Archive for Rose

Not all pink wines are created the same or of equal quality so, there are some good and some not so good. Summer is time for delicious, food friendly pink wines and here are four from around the Mediterranean basin which we feel are well worth checking out! Produced from different grape varieties, grown in different terroirs and microclimates and each are so unique AND really good

2018 Encostas do Lima Vinho Verde Rosé–A bright eyed and bushy tailed Pinkster from Portugal.  “Vinho Verde country is located in northeastern Portugal and is the largest demarcated wine region in Portugal. Soils are poor with an underlying granite base. The 2018 is 75 % Souazao (a local Port grape), 15 % Borracal (also known as Caiño Tinto), and 10 % Espadeiro (Galician Grape type used for rose wine production, specifically)”.

2018 Clos La Coutale Malbec RoséCahors is a wine appellation in southwest France, which hasn’t changed much in appearance over the years.  “Amidst dramatic rock formations and cliffs, the Lot River slowly snakes its way along the valley floor, coiling covetously around the charming town of Cahors. Cahors is also the birthplace of Cot, the grape more commonly known as Malbec. The Bernède family is an intricate part of this tradition, watching over one of the region’s oldest domaines that was founded before the French Revolution”.  This is the first time we have purchased this wine. It’s time has finally come. 100% Malbec, wild yeast fermented and aged in stainless steel for one month on its fine lees. We love its masculinity, earthy, savory pungency and how delicious it still is.

 2018 Maestracci Corse Calvi Rosé “E Prove”–Our wine yoda, Bruce Neyers vehemently recommended to make this stop, not only for the wines, but to walk vineyards and talk story with Camille-Anaïs Raoust, the daughter and winemaker of the estate. He feels she will be an intregal force within the wine scene of Corsica moving forward. Eventhough it was winemaking showtime, having just finished up with harvest when we visited, she graciously and thankfully met up with us. It was a terrific visit and we walked away with a much clearer picture of things to come. Certainly one of our favored stops during our trip to Corsica late last year.

High in the foothills of Monte Grossu mountain, inland from Calvi, lies the granite plateau of Reginu. The particularity of the plateau is the exposition to hot and dry daytime temperatures with high altitude cool nights, all surrounded on 3 sides by mountains with the fourth, open side a short distance from the sea and regular maritime winds. We were fascinated with the particularity of the terroir and the diverse influence of the temperature variations & granite soils.”

Camille’s wine exhibits wonderful purity of the soils, the microclimate and the surrounding wild countryside. While we have periodically tasted their pink wine over the years, it really has been the past of years, it has really found its stride. The 2018 is 40% each of 45 year old vine Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu (co-planted in clay-sand on granite soils and co-fermented) with 20% Grenache blended in to round out the edges. 90% direct pressed and fermented in stainless steel. We love how masculine savory and tasty it really is. We can readily see the difference that Camille-Anaïs Raoust has made since taking over running the domaine and making the wines.

2016 Abbatucci “Valle di Nero” Rosé–Jean-Charles Abbatucci is the most revered vignerons of Corsica by professionals (local and abroad) AND the winemaking community of the island.   He is fanatically into biodynamic winemaking in a HUGE way. He and his father used to forage the remote hills, fallow vineyards and “peasant” farmers in search of indigenous, nearly forgotten vines. The nearly extinct Carcajolu Neru vine was one of their most significant findings. When his old vines needed to be replaced, Jean-Charles instead, kept the vines’ root systems and grafted on indigenous grape cutting such as Carcajolu Neru. He nows has about two hectares of these vines in the mix. The 2016 is wild yeast fermented, direct pressed, fermented in stainless steel and then aged for six months in large, old demi-muids and only about 50% malolactic done. The production of this masculine, very savory rosé is miniscule since it comes from ½ hectare parcel. Here is your chance to try it! It was one of the finest pink wines of our trip!

Categories : General, Rose, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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“Rosé Wine & Food” 09-15-19

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“Rosé Wine & Food”

This is the next episode in our quest to shed a different light on what pairing wines and foods can be. The culinary world, after all, has greatly changed during my professional career and this is my opportunity to show another dimension to it all. Yes, quite another interesting and unique wine dinner. If you have attended our previous dinners, you know how eye opening they can be. Nothing fancy……..just plain good!

Pink wines are definitely IN. Finally.

Having said that the challenge is finding the “good” ones, as not all Rose wines are created equal. We will feature three very tasty, interesting and unique renditions for this evening. We have worked hard to get these wines, because they are so different and each provides a glimpse of their respective region, their indigenous grape variety and each done in a VERY different style.

VINO Chef Keith Endo created dishes for each of these pink wines and we hope the wines and the pairings will not only taste good, but will shed light on what can be.



WINE: Encostas do Lima Vinho Verde Rosé–A bright eyed and bushy tailed Pinkster from Portugal.  “Vinho Verde country is located in northeastern Portugal and is the largest demarcated wine region in Portugal. Soils are poor with an underlying granite base. The 2018 is 75 % Souazao (a local Port grape), 15 % Borracal (also known as Caiño Tinto), and 10 % Espadeiro (Galician Grape type used for rose wine production, specially)”.  This wine acts as the cranberry does at the Thanksgiving table–freshens & revitalizes the palate between bites.

FOOD: Braised Chicken & Homemade Ricotta Raviolilight tomato, celery and onion, smoked paprika “stew” & eggplant, Kalamata olive and caper tapenade




 WINE: Hofer Zweigelt Rosé–Upon first glance, this is a lighter-hued pink wine and is much more ethereal and minerally on the palate and is clearly different from the other two (please remember NOT all pink wines are created equal.) This is exactly why Chef Keith created this dish for this wine.  “The Hofer family farms vineyards in Auersthal, a dead-still little wine village in the Weinviertel, Austria, just barely beyond Vienna’s northern suburbs. The gently rolling hills in in this village are made up of deep loess soils and are planted predominantly to grüner veltliner, in addition to some Zweigelt. Zweigelt is one the country’s most popular RED wine grape varieties. Who would have thought an Austria Rosé could be so good AND make such a lovely pairing?”

FOOD:  Charred Spanish Octopus “Nicoise” Saladbaby arugula, castevetrano olives, grated egg, fingerling potato & sherry vinaigrette





WINE: Clos La Coutale Malbec Rosé–Cahors is a wine appellation in southwest France, which hasn’t changed much in appearance over the years.  “Amidst dramatic rock formations and cliffs, the Lot River slowly snakes its way along the valley floor, coiling covetously around the charming town of Cahors. Cahors is also the birthplace of Cot, the grape more commonly known as Malbec. The Bernède family is an intricate part of this tradition, watching over one of the region’s oldest domaines that was founded before the French Revolution”.  This is the first time we have purchased this wine. It’s time has finally come. 100% Malbec, wild yeast fermented and aged in stainless steel for one month on its fine lees. We love its masculinity, earthy, savory pungency and how delicious it still is.

FOOD:  Slow Roasted Moroccan Spiced Pork Chop–couscous, harissa vegetables & chimichurri




 FOOD:  Caramel Panna Cottawarm caramel sauce, marinated Kula strawberries & Lappert’s Vanila Bean ice cream

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PINK wines are IN and the category is meteorically growing in popularity. I have watched this category transition greatly over the years and currently those from Provence are the most en vogue. Not all pink wines are grown or created equally and considering our rustic style of cooking, one of the rosé niches we are looking to more and more in VINO are the more masculine, wonderfully savory renditions. I just came back from Corsica which has been on my wish list for thirty-plus years and which has inspired this tasting.

On this night we will taste FOUR of the island’s top pink wines—each from a different appellation and their finest resident producer. Each well represents what this wild, remote countryside has to offer and therefore a wonderful, innate savoriness rather than fruitiness to its core. They should show tasters the vast potential of what this island is capable of producing. I suggest you jump on the bandwagon now and beat the crowds, the inevitable long wait lists and escalating prices.

After all, how often do opportunities like this come around? (we will do another tasting featuring Corsican red wines on another day.)

2015 Maestracci Rosé “E Prove”–From the Calvi appellation (northwest—highlighted in light purple)…a hearty, masculine style. A very important winery for the future, as they really over deliver for the dollar. 50% each Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu grown in clay-sand on granite. NO ML.  Yes, this is a very masculine, savory, earth driven pink wine AND remarkably food friendly.  It is the quintessential pairing with our Braised Spanish Octopus served with the ham hock stew.

 2017 YL Leccia Rosé “Île de Beauté”–From the Patrimonio appellation (north—highlighted in dark purple)…a very stylish, more refined pinkster done with a more contemporary style. 70% Niellucciu and 30% Sciaccarellu, grown in clay, limestone and schist. NO ML.  Almost seems like Corsica wine crafted by a Burgundian trained winemaker.

2017 Abbatucci Rosé “Cuvée Faustine”–From the Ajaccio appellation (west—highlighted in red)…Jean Charles Abbatucci is regarded as one of the very top vignerons in all of Corsica. He is a fiery proponent of heirloom, indigenous vines grown uber-biodynamic. 90% Sciaccarellu, 10% Barbarossa and grown in granitic soils. NO ML.  This star rosé is really worth seeking out.

2017 Clos Canarelli Figari RoséFrom the Figari appellation (south—highlighted in brown)…another of the standout vignerons of the island. 50% Sciaccarellu, 30% Niellucciu and 20% Grenache (for finesse), grown in granitic, red alluvial soil and biodynamically farmed. Partial ML.  A sizzling hot pinkster which will take you some work to get.  I would say, they blend the old & the new so well & the wines therefore appeal to a wide spectrum of seasoned tasters.

Categories : General, Rose, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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Lighter in Body?

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I think most people will agree, today’s wines are getting thicker & riper than in the past.

I had one winemaker insist it is because of better vine material, much better understanding on what to do in the vineyard & certainly a better understanding of what to do in the winemaking.

Others say it is because of the frequency of more & more sundrenched vintages.

The point of this post is not to discussed those topics (& I am sure many others related).

I am wondering what to do about it.  Today’s German Riesling Kabinett level wines are now at ripeness numbers which were yesterday’s Auslese levels.  So, those fleeting, light & wonderfully ethereal Mosel Rieslings have, today, a much different profile.  That’s not a bad thing at all.  In fact, I am sure those German Riesling producers are thrilled & good for them.

Over the past few years, I have been tasting the Marquiliani Sciaccarellu Rosé , a very light, ethereal pink wine from the island of Corsica, imported to the U.S. by Kermit Lynch.  What initially caught my interest was a note I had read written by Kermit about this wine–“Drinking her rosé is like drinking a cloud. There’s an absolute weightlessness to it. Nothing is left on the palate but perfume.”   After reading that, I was immediately bent on trying this wine!  He was right, OMG, what a unique wine–tasty & seemingly light as air on the palate.

So, that brings me to my question.  If this family can produce such a wine, in a relatively warm growing spot like the terraces of Aghione on the eastern coast of Corsica, with its schist, granite, silt soils & a grape variety like Sciaccarellu (& 10% Syrah), which often results in rustic, rather masculine & hearty red wines in other spots on the island, why can’t other places & winemakers do something along these lines?

Categories : General, Rose, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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PINK Wines 08-17-17

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I am always re-amazed at how PINK wines have meteorically grown in popularity. Finally! One of the side effects of Rosés being en vogue, however, is that an inevitably growing number of not so good, commercially minded renditions pop up and continue to pop up….which in my opinion can either suffocate the store shelves with more plonk than good OR wine tasters will become leery of pink colored wines again. No….PLEASE……we cannot let that happen again. That was the inspiration for this night’s tasting, four standout PINK wines to show tasters what can be. To make things even more fun, we will serve BLIND! 

2014 Leccia Patrimono Rosé–A PINK specialty from one of the most revered producers out of Corsica and deservedly so. 80% Niellucciu & 20% Grenache grown in the remote, rugged, wild countryside, this is a masculine, hearty pink-ster which also thankfully has elegance & refinement. 

2016 Hans Wirsching Rosé Trocken–from the Franconia winegrowing region of Germany near the town of Iphof.  Although I have had this winery’s rosés in the past, I have not purchased any until this one. It not only is drastically different (a blend of Pinot Meunier, Portugeiser & Domina rather than Pinot Noir dominated), but it is also a real standout! Yes, if you treasure prettiness, perfume, finesse, deliciousness and ethereal lightness, you will enjoy this wine too! 

2016 Marquiliani Sciaccarellu Rosé–Produced from the indigenous Sciaccarellu grape variety (& 10% Syrah) on the remote eastern coast of Corsica, This for me is truly one of the most special renditions produced today. As importer Kermit Lynch aptly says—Drinking her rosé is like drinking a cloud. There’s an absolute weightlessness to it. Nothing is left on the palate but perfume.”  

2015 Regis Bouvier Marsannay Rosé–To help put this wine in perspective—the soils here are mostly limestone, the kind of limestone which is world famous for alluring, beguiling, elusive Pinot Noir RED wines. The village of Marsannay, however, is located at the top of the heralded Cotes de Nuits and has historically provided a kind of a warm up to the BIG GUN villages just a bit further south. For me, it also has been the home of some very noteworthy PINK wines, which Bouvier producing the most ethereal, pretty and delicious.

Categories : General, Rose, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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A Taste of Pink Wines 07-16-17

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‘Tis the season for delicious, thirst quenching PINK wines.

The world of rosé has greatly changed over the past 10 years or so.  Where once rosé was essentially a by product of red wine production, more & more winemakers (& the public) understand that if you want a really good rosé you have to set out to grow & make a good rosé.  From there, rather than having one that only smells of strawberry, cherry, cherry, cherry……..I much prefer one that has minerality to it.  This makes for a more interesting wine to sip, but also creates a very different dynamic when served with foods.

Thankfully, today really good rosés are grown in different soils & climates, produced from all kinds of different grape varieties & are done in many different styles.  Here are 4 worth looking for.

Domaine Arretxea Irouléguy Rosé–comes from “the Basque country lies along the southwestern border of France and Spain, deep in the dramatic Pyrénées mountains. It received its own A.O.C. in 1970 & this domaine farms organically & biodynamically.  A mere glimpse of their steep, terraced land, amid beautifully lush wildflowers, set against the white peaks of the Pyrénées, with sheep grazing on the soft, aerated soils in between vineyard rows, The sandstone soils of Irouléguy are ideal for these grapes because they are streaked with iron oxide, mica, silica, limestone, clay, and dolomite. The mineral diversity lends an intensity to the wines, making them wild, earthy, tannic, and rich in spicy aromas.   80% Tannat, 20% Cabernet Franc, all saignee, sees some less contact but no malolactic.”  This is a very masculine, hearty, savory style of rosé & works very well with hearty, savory foods.

The next wine, the 2016 Chateau Thivin Beaujolais Villages Rosé is a very delicious, pretty, totally uplifting, vivacious pink-ster & has therefore really grown meteorically in the past 7 years in popularity, bordering a mania, among local wine lovers.  Chateau Thivin is a real iconic, long time revered, artisan producer of standout Cru Beaujolais.  Interestingly, though, it was really their 2010 Rosé that caught our attention in this category.  While the previous pink efforts were good, the 2010 was a HUGE qualitative upgrade.  The Gamay Noir vines average 50 years in age & grown in pink granite, sandy soils.  The wine is fermented in stainless steel & sees 100% malolactic.  This wine is really worth seeking out, especially since it greatly over delivers for the dollar spent!

The 2015 Bouvier Marsannay Rosé has been one of the benchmark pink wines of Burgundy for quite some time.  It is not by any means about bravado or showiness.  Quite contraire!  This is a very pretty, highly refined, wonderfully light & ethereal style.  100% Pinot Noir, grown in clay, marl, limestone & gravel, 80% direct press, 20% saignee, fermented in stainless steel & sees 100% malolactic.  Before the recent climate warming, the village of Marsannay, at the northern tip of the Cote de Nuits, below the city of Dijon, was renown for producing wonderful pink wines.  Bouvier’s shows what Marsannay Rosé can be!

The 2016 Hans Wirsching Rosé Trocken is from Franconia, Germany.  It was the most charming & compelling of the group because of its sheer lightness, etherealness & superb deliciousness.  It just says–drink me.  I had had Wirsching rosés in the past, I believe made mainly from Pinot Noir as the base & while they were tasty & lively, this 2016 was light years more captivating.  The 2016 is produced instead from 50% Pinot Meunier, 4%0 Portugieser & 10% Domina grape varieties. The vineyards are very steep, sloping & mostly south facing with gypsum-keuper based soils.  VERY impressive!!!!

Categories : General, Rose, Wine
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PINK Wines from around the Mediterranean

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We are continually amazed at how fast the craze for pink wines has exponentially taken off here in the Islands.  Finally!   Yes, it is seasonally the time to start enjoying pink wines & here are four VERY unique renditions well worth checking out!

Elvio Tintero Rosato–This small, family owned and run estate has been around since 1900 and we initially fell in love with their effortlessly light, fizzy, wonderfully ethereal Moscato, but in just the past few vintages, we have also become quite fascinated and enamored with their other “country” styled wines. Here is their fizzy rose—mostly Barbera, with a tiny bit of Moscato and Favorita juice blended in to get the bubble making started. Because of the unique way they produce this wine, it cannot be vintage dated.


2015 Maestracci Corse Calvi “E Prove”–Thankfully today, roses come in many different styles and colors and the diversity is so welcome. Here is a darker colored more masculine one from the remote and rugged Isle of Corsica. Produced from equal parts of the two most intriguing, indigenous grape varieties of the island—Nielluciu and Sciacarellu. This rather hearty, very flavorful rose somehow captures the character and fortitude of the wild countryside that surrounds the vineyard.


2014 Punta Crena Barbarossa–This is a very unique, darker colored, masculine rose from the hills of Liguria, Italy right on the ocean.This steep, rocky vineyard has been cultivated for well over 500 years by the Ruffino family. The true Barbarossa grape variety is said to be grown by this one family in one village. It is VERY different from what is called Barbarossa in other appellations and, furthermore, this wine somehow captures the essences of the sun baked rocks, wild shrub/herbs surrounding the vineyard and the sea 1000 meters away, down below.


2015 Terrebrune Bandol Rose–We now feel this rose is at the head of the class in the category of Bandol and Provencal pink wines. It certainly has something to do with limestone pebble/clay surface soils and the blue limestone/marl subsoils, which gives the wine its vitality and innate freshness! BUT, we should also mention how the intuative winemaking gives the wines refinement, nuance and superb balance.

Categories : General, Rose, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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Pink Wines 09-06-14

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Boy, is there a lot to say about rose to really better understand what’s the dealio.  Good roses can be quite a revelation, not necessarily in terms of drama or profound-ness, but more about how they can add a whole ‘nother dimension to pairing with foods.  The challenge is finding the good ones.

In the Old Days, winemakers looked to improve their RED wines by bleeding off some juice & thereby maximizing the remaining juice to skin contact ratio.  With the bled off juice, the winemakers then sought to make something decent.   While this may make for better (?) red wines, it often made for mediocre PINK wines…..unless one was looking for a wine to just gulp & wash the food down with.

More recently, we thankfully have witnessed a fast growing number of light & fruity roses, where the grapes are harvested at lower sugar levels (& therefore less drama & lower potential alcohol levels), direct pressed in stainless steel tanks at cool temperatures.  These delightfully delicious, fruit driven roses are ideal for warm weather sipping with or without food.

Now, we are seeing the next generation of this style of pink wines—those grown in marine soils, which create minerality in the finished wines, in addition to being light & fruity.  This minerality creates ethereal-ness/interestingness in the wines, in addition to adding refreshingness & accentuating the wine’s vitality & liveliness.  From my point of view, these wines are also much more diverse at the dinner & lunch table AND with a wider range of foods.

We are now also seeing more & more masculine styled roses rising in availability & popularity. These versions are produced from more hearty, rustic red grape varieties, often grown in more rugged terrain & harvested at modest sugar levels, direct pressed & fermented at cool temperatures, BUT are just more masculine, hearty with more structure, drama, depth & hutzpah.  More reminiscent of Rhone Valley Tavel….which in my mind is more similar in profile to a lighter red wine of the old days.  One could readily pair these kind of roses to lighter meats AND even red meats.

Think about—a Thanksgiving feast with all of the fixings….& then there is the cranberry.  This has been a big revelation, which I think we will see more & more of, once the public acclimates to the bigger price tags (which are highly deserved in the finest examples).

So….that is the inspirations for this tasting.  A chance to taste 4 really good examples of what rose can be!!!

Yes, just another opportunity to learn!

00002012 Eric Chevalier Grolleau Rose

Every winegrowing seems to have a real shining star who emerges from the crowd & vanguards the region into the modern era.  The very best of them capitalize on modern techniques both in the vineyard & the winery to produce better wines than their neighbors, WITHOUT compromising a core of traditions, such as using indigenous grape varieties & never losing sight of purity of terroir & unique-ness.  In the Nantais region, the western most outreach of France’s Loire Valley, that man is Eric Chevalier.  “Éric sustainably farms twenty-five hectares of vines, producing wines of great character and finesse. The Nantais is a maritime climate, and the vineyards are not far from the Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, there is an interesting variety of sedimentary,  igneous, and metamorphic rocks, as this area once was ocean floor”.  Eric has a little over half a hectare of a grape variety, named Grolleau (20 year old vines), from which he produces a superb, interesting, ethereal PINK wine.  The wine is wild yeast fermented & aged on its lees in subterranean, glass lined cuvees for more texture & complexity.  Here is that wine!  Remarkably light, ethereal, salty, pure, precise AND most imporatant delicious!

2012 Maxime Francois Laurent Rose “Il Fait Tres Soif”  0003

Domaine Gramenon & its winemaker Maxime Francois Laurent is certainly that standout young phenom leading the charge in France’s southern Rhone Valley.  His style of wine is a distinct move away from the bigger, burly, brooding wines the southern Rhone has been known for, for at least since the 1930’s.  More importantly he is part of that vanguard looking to be uber-sustainable & back to basics both in the vineyard & the winery, which is why he & his wines have garnered an almost “cult” like following.  Yes, these are really hard wines to get….& for good reason.  They do not merely champion organic farming, but they incorporate the concept of sustainability into their daily lives by growing their own food and raising their own animals. Though Michèle and Maxime continue to test the confines of the appellation, the cellars are unsurprisingly old-fashioned. The Laurents use gravity-fed cuves and age their wines in oak demi-muids and foudres. That they take such gutsy risks as bottling old-vine fruit with so little sulfur, without fining or filtration, only demonstrates the lengths they will go to in order to highlight the freshness, purity, and intoxicating aromas.  of their small, rare production.  In addition to his work at his family domaine, Gramenon, Maxime also produces a small of wine under his own namesake label, which are even harder to get than those of Gramenon.  Here is his rose—1/3 each of Syrah, Grenache & Cinsault (25 year old vines) grown in clay limestone soils, direct pressed, wild yeast fermented with NO malolactic.  Another example of his thirst of purity, sense of place deliciousness & authenticity.  This wine definitely smelled & tasted of the soil.  NO tooty fruitiness here!  BUT, still brimming with deliciousness.

00012012 Maxime Magnon Corbieres Rose “Metisse

The Maxime Magnon wines are some of the hardest for us to get.  Magnon is part of one of the most revolutionary wine movements in France should give him a justifiable swagger to his step.  He was fortunate to have purchased some prime parcels of old vines from abandoned plots and rents his cellar—a garagiste if ever there was one. He farms nine parcels over eleven hectares, with steep vineyards that reach high altitudes, and manages it all on his own. Maxime is part of the new wave of passionate viticulteurs who cultivate their vines with the utmost respect for nature and the soil.  He’s certified organic, but also incorporates biodynamic practices into his vineyard management. Most of Maxime’s vineyard land is comprised of schist and limestone subsoils in the sub-appellation Hautes Corbières, bordering Fitou to the South. This is incredibly tough terrain to farm in, as there is virtually no top-soil, just pure rock and garrigue.  His one rose is 30% each Cinsault & Grenache Noir & 20% each of Carignane & Grenache Blanc (80 years-average age).  The wine is wild yeast fermented (the Cinsault separately) in concrete & aged for 6 months in 6 to 9 year old barrels.  Yes, 1 case made its way to the Islands.  I think most tasters were taken back by the darker color.  It has a very unusual color, quite striking in fact.  This wine also has a quite exotic nose–stony, flinty, even peppery with strawberry in the finish.  I would say, this is a masculine, delicious rose….one I will remember for a long time.

 2013 Yves Leccia Rose  “Ile de Beaute”  0002

Yes, Corsican wines are really happening across the country with sommeliers. And, Corsica has been on my wine bucket list to visit for at least 20 years.  I have been warned however not to travel there alone.  Seems like the remote parts of the island is rugged & inhospitable in more ways than just the countryside itself.  Where Bordeaux, Burgundy & Champagne are regions producing wines of grandeur, class & sophistication, I would say Corsican wines tend to be more hearty, masculine in nature with lots of Old World character & spirit.  That’s not to say, they aren’t good…..just intriguingly different.  In France,  Leccia’s have often been referred to as the “Rolls-Royce” of Corsican wines, a reputation earned after nearly 30 years of making consistently elegant and sophisticated wines.  Raised in a small village in the heart of  Patrimonio, Yves worked alongside his father in the vines and cellar at the earliest age he could. The Leccias have been making wine from some of the finest terroirs of Patrimonio for countless generations, Yves decided to branch off on his own in 2004 and focus on the single terroir he felt was the top in Patrimonio. This terroir, “E Croce,” sits on a thin chalk soil above a thick bedrock of pure schist, facing the gulf of St. Florent.   This rose is 60% Niellucciu & 40% Grenache, direct pressed, wild yeast fermented & full of true Corsican character.   Wow! Unlike the previous 3 vintages I had tried in the past, the 2013 had elegance, refinement & ethereal minerality, which really caught me by surprise.  Kudos.


Categories : Rose, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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Pink Wines 07-09-13

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Yes, it is Summer.  The weather is noticeably hotter & the days longer.  The seasonal food specialities seems to be lighter AND the sea is bountiful &  thankfully we therefore have all kinds of fresh seafood available.  In southern France & along the Mediterranean basin this time of the year, well chilled carafes of regional PINK wines dot the seaside cafe tables.  The locals there have had many, many years to understand & appreciate that well made roses are undoubtedly well suited for the Summer months, & its hotter weather & its seasonal foods.  Here are a few we currently enjoy.

neyers Ch

 2012 My Essential Rose

Here is a VERY light colored, pretty, refreshing, wonderfully delicious, thirstquenching & food friendly French rose from superstar Master Sommelier Richard Betts.  What a discovery this has been for us!  Here is what Richard had to say–

From the South of France, just over the hill from Aix, a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 18% Syrah, 1% each of Carignane & Mourvedre, direct press (no saignee juice here, hence the light color & lack of bitterness).  The idea is rosé as I love it; dry and refreshing, smell red yet taste like a lip-smackingly delicious white.  Importantly, this is not saignée, it’s all straight to press goodness.  Pass the chalice and get after it“.   Bouvier

 2011 Regis Bouvier Rose

Regis Bouvier is a small, truly artisan producer (1981) who makes delicious, ethereal, interesting & really food friendly wines from his stellar vineyard holdings in Marsannay.  We just had a bottle last night of his 2011 Rose & let’s just say, it was such a pleasure, it really was the inspiration for this blog.  Unlike many of the fruit driven, tooty fruity roses we see coming out more frequently today, this one is barrel aged in oak for 10 months, framing the character, adding depth & rounding out edges, without compromising deliciousness, lightness, etherealness or food friendliness.  In the Old Days, pre-global warming, Marsannay was famous for their rose wines.  I surmise that back then the area was over all too challenging to produce stellar reds.  Times have changed…..& we now see more & more winemakers looking to take advantage of the weather warming & produce red wines, rather than rose.   The soils are interesting–a mix of limestone, marl, clay, stoney & gravel & the resulting wines can be interesting & unique . I, for one, am glad & most thankful that Bouvier still makes a little rose.  This really is a superb wine, which happens to be pink.

La Spinetta Rose

Il Rose di Casanova

Yes….it is VERY hard to find “good” Italian Rose.  Most winemakers focus on making top quality RED wine, which may include bleeding off (saignee) some of the juice early on in the fermentation, thereby increasing the remaining juice’s skin contact potential.  Then with the leftover, bled off juice they try to make a decent rose or something.  While this may make for a blacker, better RED wine, it often results in a very mediocre Pink wine.  For me, this is even more apparent with Italian grape varieties.  Superstar winemaker Giorgio Rivetti, in this case, set out to make a good rose instead.  50% Sangiovese & 50% Prugnolo Gentile (another clone of Sangiovese, most notably from Montepulciano) from his Tuscan vineyard (sandy & ocean sediments influenced soils) grown at roughly 1000 feet elevation.  The skin contact is no more than 1 hour & the wine is fermented in stainless steel, & is then aged on the lees for 3 months.  We love the notes of sour cherry, pomegranite & floral qualities, how seamless it is from beginning to end & how it finishes UN-oaky & UN-bitter…..all done in a VERY tasty, lively, refreshing, food friendly style.  Bravo!!!!   Gardoni2

2012 Corte Gardoni Bardolino “Chiaretto”

Remarkably……yet another delicious, standout Italian PINK wine!!!!!  This one comes from Veneto, up in the northeast part of Italy.  Records show that the Piccoli family have been growing grapes in the area since the 1600’s.  

GardoniToday Gianni Piccoli is a well-known and highly respected figure in the region as well as a fierce leader in the fight against the homogenization of the local wine scene. While local cooperatives push for laws that would force producers to plant only French grapes like Chardonnay and Merlot, the place of honor at Corte Gardoni is reserved for local varietals such as Garganega, Corvina, Rondinella, and others. The Piccolis’ vineyards occupy 25 hectares, while the rest of the property encompasses orchards, forests, olive trees, and arable land“.

Here is their Chiaretto (what the locals call their rose), which is typically produced from 50% Corvina, 30% Rondinella & 20% “other” grapes.   It is much darker in hue than those listed above….and seemingly more fruit driven….BUT still lovely, irresistibly delicious, food friendly & very well suited for this time of the year.

Categories : Rose, Wine
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