Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Me, Myself and Irene and Eight Rosés

Rosé, you say?  Hell yeah I say! Coming off a 20-year stint in San Diego I can honestly say rosé imbibing is alive and well on the west coast.  But the east coast?

A couple months back I received an email newsletter from the  Blue Talon Bistro in Colonial Williamsburg touting that they were sporting a huge list of rosés by the glass.  Well, as you can imagine, I sauntered over to find out just exactly what they were sporting.  I contacted Adam Steely, Owner, General Manager and wine buyer for the Bistro and mentioned I"d love to try some rosés.  I don't think I finished typing the message and he answered!  (Not because I command attention, he's just an exceptionally nice guy and genuinely passionate about wine.)

Adam Steely, Blue Talon Bistro
So this past Friday, just before the hurricane mind you, with notebook and phone camera in hand my mouth began to water at the mystery of what I'd be tasting.  And of course Adam was there to greet me, he sat me down at the bar and poured me 4 of 8 rosés.  What's so endearing about Blue Talon is that they make their customers feel welcome, always.  I've eaten there several times, from brunch to half-price wine night Tuesday to lunch and I"ve always had a wonderful time.  Nothing is ever perfect, but the funny thing about perfect is that it doesn't exist.  And that's why I like the Bistro:  good people, good food, better wines, always a good time--and that is true life experience.  

2010 Rosé me:
Vina Altaba Bobal, Manchuela SpainStrange fact about the bobal grape is that it carries the same genetics as tempranillo, garnacha and mourvedre--all fine wine varieties but it doesn't seem to carry the same weight.  Sure, it can be fickle, and it requires super hot conditions to properly grow and the best wines come from 40 year old wines, but its ageing potential is phenomenal and it contains higher than average quantities of resveratrol. Good news for me--I loved this rosé!  Right away on the nose is biscuits and dried earth, then rose petals flutter around.  And on the palate it's the same, with puckery, slightly just-before-ripe strawberries and finishes with that earthly rose petal velvetiness.  Drink more bobal!!!

Chateau Grande Cassagne Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Costieres de Nimes FranceThe Darde Brothers do it once again near the village of St. Gilles in the Rhone Valley.  Always a structured wine, full of lemon-lime zippy acidity coupled with delicate notes of strawberries and Rainier cherries. This is a big winner in San Diego.

Quo Grenache, Campo de Borja SpainWinemaker Roberto Perez Martinez is making exceptional wines in The Ebro River Valley on the eastern side of Spain.  With vines at an elevation of 1000 - 2000 feet and hand-picked grapes, this wine is a must-try! Extremely fruity and "sweet" nose with hints of cherry and cranberry and the mouthfeel follows with a hint of tannin, revealing a bigger wine than I thought it would be.  Interesting label art as well.
Bender Zweigelt, Pfalz GermanyIn the wine world, Andreas Bender is a young'n--born in 1980, what he lacks in years he more than makes up for in his modern wine philosophies.  He grew up among the vines in his Father's vineyards in Mosel, Germany, but young Andreas wanted something more, and styles himself as a "maverick" winemaker. His rosé is a testament to that thinking with its gorgeous salmon-colour and nose of fresh garlic--woops, the gentlemen seated next to me ordered mussels robed in garlic, shallots and white wine and the scent is heady! I'm still saying young garlic, but then ripe strawberry appears.  Quite acidic and racy but incredibly delicious with a long finish. A young winemaker to watch.

Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Syrah, Grenache, Vin de Pays de l'Herault Languedoc
I must admit, this has always been a favourite of mine.  The Moulin line is actually a second label of the Mas de Daumas winery, under the ever-wondrous Guibert family.  They wanted to produce fun, inviting wines that pay tribute to the surrounding rocky, hilly countryside so they paired up with a co-op in the coastal town of Sete.  Right away notes of ginger and liquorice explode from the glass, then I always get a bit of pasta water from the Guilhem, a distinct marker for me.  Acid is apparent but not too in-your-face and this rosé finishes long with a candy twinge--fun!

Laurent Miquel Cinsault, Syrah, LanguedocThe Miquel family has been working the vines in the Languedoc hills for over 8 centuries!  Ponder that for a moment won't ya.  So, I suppose they'd better be doing something right.  Hello!!!! Bright, rosey pink colour that is just a blast to swirl.  It's spice city here, and with the last remnants of the garlic-shallot mussels to my right the scents are powerful.  Strawberry and cherry pop out with hints of dry stone minerals.  A long finish completes this beautiful wine.

Chateau de la Selve Maguelonne Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Coteaux de l’Ardèche I recently found their website and it's killer! All sorts of information regarding soil composition and what varietals grow best on which vineyard site--tells you the background information for what you're experiencing in the wine.  Delicate asian apple, strawberry, and a little bit of white flowers.  Finishes beautifully with a punch of minerality. 

Famille Bougrier, Caves de L'Angevine d'Anjou Gamay noir, Cabernet Franc, Grolleau, Loire ValleyI am not a fan of slightly sweet rosé--or I thought I wasn't.  This wine threw me and I wasn't expecting it and it felt good!  Of all the rosés, it had the most intriguing nose.  It came off gritty, dusty, with large stones mixed in for good measure.  And I thought, "hey, this is going to wow me."  The wine hit my palate and I was totally floored:  slightly sweet, slightly tart strawberry/raspberry jolly rancher!  Not what I was expecting and yet I'm so happy I tried it.  I might not have if I was told it had a touch of sweetness.

And that's why it's important to find a place in your neighborhood where you go and partake of a delicious meal, surrounded by individuals who you trust and who know the value of community, good food and good wine.  Big thanks to Adam Steely of Blue Talon Bistro and his lovely staff for a fantastic and eye-opening rosé  flight tasting.

It's not too late, get out there and bid a fond adieu to Summer with a few gorgeous rosés!


1 comment:

  1. I'm blushing. You can't see me, but it's true. Glad you had a good time!