Posts Tagged ‘rosé’

Summer 2010 brings a 3rd medaille de Mumu, and the award goes to..Château Miraval’s Pink Floyd!

Winery:  Château Miraval

Wine Name:  Pink Floyd

Vintage: 2009

Composition: old vine Cinsault and Grenache

Style: Rosé 

Country: France

Region: Côtes de Provence

Alcohol: 13.5 %

US Importer: Various in California Premier Wines

US Retail: $16-18

Food: Rosemary roasted chicken, roast beef sandwiches with aioli, fennel stuffed grilled snapper, olives and cheese, brandade with crackers, ratatouille with couscous..


Château Miraval’s “Pink Floyd” Rosé is composed of organically grown cinsault and Grenache grapes grown on the clay/limestone soils of the domaine. These old vines are hand harvested at yields averaging 30hl/ha, and quickly transported to the cellar in small containers or cagettes.

 Miraval’s Pink Floyd rosé is produced via the saignée method, whereby red grapes, either crushed or uncrushed but broken (preferable), are chilled down and allowed to macerate anywhere between several hours (in the case of the Pink Floyd) to several days. The juice will then be drawn off or drained, and without being pressed.

Fermentation then takes place over the course of approximately 21 days at around 16 degrees Celsius. A long cool fermentation encourages the development of more delicate and fruity esters, which are important characteristics in a high quality rosé wine. The finished wine undergoes a light filtration before bottling.

I have already professed to you all my love of rosé. That being said, it should come as no surprise that I taste and imbibe probably more than my fair share. However my affinity for the pink in no way clouds my judgment on the quality and balance of a particular wine. I am very discerning when it comes to drinking and recommending the stuff.

Château Miraval’s 2009 “Pink Floyd” is for me a most quintessential rosé from the south of France. If you’ve never tried a rosé from Provence,this is a great place to start. If you are already a connoisseur of pink wines, or a foodie looking for the perfect wine to pair with just about anything Provencal, then this is your wine!

 Think light, bright, delicate..dry and crisp, with just enough subtle fruit nuances of wild strawberries, pink lady apple and fresh mint leaves. Producing a rosé that deftly balances lively but delicate fruit, good acidity and a snappy mouthfeel is no easy feat. Château Miraval gets the balance just right on this one.

NEXT: Oregon Pinot Camp 2010  Go….OPC!


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drapeau tricolore


..enjoying this important French holiday with a crisp and vibrant glass of 2009 Domaine Sorin Terra Amata Côtes de Provence rosé.

Vive la France!

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Txicken and Txakoli..

Ameztoi’s “Rubentis” rosado is one of my favorite things about the arrival of summer. Spritzy, (yes that’s right it’s supposed to be that way) delicate and with just a whiff of wild strawberry, the Rubentis is so easy and fun to drink that I really have to pace myself. I usually stock up with a 6 pack or so of this allocated wine and try to share/introduce it to any and all of my friends throughout the summer.

Summertime treats..

Not too long ago, I cracked open a bottle of Rubentis for several willing participants as we sat down to lunch together. Right up the street from my place, Bakesale Betty’s makes one of the most amazing fried chicken sandwiches ever. On this day, I decided to forgo the bun, and instead double up on the terrific coleslaw that they make. So good! However like the Rubentis, I need to make sure that I pace myself with this fried chicken treat.

A foamy pink from Basque country


Wine/Producer:  Ameztoi

Composition: 50% Hondarribi Beltza, 50% Hondarribi Zuri

Vintage: 2009

Country: Spain (Northwest)

Region: Pais Vasco (Basque Country)

Sub-Region/D.O. : Getariako Txakolina

Geology/Soil: Sand / Clay / Chalk

Alcohol: 11%

Importer: various

US Retail: $19

Ameztoi is one of the premier domains in the Basque region of Getariako, Txakolina. Seventh generation winemaker Ignacio Ameztoi manages 20 hectares of vines on predominantly chalky, sandy soils just a hop, skip and a jump away from the very Basque town of San Sebastian. The strong, cooling influence of the Atlantic Ocean facilitates a style of most famously white wine that  is light, bright, and low alcohol. A modest amount of rosado is made, along with small amounts of red as well.

The principal grapes grown here (and what you’ll find in the Rubentis) are Hondarribi Beltza and Hondarribi Zuri. Traditionally the wines were fermented in large, old wood, however nowadays modern stainless steel is utilized for the vinification. The wines are then bottled with residual CO2, hence that light spritz and tickle on the tongue that make these Txakoli wines so fun.

Admittedly, a fried chicken salad is not a classic food wine pairing for Txakoli/na.

I might otherwise suggest: fried smelts (fries with eyes) salty marcona almonds, olives, brandade (afterall it was the Basque fisherman who introduced Europe to cod), jamon..in a pickle even potato chips! Txakolina has such high acidity and lip smacking freshness that it will temper any salty or fatty elements.

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Chinon (cabernet franc) rosé from Couly-Dutheil

So many rosé wines, and so little time!  What does a lighter hue indicate? And what will that darker colored pink wine taste like? Making a fruity but balanced pink wine is no easy feat. In fact, many a winemaker will tell you that making rosé is more challenging than vinifying red or white wine.

The fruit, acid, alcohol balance of  rosé balances on a tightrope, and too much of any one component, leaves what should otherwise be a fresh, crisp and vibrant wine flat on its tuckus. Producing the perfect pink wine is not just a matter of mixing red and white grape juice…

a plethora of pink ..thanks to VARNA


..so HOW IS A rosé WINE MADE?


Rose wines are produced in the following 5 ways:

 1. White and red wines are blended together in order to achieve a desired level of pink or blush tint. This method is commonly used in the production of rosé Champagne as well as high quality sparkling wines. It is rarely utilized in the production of quality still rosé wines.

 2. Red grapes, either crushed or uncrushed but broken (preferable), are chilled down and allowed to macerate for 1-4 days. The juice will will then be drawn off or drained, and without being pressed. The drawn juice will then be fermented using cooler temperatures similar to  the fermentation procedure for a crisp white wine. This process is known as a “bleed” or “saignée” in French.

 3. Whole bunches of red grapes are pressed within 12-16 hours of harvest. This very lightly colored juice is then fermented at cool temperatures similar to that of a crisp, bright white wine. Very pale and delicate, this type of pink wine is often known as a Vin Gris. If left a bit longer, a darker hue will result, however never generally as dark as a rose made with the saignée method.

 4. Crushed red grapes and juice are mixed and fermented together for 1-3 days before the juice is run off. A traditional, albeit decreasingly utilized method.

 5. Red wine undergoes extensive fining to remove tannins. Color is stripped by treatment with active carbon. Utilized in the production of mass produced, poor quality and tasteless wine. To be avoided.

Strawberry inflected pink wines..GOOD!

* Although some rosés undergo malolactic fermentation, in general most do not, as a crisp and more vibrant mouthfeel and texture is desired. 
 * Oak ageing is utilized in some cases, although the majority of rosés out in the market undergo a relatively short elevage (3-6 months) in an stainless steel. If oak ageing is employed, it is almost without exception aged in older, neutral barrels so as not to interfere with or overwhelm the inherent fruity qualitites of the wine. An example of this style is Muga’s Rosado from Rioja.


Next: Bakesale Betty’s and a Rosé from the Basque country!

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Bip and Bandol (rosé)

Bip's Tapenade

For me, one of the most satisfying  food/wine pairings is a glass of Bandol rosé and tapenade. This olive based gourmet condiment from the south of France is extremely easy to prepare, and can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways. My good friend Elisabeth (Bip) Schriber has her own, super tasty version that I whip up whenever a Provencal dinner party is in the works:

Tapenade before..


Idée de recette –BIP’S TAPENADE


1.5 cups pitted nicoise olives

 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped or pressed)

 2 tsp salted capers (rinsed)

 2 anchovy fillets

 1 inch strip of orange zest

 1 tsp of cognac (or other brandy)

 4 Tbs olive oil

 1 Tbs unsalted butter

 sea salt / black pepper

Pit the olives. This is somewhat tedious and time consuming, however if you crack open your bottle of rose and begin sipping, it helps facilitate the process immensely. Disclaimer: I used half nicoise and half kalamata for this latest version. Because the Kalamata were less salty, I also used salted butter.

 Next, combine all ingredients in a food processor. Alternatively, you can achieve the same result with a morter and pestle if you like to do things the old school (and hard) way. Puree/ Grind until you reach the desired texture. Tightly covered with saran wrap, your tapenade will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Slice baguette, rub with garlic, then  toast. Spread tapenade on each slice, then  enjoy. Tapenade can also be slathered on grilled meats, or served alongside roasted vegees.  However, one must enjoy with a swig of dry and fruity rosé like the following..

Bandol rosé from Domaine du Gros' Noré

A  rosé  from the Provencal appellation of Bandol is a great choice to serve alongside your housemade tapenade. Right now I am really liking the 2009 from Domaine du Gros’ Noré. Composed of 40% Mourvedre, 40% Cinssault and 20% Grenache, this classic example is crisp and dry, yet exhibits a creamy midpalate richness which really kicks it up a notch.

Incidently, drinking Bandol rosé should not stop at just tapenade. This substantial pink wine can carry you through an entire meal. Grilled snapper? Ratatouille? Gigot d’agneau? Roast Pork?

Absolument un rosé!

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La Vie en Rosé

Pinot Noir rosé from the Willamette Valley, Oregon

Summer is finally here in northern California! After a cool and very rainy first half of 2010, I am really ready for some warm weather and sun. The change of season also coincides with the arrival of one of my favorite styles of wine. Rosé! For  so many years pink wine has gotten a bad rap. Many folks, avid wine drinkers included, dismissed blush wine as a sweet, syrupy drink that tasted somewhat like cherry 7-up gone flat.

However the truth is that a good, well-balanced rosé is one of the most versatile wines out there. What constitutes “good”? I’ll keep this simple. Crunchy red berry fruits like wild strawberry, watermelon,rose petals..pomegranate, fresh herbs..can you dig it?

enjoying a nice glass of rosé in Orange, France

This season, there is a rosé out there for every meal and occasion. If I am having say, crudité and house made aioli, I will definitely crack open a juicy blush from the Langudeoc. What to pair with my grilled ahi tuna and tapenade? Sign me up for a deeper pink wine from Tavel.

What about more substantial dishes like fennel roasted pork loin? I will definitely reach for a grand Bandol rosé from Provence. And I haven’t even gotten to pinks from Spain, Greece or Australia! The food-pink wine pairing options are virtually limitless..

Around the world..one rosé at a time


Delicious, seasonal and a whole lot of fun.. my next few posts will be devoted to rosé!

Next: Bip’s tapenade and Domaine Faverot from the Côtes du Luberon..

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I interrupt my regularly scheduled HdR programming to let you all know that spring has officially sprung!

spring..snap peas..

Yes, indeed I believe that the winter rains are behind us once and for all. Here in the Bay Area, or Oakland, Ca to be more precise, everything’s a bloomin! Red, orange, green, violet..morning walks in my “urban” neighborhood of Temescal are a veritable riot of colors.

Right up the street from my pad is the Temescal Farmer’s Market. Every Sunday, some of the best produce to be found in these parts makes its way to this fun and low key foodie shopping mecca.

My good friends Kristen and Matthew visit the market just about every weekend. This past week they returned clammering about the unbelievably gorgeous snap peas to be found at our marche.

A perfect pea "10"

From the looks of this picture,  I believe that they are right! I think that I’ve mentioned before that I am fortunate to a) have great friends and b) have great friends who are excellent in the kitchen.

Matthew and Kristen fall squarely within this camp..so the other night when they invited me over to their pad for an impromtu dinner without hesitation I yelped..yes!

2003 Marguet Grand Cru Rosé Champagne

We started off the evening with a Champagne toast! I brought over a bottle of one of my current favorites..this vintage Grand Cru Rosé Champagne from the warm (but juicy) 2003 vintage. This spicy rosé is made using both the saignée method as well as by the addition of still pinot noir wine. All of the fruit is from the Grand Cru villages of Ambonnay and Bouzy.

2009 Berger Gruner Veltliner 1.0L

While shucking our peas, we also sipped on this delicious and sprightly Austrian Gruner Veltliner. If there was ever a quintessential “spring” wine, I believe that a Gru Ve like the Berger would be it. Super fresh, crisp..redolent of green apples, snap peas and fresh herbs..it is absolutely delicious!

A Oaxacan inspired Brisket..

While Kristen and I shucked, Matthew pulled out this beautifully prepared beef brisket, complete with a flavorful salsa of tomatoes, herbs, spices, and spring onions..

Still life with Brisket..

Now a bit more Champagne (the juicy pinot fruit goes so well with the spicy salsa) while the meat is sliced and plated..also while those gorgeous peas get just a flash of heat before hittng our dinner plates..

Dinner is served!

The beautifully tender and flavorful brisked was served along side roasted potatos and our green snappy peas. What to pair with this delicious course? A 1998 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Matthew’s cellar!

Thank you KT and MP for such a fabulous Spring dinner!

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