Alma Negra Sparkling Rose of Malbec, 09 Argentina

Okayokayokay.  I promise this will be the last Rose post for a while.  And for the record, this is a Rose sparkling, NOT strictly a Rose, so it’s a totally different category.  The first step was admitting I have a problem.  But honestly, I chose today’s wine based on what I feel like sipping on right now.  And it happens to be slightly pink in color.  Can you blame me?  It’s noon on Monday afternoon.  I’m chilling at Cellar listening to Fleet Foxes on Pandora.  And doing a little bit of work, too, I guess.  It’s truly a perfect storm of Rose necessity.

Okay, so I lied  a wee bit.  I didn’t just pick this wine for today  because I felt like drinking it, I also picked it because it’s awesome and different!  And I just found out it got 89 points from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar.  So that’s cool, too.  And check out the spooky dude on the bottle!  He must be the one with the black soul (alma negra = black soul).  Yikes!

Well, black as his soul might be, this wine’s soul is anything but!  Winemaker Ernesto Catena is sort of a badass to begin with, and his other line- Tikal– produces some of my all time favorite big, nasty Argentine reds.  The Almanegra line is just a baby- started in 2003.  When I first opened this bottle, I was expecting a bold, bright pink wine- seeing as it’s Malbec and new-worldy.  But I was to be surprised!  Check out it’s fairly delicate, light salmon coloring:

perty.

Cute, lively notes of sweet tarts and candied strawberries are a-plenty.  Light and fresh, with additional aromas of rhubarb, raspberries and fresh biscuits.  Sort of reminiscent of a summertime strawberry shortcake.  But one of those semi-sweet, crunchy shortcake biscuits, not a sticky sweet fluffy one.  I like those.  Light on its loafers, but offering a lengthy and elegant finish.

We sold the bejeezus out of this wine last Tuesday night during Champagne Tuesday!  And we likely will again tomorrow night.

What?  you haven’t been to Champagne Tuesday?  I find this hard to believe, first of all- but you need to get in on the action because every Tuesday night at Cellar we pour glasses of champage, cava, prosecco, and anything else that sparkles for half-off!  Flocks of females flood Cellar with a burning desire for frothy bubbles.  Did you like that alliteration?  I thought it was fun.  I really don’t know why I’m plugging Champagne Tuesday on here, because it stays busy with little to no help from moi.  BUT it is a perfect opportunity for you to try THIS WINE for $4 a glass!  Then you can whisk away a bottle to take home for $18.  It’ll be a good start to your week, and a good way to celebrate that we FINALLY made it to August, which means there’s only two more months of summer to go.  Yes, September counts as summer.  It’s still hot.

A big fat ROSE post!!

Oh, sweet Jesus thank you for Rose!  Warning: if you are under the impression that pink wine sucks, you can stop reading right about now.  Or I should say- if you are firmly resolute in that belief, and have no desire to think otherwise, then you can stop reading.  However, if you are willing to consider (just consider!) that your long clung-to belief that pink wine sucks MIGHT be slightly inaccurate, than READ ON!  Because I just might change your mind.  I’m pretty determined about this.

The kids.

Why do I like pink wine so much?  Hmm.  Let me examine that one.  One of the reasons I like pink wine is because it reminds me of warm sunny days and relaxation.  There is something carefree about a pink bottle of wine, it just screams “forget about all those little annoying things about life and just drink me.”  Does this identify me as a procrastinator?  Well, yes, I am.  It doesn’t take a bottle of pink wine to make me want to procrastinate.  But it’s not just about procrastination or warm sunny days.  It’s more about slowing down to actually just do one.thing.at.a.time.  Which isn’t always easy.  So I’m by no means suggesting that you blow off all your responsibilities and jet off to the nearest pool to drink rose and not give a F*@% about anything.  But a rose to me suggests setting aside a small block of time to just do ONE thing, and that thing is gently sip a glass of rose.  Notice how pretty it’s color is, how frosty and inviting the bottle is, contemplate all the lovely fruits you taste in it.  Call it a meditation if you want.  So maybe that’s why I like pink wine.  It reminds me to slow down and enjoy.

Yesterday was a good day for me, as you can see by all the open bottles pictured above!  This is possibly the first of many posts about Rose in store for you this summer.  First in line we have my personal favorite, the Charles & Charles Rose of Syrah, 2010 Washington State.  As you can tell, it has the lightest, most delicate coloring.  But don’t you dare call it a pansy.  This just released wine is sleek, sexy and polished.  It has pretty femininity, with a masculine edge.  How, you ask?  You’ll taste lovely notes of raspberry, sour cherry and pomegranate.  Then you’ll notice some exciting hints of herbs and leaves.  It’ll hit you with a nice dose of acidity and minerality, and then at the very end?  a touch of strawberries and cream.  Ahhhhh.  I love it.  Crisp, refreshing, and an awesome looking bottle to boot.  Goes on by the glass tonight, and retails for $13.

This one’s a fun one- just look at the name!  Gaga Rose, 2009 California (retail $11).  This was the most fruit-forward of today’s bunch, with a somewhat sweet finish.  Ripe, ripe, ripe red fruits to be found here; watermelon, red cherries, strawberries and a faint aroma of herbal tea.  All fruit all the time once you taste it, too- plus be prepared for some yummy flavors of watermelon Jolly Ranchers!  Now, I can’t tell you what to do, but I think this one in particular would make a great gift for that 20-something year old niece, daughter, sister, friend, whatever-of-yours that’s graduating this weekend!  It will make you seem very hip and in tune with what the “kids” are into these days.  Plus, nothing says “welcome to the real world” like wine!

Next on the list is the Bodegas Tikalo Albaliza Rosado, 2010 Spain.  I like this wine for it’s sturdy simplicity, nice marriage of fruit and dryness, and of course, PRICE (retail $9!).  It has a nice deep color and is made of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet.  It’s fruit offers a little more tartness- think cranberries, with notes of rose petals, spice and a palate-pleasing “quench.”  I’m a big fan of this one as an everyday go-to Rose, and perfect for entertaining given it’s friendly pricetag.  You will most certainly find this one at this Saturday’s Wine Sale at Cellar from 12-2 if you wish to experience it for yourself!

Last but not least, we must include a Rose bubbly!  Life is not complete without pink bubbles.  This one has been a favorite of mine for quite some time, and we also just put it on by the glass.  So, you know how everyone likes Champagne?  Well, it turns out, they make sparkling wine in France that’s NOT just from the Champagne region.  And often, it represents some of the best value out there AND can often be more delicious (in my opinion) than a “true” Champagne.  Such is the case with the Marquis de la Tour Brut Rose, NV Loire Valley.  I especially love sparkling from the Loire, and this little guy is made by Remy Pannier, one of the better known and well-respected Loire valley producers.  It’s a pretty salmon color, and has a delicate, fresh palate of strawberries and peaches, perfect mousse, and a round mouthfeel.  It makes a perfect party guest and will please the masses fo’ sho!  And you can party with it all night long, too- cuz it only costs $11! 

Soooo… what do you say?  you’ll give pink wine a try?  Pretty please?  Here’s one last plea- well, not so much a plea as a statement of fact- and it comes with every case of Charles & Charles Rose (yes, you can have one, but only if you buy a case):

Could it be?? The Perfect Sparkling Gift?

The answer, of course, is YES!  It’s perfect.  The Mumm Brut Prestige (NV, Napa Valley) really had me at “Hello.”  The bottle looks sophisticated and well designed- Good Gift Reason #1.  It tastes delicious- Good Gift Reason #2.  It’s #48 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010- Good Gift Reason #3.  Soooo… I’m thinking that’s all you really need to know.  No?  Well, okay, I’ll tell you a little bit more about it, but only because I like you.

Aight, so the Brut Prestige is an assemblage of primarily Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.   In true Napa-sparkling style, it strikes a near-perfect balance of gorgeous, warm, sunny fruit characteristics and a lively, refreshing, quenching acidity.  The website states that it is aged in *mostly* stainless steel- there are hints of yeasty spice and vanilla, which suggest a small amount of oak- but whatever the amount, doggone it if it ain’t just right!  The rest of the nose is pear, apple, fresh white flowers, apricot and melon.  What I love BEST about it (besides the fact that it’s reasonably priced) is the mouthfeel- it has that delicate “lift” that a sparkling wine can have- it feels sort of like an air-bubble in your mouth for a second, and the mousse is very fine, but not so fine that you can’t find the bubbles.  Cuz you want to know where da bubbles at when you’re drinking sparkling wine!

Here it is on our Top 100 Shelf at Cellar on Greene, flaunting it’s cool little 90-point rating.  Sooo… let’s see if we can find a celebrity to liken this wine to… Awwww man- I’m bringing out the big guns for this one! 

So this wine is classy, elegant, and most importatly- has never, and probably will never, go out of style.  Even if you’re not in the mood for wine drinking, it’s still bound to brighten your day.  Sometimes you probably forget how good it is, until you pop a bottle one Tuesday for no reason and are reminded- WOW- it’s been this good all along and has never faltered not even for a second!  Can you guess it?? 

sweet jesus that’s a good looking man

BRAD PITT!!  Yes, that’s right folks.  Did you forget about Brad Pitt?  You might have, since he’s so busy with the kids nowadays, and he has the beard sometimes which is a little distracting.  And he’s basically started a second career as a philanthropist and spends a lot of time on that.  But… do you remember Thelma & Louise?  I DO!!  I love him in that movie.  That might be my favorite cute boy movie of all time.  And by that I mean, you watch it just to see the scene with the hairdryer one.more.time.  So in a nutshell, the Mumm and Brad are one because they are timeless and perfect for any occasion. 

So, the last thing I need to mention is that the Mumm can be had for the cool price of 20 bucks!  Good Gift Reason #4- twenty bucks is the ideal amount of money to spend on a gift, in my humble opinion.  Stop in to Cellar and mention this post when you purchase the Mumm and I will also give you a pretty sparkly wine bag to put it in, thus negating the need for you to wrap it!  So that should wrap things up for this edition.  All in all it’s been a good writing experience, given that I got to stop halfway through and Google pictures of Brad Pitt.  Just what I needed tonight, and hopefully it was what you needed, too!

Clara C Prosecco! Perfect to welcome back you-know-who…

Alright, peoples.  This is going to be hard for me to write.  But I know it will appeal to many of you out there, so here goes…

Hey, everyone!  Football is starting next week!  What could be better than BUBBLES to welcome back your beloved Gamecocks?!  Well, lucky for you this non-football fan is looking out for you!  I’ve got a delicious little bottle of Prosecco that would taste simply delicious while you wait on line for your football tickets… oh, wait, drinking on the street is illegal.  Well, it will taste good the morning of the first football game to get yourself psyched up.  It’s great by itself, but it would mix quite well with fresh OJ for a mimosa.  Are mimosa’s illegal for Gamecock fans?  Seeing as they’re orange?  This is why I’m not a football fan; things like this are very foreign to me.  Perhaps a bloody mary would be more appropriate.  I really don’t know.  I’m trying very hard here.  You can’t possibly understand how little a Yankee like me knows about College football.  In New England, there is only the NFL.  I know it’s tough to imagine, but there really is no such thing as College football anywhere but the South.  I’m not trying to rain on your parade, or for heaven’s sake doubt the importance of the Cocks, but just keep that in mind…

clara

Little Clara here will be at the Wine Sale this Saturday the 29th (12-2) for $12, and we’re also pouring it by the glass here at Cellar right now.  It’s a pretty, delicate wine, with light citrus and green apples on the nose, and a touch of something flowery… honeysuckle, maybe.  Nice amount of bubbles.  I know that sounds like a wierd thing to say about a sparkling wine, but sometimes I find Prosecco’s don’t have quite enough to really make me feel like I’m drinking a sparkling wine.  It’s fairly dry, but not bone-dry.  I think it’s a steal for $12.  And it really would make a perfect mimosa.  Get you some fresh OJ… mmm.  That’s where it’s at.  You could even save Clara for the day AFTER the first game of the season when you need a little “hair-of-the-dog.”  There is really nothing quite like a mimosa with a late morning greasy breakfast to cure a hangover. 

A quick plea before I sign off… remember those home football games you love so much?  Well, we here in the restaurant business TRY to love them… but it’s very hard when it feels like your restaurant gets ditched faster than Jennifer Aniston whenever there’s a game.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t go… goodness, no… just don’t forget about us completely.  Stop in and grab a glass of wine an extra time that week.  We miss you.  Really. 

Hope to see everyone at the sale on Saturday!

Francoise Chauvenet NV Brut

Alright, so it’s high time I included a bubby in my blog.  Especially in time for the wine sale TOMORROW where you can snag this delicious little guy for $9!!  Yes, per bottle!  Plus, as an added bonus, this bottle is French, which means it LOOKS expensive.  Oh, you didn’t know that?  Everything that’s French looks expensive, it’s a widely accepted rule.  That means it’s the perfect bottle to serve at a party for some friends.  You could even learn to say it properly- “Franswaz Show-ven-ay.”  Just picture all the people you can impress.  Or, if you’re like me, you can sit in bed and drink it out of a cheap wine glass from World Market, in your sweatpants, while you download songs on iTunes, and put off cleaning the house- impressing no one.  But that is the great thing about inexpensive wine- you can open it for yourself and not feel obligated to do anything special at all!

silvercap

See?  There it is, on my nightstand next to the cheap wine glass.  Moving on, let’s get some descriptors going for this little guy: it’s a nice pale yellow in color, smells light and fresh and fruity.  Has a bit of honey, straw, some toast… it has a nice delicacy that I love in a bubbly.  Goes down soooo easily, so easy to drink!  I got so distracted writing this that I burned my dinner.  I wasn’t planning on going out tonight, but it looks like little Francoise here has forced me to… funny how Champagne can do that, isn’t it?

Well, I don’t feel the need to be overly verbose when it comes to this wine- it’s fantastic, and it’s $9.  What else do you need to know?  And if you’re not convinced, come down to Cellar on Greene tomorrow between 12 and 2 and taste for yourself!  Plus- you can pick up some OPALA Vinho Verde and Atteca Grenache, too!  They’ll be there!  Hope to see everyone then!