of rosé to another.

I started out making rosé for the wrong reasons, luckily I managed to correct that misguided behavior.  I originally started making pink wines as a way of making my red wines darker, more profound, and more critic friendly  This was misguided in retrospect – Randall Grahm

Another aspect of the seminar I found interesting was the distinction being drawn between vin gris (which some rosé are called) and rosé.  Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards, and one of the pioneers of the Rhone movement in California since the late 1980s,  described a “proper vin gris” as the lightest pressings of red grapes made from grapes that are bespoke for the wine, you actually end up making a more subtle, complex, and interesting wine..that intrigues your customer that actually beguiles them and draws them into the wine rather than hits them over the head.  He went on to elaborate about the difference between vin gris and rosé by stating Vin gris and rosé are different. They have different meanings.  Some of it is regional.  Vin gris is a style that typically originates in Provence.  It’s paler in color, lower in alcohol, a little higher in acidity, and not as overtly fruity.

So…Is vin gris about how the wine is produced, or about style? I think for Grahm it’s both.  My sense of it is that most winemakers, nor consumers are not nearly as persnickety about the distinction as Grahm.

As I considered Grahm’s definition of vin gris, and began to think about some of my favorite pink wines,  I realized that most are in fact what Grahm would define as vin gris (though most are not labeled as such). In that sense, the distinction is meaningful for me.

Having said that, I’ve also had some saignée rosé that I enjoyed more than certain vin gris rosé because I found the vin gris too austere for my palate.

Of course,  no seminar with winemakers would be complete with out some geeking out about wine – stuff like terroir, pH, residual sugar, clone selection, rootstock, vineyard slope orientation and the almost obligatory suitcase clone tale complete with the promise of anonymity.

My favorite wines from the tasting were the Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare Reserve, the Sierra Vista Grenache Rosé , and the Tercero Mourvedre Rosé.

As I recollect upon favorites,  which foods I think they’d pair well with comes to mind. The Bonny Doon was so savory, and broad with a great mouth feel. It’s a rosé I’d pair with Oyster Po’Bao, a mash-up of an Oyster Po Boy and a Chinese Bao with pork belly and plum sauce along with the fried oyster. The Sierra Vista on the other hand showcased a combination of red fruit, plenty of spice, a bit of smoke and interesting umami to the party and brought goat cheese mac and cheese to mind.  I loved the roundness, lively red fruit, and spice of the Tercero and would love to have it with Shrimp and Grits!

The seminar was a fantastic showcase for the diversity of Rhone-based rosés.

American Rhone Wines: See How They Age

This seminar featured both new releases and library releases from six wineries, so that one can see how the wines age over time.

The wines were presented in two flights of 3 presenters/6 wines for each flight as follows:

Flight #1

  • 2005 Qupé Marsanne
  • 2013 Qupé Marsanne
  • 2002 Lagier Meredith Syrah
  • 2012 Lagier Meredith Syrah
  • 1998 Domaine de la Terre Rouge Syrah Pyramid Block Sentinel Oak
  • 2008 Domaine de la Terre Rouge Syrah Pyramid Block Sentinel Oak

Flight #2

  • 2003 Silver Wines SyrahTrentotto File
  • 2010 Silver Wines Syrah Trentotto File
  • 2003 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel
  • 2012 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel
  • 2002 Ridge Petite Sirah Lytton Estate
  • 2012 Ridge Petite Sirah Lytton Estate

Before I go any further, I must make a confession…

I had my recorder turned on for the Rosé seminar. But I forgot to turn it on for the Aging seminar until the last couple of wines from Ridge were being discussed.  Therefore, no quotes from the winemakers or detailed notes about their wines.

My excuse?  Well it least it’s a good one…

I was too busy enjoying the outstanding wines presented!

Here what I can tell you. For nearly every wine, I preferred the more mature wine.

My favorites from the tasting were

  • 2005 Qupé Marsanne
  • 1998 Domaine de la Terre Rouge Syrah Pyramid Block Sentinel Oak
  • 2003 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel
  • 2002 Ridge Petite Sirah Lytton Estate

It rare that one gets to taste a library side by side with the new release of the same wine.  I certainly appreciated the opportunity to do so at the seminar.

Now if I only had the discipline to lay down my Rhone wine!  Until then…I need to start asking about library wines!

Coming soon…my recap of the Grand Tasting!

Related posts your might enjoy:

 

 

#DrinkPink Rose of the Week: 2013 Dashe Cellars Grenache Rosé

Summer is officially here!  Rosé season is in full bloom, although truth be told, it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round for me!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders! This week’s rosé is the 2013 Dashe Cellars Grenache Rosé.

The Winery

Dashe Cellars, founded by Michael and Ann Dashe in 1996, is an urban winery located near Jack London Square in Oakland, CA. Michael Dashe is the Winemaker, and Anne Dashe is the General Manager. Between the two, they have 40-plus years experience in the wine business, including experience at some big-time wineries such as Ridge Vineyards, Far Niente, Chappellet, Schramsberg Wine Cellars in California; Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique in France,and Cloudy Bay in New Zealand. The winery produces about 10,000 cases annually.

The Wine

Dashe used to refer to this wine as “Vin Gris”, which is a French expression that translates literally as “grey wine”, and traditionally refers to a wine made from red wine grapes, but with white winemaking practices.  But so many people called it rosé, that Dashe renamed it.  It’s 100% Grenache.

Retail – $16; 13.7% alcohol; 222 cases produced

photo (49)

 My tasting notes follow:

Red color with pleasing strawberry, sour cherry and hint of spice aromas. On the palate it approaches medium-bodied, and is dry with mouth-watering acidity and ripe strawberry, black cherry and peppery spice flavors. Medium finish.  >>Find this wine<<

Rating: B+ This is a delightful, food friendly and pocket-friendly rosé!

Pair with: Hamburgers, or BBQ Chicken!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week; 2013 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé

Rosé season is in full bloom, although truth be told, it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round for me!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders for $20 or less! This week’s rosé is the 2013 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé.

The Winery

Tercero Vineyards is located in Los Olivos, California.  Larry Schaffer is the owner/winemaker.  Schaffer left a successful career in publishing to pursue his dream of becoming a winemaker.  He earned a degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis.  Thereafter he got winemaking career started as an enologist at Fess Parker Winery.  While at Fess Parker he started Tercero.

I first meet Larry a couple of years ago at one of my favorite events - Dark & Delicious. Initially, he caught my attention because he was aerating his wines in Erlenmeyer flasks rather than traditional decanters.  I thought – How cool is that (note to self – buy some lab beakers; they cost less and work as well!)?

I tried his wines, and came away impressed.

Since then, I’ve tasted his wines at a few other events, and I finally had a chance to visit the Tercero tasting room last summer.  I continue to be impressed. The wines all very good to outstanding, and reasonably priced (the reds are $30, the whites are $22!).

On top of that, Larry is hard-working, down-to-earth, passionate, and very affable guy in my book.  And that matters to me.

Tercero Wines offers a range of wines including varietal bottlings of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, a red Rhône blend, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Rosé, and a dry Gewürztraminer. All wines are bottled under screwcap (extra points in my book!) Annual case production is about 1,250 cases.

The wines are worth seeking out, and if you get a chance, I heartily recommend a visit to the winery!

The Wine

The fruit for wine comes from the Vogelzang Vineyard in the Happy Canyon AVA, in the extreme eastern part of the Santa Ynez Valley. The grapes were brought in, foot stomped, and then let sit on the skins for about an hour. They were then dumped into the press and let sit for another hour before starting the pressing process. The juice was then transferred to a stainless steel tank for fermentation. Upon completion, the wine was transferred to older French oak barrels for its 5 month aging process.

13.5% alcohol; Retail – $20 

#DrinkPink Rose of the Week; 2013 Tercero Mourvedre Rose

My tasting notes follow:

Pale salmon color with appealing red fruit, wet stone, and citrus peel aromas with a hint of earthiness. On the palate it’s dry, and fresh and medium-bodied with mouth filling strawberry, watermelon, hints of red currant, subtle spice, and citrus flavors and a nice touch of minerality. Lingering finish. 

Rating: A- This is an outstanding Rosé. Highly Recommended! >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: I paired with this with an impromptu (i.e. leftover;-) surf and turf of grilled salmon and ribeye steak.  What I enjoyed about it is, that it while it paired very well with the grilled salmon, it had enough weight to stand up to the rib-eye such that the two peacefully co-existed.  Try with more substantial foods like grilled,or cedar plank salmonProvençal Vegetable Tart, or Mediterranean Farro Salad.

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week: 2013 Copain Rosé

Rosé season is in full bloom, although truth be told, it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round for me!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders for $20 or less!  This week’s rosé is the 2013 Copain Tous Ensemble Rosé.

The Winery

Copain Winery was founded by winemaker Wells Guthrie in 1999.  According to the Copain website…

Wells Guthrie discovered early on that his taste in wine gravitated toward Europe in general and France’s Rhône Valley in particular. So much so, he picked up and moved with his new bride to the region to learn from the best. For two years, Wells apprenticed for esteemed winemaker and living legend Michel Chapoutier in France’s Rhone Valley. During that time, Wells was deeply inspired by the traditions and practices of French winemaking, not to mention the European attitude that wine is an essential part of life.

Guthrie started the winery with an old friend, and named it Copain, which means ‘friend” in French.

Copain is focused on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir,and Syrah.  They also produce this Rosé, and an interesting, food friendly and outstanding wine named “P2″ which is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. They offer three lines of wines, the entry-level “Tous Ensembles”, mid-level “Les Voisins”, and their top of the line “Single Vineyard” Wines.

The Wine

The fruit for this Pinot Noir-based Rosé is sourced from the cool-climate Anderson Valley.  I generally prefer Rosé made from Rhone grape varieties, but this wine has been a repeat purchase for me over the years.  It’s shows more finesse than most Rhone based rosé.  It doesn’t reveal it’s charms as quickly as many rosés, but with a bit of time in the glass it reveals a moderate complexity. It’s certainly worth the wait!

100% Pinot Noir | 12.7% alcohol| Retail – $20 (I purchased for $17)

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week; 2013 Copain Tous Ensemble Rosé

My tasting notes follow:

Pale pink with salmon highlights and aromatic cherry, watermelon, and dried rose aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied with a supple texture, vibrant acidity and cherry, raspberry, watermelon, blood orange and mineral flavors. Lingering finish. 

Rating: A-: A perennial favorite that always delivers!  >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: This is a light-bodied wine, pair with lighter warm weather fare such as light salads, light pasta and rice dishes, and raw or lightly cooked shellfish, grilled fish and goats’ cheeses.

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

#DrinkPink; 2013 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé

Rosé season is in full bloom, although truth be told, it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round for me!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders for $20 or less!  This week’s Rosé is the 2013 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé.

The Winery

Tablas Creek Vineyard (“TCV”) is probably the best-known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines.  It is a partnership between Robert Haas, and the Perrin Family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region in FranceWhat I find interesting about TCV is that they specifically chose to establish themselves in Paso Robles because of the similarities of the soil conditions and climate of Paso Robles to Chateauneuf du Pape.  They went as far as to import vines from Chateauneuf du Pape.  The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre organic vineyard.  Check the full story here.

The Wine

Tablas Creek (“TCV”) is no newcomer to Rosé.  Unlike many relative newcomers who have hopped aboard the dry Rosé bandwagon as of late, TCV has been producing a Rosé since 1999. And that’s no surprise given their association with Chateau de Beaucastel in the Southern Rhone region in France – the spiritual home of Rosé.

Like most rosé wines from the Rhône Valley, it is based on the bright strawberry fruit and fresh acidity of Grenache, with additions of darker fruit, structure and spice from Mourvèdre and Counoise.

As they did last year, Tablas Creek produced two Rosés for 2013.  This bottling is part of their excellent value-oriented Patelin de Tablas line, which also includes white and red Rhone blends.

This year, it’s a blend of 73% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 5% Counoise sourced from seven top Rhône vineyards in Paso Robles.

Retail – $20; 14.1% alcohol; 1540 Cases Produced

photo (37)

My tasting notes follow:

Pale pink color with strawberry, cherry, dried rose aromas. On the palate it approached medium-bodied, and is fresh with strawberry, cherry, and spiced citrus flavors underscored with a bit of minerality. Lingering finish. 14% alcohol. 

Rating:  A-A perennial favorite that’s on the verge of excellence, and continues to deliver! Will buy more!

Pair with: Charcuterie, pâté, salade niçoise, Andalusian Gazpacho, sausages or Barbeque Chicken Tikka Kebabs.

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week; 2013 Bedrock “Ode to Lulu” Rosé

Rosé is in full bloom, although truth be told, it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round for me!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders $20 or less!  This week’s Rosé is the 2013 Bedrock Wine Company “Ode to Lulu” Old Vine Rosé.

The Winery

Bedrock Wine Co. was founded in 2007 by Morgan Twain-Peterson in a 550 square-foot, former chicken coop with 8 foot ceilings and no fermentation space. After six years of Bedrock being a one-man-show, last year Morgan was able to talk his best friend, Chris Cottrell, into moving to California from New York to join him.  With completion of construction of their new winemaking facility they now happily have a little more space to move around. As for that converted chicken coop?  Well, the wine tasting “room” is still there! According to Bedrock their objectives are:

  • To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.
  • To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the North Coast.
  • To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.
  • To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.
  • To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.
  • To dream big but keep production low!

There are two things that make Bedrock Wine Co. special in my view – the first is Morgan (you can check out his full bio here), but suffice it to say he’s been making wine since he was “knee-high to a bug” including working harvests in McLaren Vale, Australia and worked as a visiting winemaker at Chateau Lynch-Bages in Bordeaux before returning to California to focus on revitalizing California’s heirloom vineyards. He was recently named one of the Top 100 Most Influential U.S. Winemakers. The second is his vineyard sources. My post entitled Bedrock Wine Co: Where Old Vine Love And Transcendent Wine Making Come Together, focuses on the some of the sources of Bedrock’s fruit. Morgan and Chris have also been working on a sparkling wine project called Under the Wire.  It’s unique single-vineyard, single-vintage approach to producing sparkling wines (read more here)

The Wine

This is a Bandol style rosé made mostly from Mourvedre, about two-thirds from the 120 year-old Mourvedre vines in Bedrock Vineyard and one-fourth from Mourvedre planted in the Pagani Ranch in 1922.  The rest of this harmonious blend of grapes is from dry-farmed Grenache Gris planted in the 1880’s at Gibson Ranch in McDowell Valley and Carignane planted in the 1950’s from Ukiah.

The fruit was harvested early to retain their natural acidity and resulted in a wine  with a modest alcohol of 12.3%.

It seems as the prices of dry rosé has increased along with their popularity. I’m delighted that Bedrock continues to prices this at under $20.  I’m finding that most comparable rosé – quality wise are priced above $20.

Heartily recommended.  Grab some!

Drink Pink Rose of the Week; 2013 Bedrock Ode To Lulu Old Vine Rose

My tasting notes follow:

Orange tinged medium-pink color with lifted wild red strawberry, cherry, chalk, white pepper and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, medium-bodied and fresh with wild strawberry, sour cherry, a bit of raspberry, and spice flavors underscored with an appealing minerality. Clean, lingering finish. >>Find this wine<<

Rating:  A-: An excellent rose that offers great value at around $20!

Pair with:  This wine is very food-friendly.  Pair with grilled vegetables, charcuterie, grilled tuna or paella

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week: 2013 Charles & Charles Syrah Rosé

It’s April and for me that means, it’s the unofficial opening of Rosé season (truth be told it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round)!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders $20 or less!  This week’s Rosé is the 2013 Charles & Charles Syrah Rosé.

The Winery

This wine is the result of a collaboration founded in 2008 between Food & Wine Magazine 2009 Winemaker of the year, Charles Smith (K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines) and  Charles Bieler of Three Thieves, Bieler Père et Fils, and Sombra Mezcal.. Their portfolio includes three wines, a Chardonnay, a red blend, and this Rosé, and a red blend, all sourced various vineyard throughout Washington State.

The Wine

Most Rhone based Rose blends are dominated by Grenache.   It’s good to see one where Syrah is the predominant grape in the blend. I think Syrah adds more depth to the body than  this wine than a Grenache dominant blend, along with more acidity and a mineral element.

The fruit was sourced from Columbia Valley vineyards, is a blend of 86% Syrah, 6% Cinsault, 4% Grenache, 2% Counoise, and 2% Mourvedre.  12.8% alcohol.  Retail – $13

photo (65)

My tasting notes follow:

Pink color with raspberry, strawberry, and crushed rock aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, dry and fresh lively mixed red fruits – raspberry, strawberry, cherry, and red currant with a pronounced minerality. Medium finish. 

Rating:  B+: This is a rose I could buy every yet. No. Wait. I have purchased it every year for the last couple of years! Eminently quaffable on its own, this is a Rosé whose personality comes alive with food for me. >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: It was fabulous paired with Veracruz-Style Tilapia - a spicy  tomato based sauce flavored fish with onions, red pepper, olives and capers. I’d also consider pairing with grilled or planked salmon, halibut, or paiche.

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

 

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week; 2012 Prieuré de Montézargues Tavel Rosé

It’s April and for me that means, it’s the unofficial opening of Rosé season (truth be told it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round)!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders $20 or less!  This week’s Rosé is the 2012 Prieuré de Montézargues Tavel Rosé.

The Winery

Prieuré de Montézargues, located near the village of Tavel in the eponymous  AOC, has a rich history dating back to ancient Roman times.  It is sheltered by a forest of oaks, Scots pine and hundred year-old strawberry trees, while also being protected from the strong, cold and northwesterly wind  that blows through Southern France, known as the Mistral, by the Montagne Noire (“Black Mountain”).  Grapes in the 33 hectare vineyard are planted on sandy slopes that run down to Pujaut Pond. Eight grape varieties flourish in the Provencal sunshine: Grenache Noir, and Grenache Blanc, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Clairette and Bourboulenc  It is owned by the renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate Château La Nerthel.

The Tavel AOC is across the Rhône River from Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC, and is unique in its specialization of dry Rosé wine.  It’s been my experience that the Rosés from Travel tend to be a bit more robust than its many of its other French cousins.

The Wine

First, I want to dispel a myth about Rosé.  I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve heard that a Rosé must be consumed within a year of vintage.  That’s simply not true for a quality Rosé such as this.  Granted they’re not intended to lay down for years.  On the other hand, you’ll find it will still represent itself well within a year or two of the vintage date.

This one is a blend of 55% Grenache Noir and Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 13% Clairette, and 2% Other (Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan, Bourboulenc).

2012 Prieuré de Montézargues Tavel Rosé

2012 Prieuré de Montézargues Tavel Rosé

My tasting notes follow:

Light red color with fruity cherry, strawberry, and a hint of Herbes de Provence aromas. On the palate it’s pleasingly medium-bodied, with solid acidity.  It shows ample red fruits on entry, but is drier on the back palate with cherry, and peach flavors underscored by an appealing minerality.  Medium finish.13.5% alcohol.   Imported by Pasternak Wines. 5,800 cases produced;  Retail – $18

Rating:  B+:  I have to admit I prefer my Rosé a bit drier, but this is a great example of a more robust fruit forward style of Rosé and it’s just damned tasty!

Pair with: Since this wine is a bit more robust, consider pairing with Salad Nicoise, Chicken Teriyaki, grilled poultry, pulled pork sandwiches, or moderately spicy curry dishes.

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week: 2012 Domaine de la Mordorée Rosé La Dame Rousse

Yes, it’s still that time of year… Yes, it’s Rosé season (which is year-round in my book; granted most folks don’t see it that way)!. With that in mind, I’ve embarked upon a series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  This week’s Rosé is the 2012 Domaine de la Modorée La Dame Rousse Tavel Rosé.

The Winery

Domaine de la Mordorée is a relatively new winery in Chateauneuf-de-Pape.  It was founded in 1986 by brothers Fabrice and Christophe Delorme with a total of 5 hectares of vines.  By 1989, the industrious brothers had expanded the holdings of Domaine de la Mordoree to 60 hectares located in 8 different regions in the Southern Rhone valley.  The Domaine is ideally located at the crossroads of Provence and Languedoc. And they have a reputation for producing some great wine from their vineyard across the Rhone Valley including Châteauneuf du Pape, Lirac, andTavel.  The winery takes its name from a wild game bird, known as a woodcock, hence the logo on the wine bottle’s label.

Christophe Delorme’s objective as a winemaker is to be unintrusive and maintain total respect for his terroir and the fruit it produces. His dream is to achieve a perfect balance between concentration, terroir and flavors. Delorme seems to be moving in the direction of biodynamic farming. He represents the best of an enlightened approach to winemaking that has one foot in the traditions of the past and one in the future.
- Robert Parker, The World’s Greatest Wine Estates

Domaine de la Mordoree practices sustainable, organic farming of their vineyards in all their locations including Chateauneuf du Pape, Lirac, Tavel and Cotes du Rhone. They are working on earning the rights to be certified agriculture biologique. They have old vines. On their property in the rocky terroir of La Crau, their plantings are over 100 years of age.  The wines are aged in a combination of enamel coated, temperature, stainless steel tanks and small oak barrels.

 The Wine

Sad, but true, this was only my second rosé from France this summer (the other was from Provence)!  Candidly, with the popularity of dry rosé on the rise, I’m finding Cali producers have upped their game.  On top of that,  2012 was a great vintage, and I think that’s manifest in the across the board quality of California rosés  I’ve enjoyed this Summer!

Having said that, one the whole, no one does rosé better than the French.  The two most renowned areas for rosé production in France are Provence and Tavel.

This wine is from Tavel, an appellation in the southern Rhone Valley that specializes in dry rosé wines.  Tavel is a little pocket in the Côtes du Rhône about 20 minutes northeast of the city of Avignon.  Tavel has a reputation for producing rosé that is fruity and fun, As opposed to Provence (in particular Bandol) which has a reputation for producing more serious rosé.

The vineyards that produced this wine average 40 years in age.  The grapes are hand-harvested.  It is a blend of 60% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Bourboulenc, 5% Clairette. 14.5% abv.  SRP is $25

2012 Domaine de la Mordorée Rosé La Dame Rousse

2012 Domaine de la Mordorée Rosé La Dame Rousse

My tasting note follows:

Strawberry red color with a wonderful orange hue with fresh wild strawberry, cherry citrus, and a hint of fresh herbs aromas. On the palate, it medium-full bodied and sophisticated with a creamy mouth feel, lively acidity, and intense strawberry, cherry spice and blood orange flavors. Long spicy finish. 

Rating:  A-This wine manages to walk the line between serious and “fun” just fine!

Pair with: This is an ideal picnic wine.  It’s a great partner for food, and has the body to go with a variety of foods.  Pair with grilled meat, deli sandwiches, light pasta dishes, pizza.  For a real treat pair with Consommé of mussels and prawns in Tavel Sauce.

>>Find this wine<<

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff!

Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All right

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week: 2012 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé

It’s that time of year… Yes, it’s Rosé season!. With that in mind, I’ve embarked upon a series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  This week’s Rosé is the 2012 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé.

The Winery 

Château Miraval, whose history dates back to the 14th Century is mostly known these days as the summer residence of Angelina Jolie and Brad PItt .  Prior to Brangelina’s purchase, Chateau Miraval was best known for its outstanding rosé called “Pink Floyd.” an Internationally applauded Rosé renown for its light, flinty and quite unique flavors,

The estate, which consists of 500 hectares in the heart of Provence, is cultivated 100% organically, In fact, Chateau Miraval is located in Correns, the first organic village in France.

The Wine

2012 was the first Chateau Miraval vintage stamped by the Hollywood couple, in a joint venture with established vintner Marc Perrin, of the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel.  The back label reads “bottled by Jolie-Pitt and Perrin.”  The first 6,000-bottle run sold out within five hours.  Ultimately, 15,000 cases of this blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Rolle (Vermentino) were imported.

The packaging is certainly upscale. The wine is basically in a Champagne bottle.  A nuisance for your wine rack for sure, but appealing nonetheless.  

2012 Miraval Rose

2012 Miraval Rose

My tasting notes follow:

Watermelon pink color with a hint of copper hues and fresh strawberry, dried rose, and wet stone aromas. On the palate, it’s fresh and approaching medium-bodied with strawberry, watermelon and hints of stone fruit flavors. Moderately complex. 13% alcohol SRP-$24  >Find this wine<

Rating:  B+: Bravo…Seriously good Rosé that lives up to the Provençal tradition for fine pink wines!

Pair with: This wine has the stuff to work well as both an aperitif and with food.  Pair with a Green Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese, tuna tartare, or a Niçoise salad.

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff!

Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved