Domaine Sainte Lucie “MiP” Rose, 2012 France

In case you haven’t noticed—

photo (34)

This makes me happy.  Why?  Because Rose is good.  And I like good things.  Pretty much every wine person I know has a special affinity for a good dry Rose.  Why is this, exactly?  Why do we all freak out over Rose?  Why do we become like fiends, trying to find the absolute most perfect one ever made (that year)?

There are a variety of factors, not all of which necessitate a long conversation.  But I should start, of course, with reminding you that if you’re still one of those people that THINK they don’t like Rose, I plea with you; try this one.  Especially if you like white wine.  If you like white, chances are you like Rose too.  You just don’t know it yet.  If you think you don’t like white wine?!  Well, I’ll work on YOU later…

photo 1 (14)

Allow me to introduce you to my new baby, Domaine Sainte Lucie “MiP” Rose, 2012 vintage from the Provence region of France.  “MiP” stands for “Made in Provence”, giving this wine an accessible and memorable package.  This picture doesn’t really do it justice; although it does look frosty and inviting, you really have to see this wine in person to appreciate it’s beautiful color.  Pale, pale, pale rose petal pink.  This is a blend of mostly Cinsault, with a bit of Grenache and Syrah.  My favorite thing about this wine is the nose- you’d have to be a crazy not to realize you’re in for something special when you get your first inhale of this wine.  It is completely alive, vibrant, and bursting with fresh notes of wildflowers, passionfruit, a little prickly pineapple, wild strawberries and a minerally touch of wet stone.  The mouthfeel is silky and addicting.  A pleasantly dry body, and a finish that lingers, refreshes, and cleanses.  It feels like satin.  In my opinion, there is something nothing short of magical in this wine.  That which cannot be explained.  Must be experienced.  But that IS the point of drinking wine, isn’t it?

Which brings me back to my original question- why does Rose captivate us wine-lovers?  In essence, I believe it to be because Rose is just fun.  Rose reminds us that wine is meant to be enjoyed- today.  It’s pink color is flirtatious and suggests an air of frivolity that is not present in other wines.  It is inviting.  It doesn’t just ask to be drunk, it begs to be.  It’s not serious or heavy handed (although, there are of course serious Rose drinkers), it just invites you to come play.  NOW.

My Google search yielded no quality results, so that’s as good of an explanation as I think we are going to get:

photo (36)So, in closing, YOU NEED THIS WINE.  And you need it now!  It is $17 a bottle and will be in residence at Cellar on Greene and available for sampling until it runs out!  Which it will, at some point.  So hop to it.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

Advertisements

Recent obsessions, condensed…

So, as I’ve stated before, sometimes I allow weeks to lapse without writing a proper post.  And while this is partially because it can be extremely challenging to set aside the proper time slot, it’s also because I have a HUGE problem with indecisiveness!  This is because I simply love so many wines that I can’t choose just one.  And a lot of times, I choose one, then another one shows up that I love just as much, and I’m thrown into a quandary of the worst sort.  And by then it’s Friday, and once Friday happens, I just give up.  Woe is me, too much good wine.  

All of that is a way of introducing you to not one, not two, not three, but FOUR fantastic wines that I’ve been loving lately!  Let’s start with the bubbles, because it’s before noon as I write this, and only bubbles are proper before noon:

Argyle Brut, 2009 Willamette Valley. $24

photo 1 (11)

This is a fun one, because there aren’t a *ton* of sparklers from Willamette Valley.  I’m racking my brain right now trying to think of some, but I’m coming up blank.  My suspicion is that many Willamette wineries make Sparkling, but don’t make a lot of it, and maybe only have it available at the winery.  Yet another reason why I need to visit Willamette ASAP!

I like this wine because it’s true to it’s roots; once you taste it, there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s a Willamette Valley wine.  They didn’t try to make it taste like anything other than what it should.  It shines a crystal-clear straw color, and cute tiny bubbles rise up from the bottom of the glass like they’s supposed to.  This is a Methode Champenoise wine, which means the bubbles are created in the bottle, making them, in most people’s eyes, preferable.  Made from 59% Pinot Noir and 41% Chardonnay, its light and clean, with a fresh palate of pears, green apples, a hint of almonds, light citrus, floral notes of honeysuckle and… something vaguely soapy, which I really like.  At just 12.5% alcohol, it drinks easily and frighteningly quickly.  A nice slap of minerality really lifts the finish to another dimension.  Fantastic.  At $24, it’s a great price range for a gift- and to boot, $24 is a bit less than what you might find it for elsewhere.

Next up!

Hugel “Gentil” Gewurtraminer/Muscat/Sylvaner/Riesling/Pinot Gris/etc etc, 2010 France, Alsace  $15

photo (26)

Truly, I should have posted about this wine around Thanksgiving, but – duh- I didn’t.  Which is to say, that I’ve been marveling at this wine’s awesomeness for weeks.  I think it is absolutely gorgeous.  In fact, I don’t know if I’ve had an Alsatian white that I liked quite as much as this before.  It’s balance and texture are truly sublime.  “Gentil” is a term for a traditional blending of Alsatian grapes, so I gather.  It’s sort of a serendipitous name, in my modern American mind, because one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of this wine is gentle.  It is gentle and effortless, smooth and silky, refined and elegant.  Hugel et Fils is family owned and boasts over twelve generations of winemaking.  A nice tropical and floral nose is prominent, with aromas of kumquat, pineapple, lemon zest and lavender.  All of which are well-integrated and not in your face; gentle.  The palate is mouth-coating and has a touch of the oily-ness that is often found in Alsatian whites.  Calling something oily sounds disgusting, but it’s actually very pleasant- in this wine in particular, it feels like the wine is gently caressing your mouth.  Whoah.  Sorry, that got a little froo-froo sounding.  But it’s actually true!  The finish is tart, a bit dry, and thirst-quenching.  Really an exceptional value at just $15.

Onto the reds!

Decendientes de J. Palacios “Petalos” Mencia, 2010 Spain, Bierzo  $22 

photo 2 (14)

“Well helloooooo, lover!”  That’ what you should be saying to this wine.  First of all, I love the packaging on this bottle.  It’s just plain pretty.  Simple, pretty, and memorable.  This wine is my jam, y’all.  And it’s actually a lot of people’s jam, because it got a spot on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012, and a 93-point rating.  Mad props.  This wine has scored well most of the past few years, and it remains as delicious and consistant as ever.  So let’s start with the grape- Mencia!  Never heard of it?  I’m not surprised, although you might want to commit it to memory, because there are a lot of good ones out there, and it’s currently experiencing a bit of “trending” in the wine world.  Think of Mencia as a love child between a Tempranillo and maybe an earthy, cool grape like Carignan or Syrah.  It’s deceptively dark in color, a deep purple- the body is packed with fruit, but it is not weighed down in the slightest.  It’s what I like to call a drinker.  One of my more creative titles for a wine, I know.  But as I’ve elaborated before, a drinker is a wine that, upon completion of first sip, leaves your mouth with such a perfect acidic “quench” that you’d have to be straight-up cray not to desire another sip.  Or bottle.

So a beautiful nose of rose petals and violets will greet you, followed by a plush, plummy palate of red fruits, blackberry, and a perfect amount of fresh herbs- thyme and sage, mainly- plus a touch of peppercorn.  And again, the finish has such great lift, you’re gonna want to drink lots n’ lots.  Would be a great pairing for a roasted gamey meat- lamb?  Or- my personal love- a charcuterie plate filled with bountiful amounts of cured ham, sausage, and lots of cheeeeeeese.

One more!  And then I sign off…

Orin Swift “Locations F-1”, 2011 France  $22

photo 3 (4)

We’ve been sellin’ the bejeezus outta this wine for a few weeks!  The middle child in the “Locations” line by Orin Swift winemaker Dave Phinney, this is the French sibling.  As indicated by the giant letter F on the bottle.  The trio will be completed in Spring of 2013 with an Italian “I” family member (are you seeing a pattern emerging here?).  The idea behind this project is to blend fruit from major wine regions (aka locations) in each country.  So this wine here is a blend of Grenache from Roussillon, Syrah from the Rhone, and various unspecified Bordeaux varietals.  To me, it drinks like a Cotes du Rhone but with a nice creamy addition of vanilla and a bit of oak, and more fruit-forward.  It’s bright, fun, and remarkably easy to drink.  A sensible, straight-forward, yet playful wine that just begs to be drunk now.  It’s a great price point as well- most of the Orin Swift California wines are more in the high $30’s -$40’s, so at $22 it’s just a notch into the “treat yourself” territory.  But there won’t be any next-day “why did I open that” regret!  In fact, the next day you’ll probably want to buy another one.

Well, I started this at 11:30, and now it’s 3:30.   Along the way, I have tasted 17 additional wines from various distributors.  So that has been my day.  Jealous yet?  You should be.  My job rocks.

I’m formulating a “Best Wines of 2012” post for next week, and that will likely be all you hear from me this year.  ALL the wines listed in this post will be open this week either by the glass, or at Saturday’s tasting from 12-2!  So, please stop in and grab a taste or two or four!

A little Fun with the French!

This Tuesday morning has me feeling a bit on the French side. Why?

who’s that in the background? Penelope Garcia!

Well, really because two of my favorite wines of recent have been French.  Actually, there’s a third that I’ll throw in at the end; also French. So three altogether.  But the first two are especially crucial because I absolutely LOVE Frenchies that exhibit tremendous value!  There are still plenty of those in the world, so let’s get started with these guys…

Oooh, lookie here!  A view inside my fridge:

a stunning view! really, I didn’t pre-arrange this. This is it.

Alright, so my fridge isn’t always the prettiest sight, but right now it’s not too bad.  Sadly, that bottle of Rose is way past it’s prime, but it remains in the fridge until the next time I am inspired to edit some items out. Psssshhhtt.  Whatev.

So this wine is the Kimmeridgien Chardonnay, 2010 from Jean Marc Brocard.  It sells for $16, which is a solid deal for a fantastic white Burgundy.  I’ve actually loved this wine for several vintages past, and whenever it’s made it’s way to our retail shelves in the past few years, it’s always sold very well and has been much loved.  It’s truly a perfect expression of this soil type!  “Kimmeridgian” actually is a soil type; or rather a basin of Limestone that runs all the way through Champagne, the Loire, and Burgundy.  Now, I didn’t do so well in Geology class, and really I have only a slightly better than average knowledge of soil types. But based on the best of my understanding, this particular soil makes particularly good wine (Chardonnay, especially) because it is a Limestone-based soil that is nice n’ chalky.  Not to be a total nerd, but it’s actually pretty cool that this soil type and this wine are named for an actual Geological …. um… thing.  That’s about all I can say about that.  Except one more thing- I had a reaalllly hot Geology TA in college named Luke. Fin.

So, this wine is good.  Here’s why: it has a gorgeous golden straw color and a very distinctive Chablis nose of citrus peel, chalk, a hint of gunflint, soap, and fresh tart green apples.  Stainless steel fermentation makes it’s palate very lean and taut, with razor-like focus and searing acidity.  The finish lingers for at least a minute, and shows off a slight touch of hazelnut and a little something floral.  A truly beautiful wine that drinks effortlessly, and might make you think twice about what Chardonnay is capable of.

Next freakout of the week: St. Cosme Cotes du Rhone, 2011!

THE JAM.

Recently given 90 points by Wine Spectator, this guy is set on world-domination!  That is how FREAKING good this wine is.  And, I’m going to go ahead and call that this wine WILL definitely be on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012.  Why??  Well, like I said, it’s freaking delicious, it got 90 Points (a requirement to be on said list) and it sells for a ridiculous $15!!  Which is stone. cold. RIDIC.

It seems this wine is mostly Syrah, but despite a bit of hunting, I can’t be sure.  To me it doesn’t really matter.  Some past vintages of this bottling have been 100% Syrah, and some have had Grenache.  This wine literally explodes!  An extremely vibrant nose of violets, raw meat (if you’ve never smelled that, it actually smells delicious rather than gross), blackberries, licorice, sandalwood, plums, anise, black pepper… I could really keep going, but hopefully you get the gist.  The palate is quenchy, silky, perfectly balanced and juicy.  This is the absolute epitome of an everyday red wine, in my book.  I know I could drink it every day.  Actually, I think I have had it every day since last Wednesday.

The other cool thing is that Chateau de St. Cosme is currently getting an absolute slew of amazing ratings (think high 90’s), and it’s totally awesome that they have an entry-level red that is this great of a price.  I’d still love this wine even if it didn’t have high-rollin’ big sisters, but it’s still a good selling point.

Alright, one more cool French wine that coincidentally started to blow up in my twitter feed right after we got it in- Shatter Grenache, 2010 Maury, France.  Made by rock star winemakers Joel Gott and Dave Phinney, this wine is a cacophony of wild n’ crazy fruits, spices, and oakyness.  I’d go into much more detail, but my wine-blogging doppelganger The Reverse Wine Snob has written an awesome post on it here, which I can’t really improve on.  We’re currently retailing it for $29, and if you like the sounds of it, come grab one!  That’s all for today.

Jean Francois Merieau “Le Bois Jacou” Gamay, ’10 Touraine

Anyone in need of a perfect Summer red?

I did the hard work for you, and found one!

Granted, it was not really very hard at all- in fact it was easy.  A fellow ginger wine nerd friend of mine happens to sell this wine.  And we were all like, hey, we need some new juice.  And he was all like, hey, this one’s the bomb, y’all will literally feel like a Koala bear crapped a rainbow in your brain if you try it. So we did, and we do, and that’s the story of how we came to have this wine!  *ba-dum-chhhkk*

Image

So I’ve visited this wine a few times in the last two weeks (visited is a word I like to use that means DRANK), and it it truly sublime.  I’ve only ever written about one other Gamay, the Verdier & Logel Cotes du Forez (see here), which really was one of my favorite wines of 2011.  And customers seemed to like it, too.  And as I said in that post, Gamay is an awesome Fall red.  The flavor profile falls in very nicely with a various sundry of Fall-flavored culinary delights; this is true.  But it begs to be mentioned that Gamay is a PERFECT Summer red, too!  And egads, do we ever need good Summer reds here in Cola.  Seeing as how it lasts almost half the year.  Most of you know me to be a huge fan of whites and pinks in the summer, but you can’t escape the need for a nice red now and then, even when it’s 95 degrees.

Image

So why, exactly?  Well, first of all- this wine is most delicious slightly chilled.  No need to stress about exactly how slight a chill- just stick it in the fridge for 10 or 15 minutes and you’ll be good to go.  And if you forget to do that, and you think you might rather have a root canal than wait 15 minutes for your wine to chill- take an ice cube- drop it in the glass with the wine- swirl it around for 30 seconds, and then take the ice cube out.  You should be good to go.  Some may consider that sacrilegious, but it works.

So now you have a slightly chilled glass of red wine and it’s hot out, and you desire something easy to sip, low in alcohol/high in acid, and fun to drink; since Summer is fun and all.  Cha-CHING!  This wine is all of those things.  What I like most about Gamay in general is that it is incredibly friendly and vibrant.  It gives you all it’s awesome right up front.  But not in a slutty Lindsay Lohan kind of way.  Just a quirky, glad-to-know-ya kind of way.

There are so many fun flavors and aromas to be found; it leans towards darker fruit up front (plums, a hint of black cherry) but also plenty of characteristic Gamay bright red fruit (strawberries, pomegranates, raspberries).  The nose is a bit exotic- herbal notes of sage, violets and fresh lavender, followed by a touch of grass, black pepper, and a bit of lemon that gives the finish a nice lift.  It tastes like a wine that was grown in a specific place (well- duh, all wine is).  But this one really encapsulates it’s terroir beautifully and with spunk.  It is fresh and happy to be alive.

Image

So that’s about all I got to say about this wine, and I highly recommend you stop in and try a glass, or take a bottle home for $15.  I’m going to keep drinking it and watching The Fugitive.  Happy Monday Funday!

Charmeroy Brut Rose, NV France

“Ain’t nobody dope as me, I taste so fresh and clean…”

"don't you think I'm so sexy, I'm dressed so fresh and clean!"

"I love when you stare at me, I taste so fresh and clean."

A moment of sheer genius struck me two days ago as we revisited this wine with the staff- there is NOBODY as dope as this Brut Rose, it’s just SO fresh and CLEAN!!   I can’t stand it.  What is it about Champagne (actually, this is technically a sparkling wine) that makes it so freaking perfect for SO many occasions?  here’s one occasion that occurred last weekend in Edisto:

this guy is maybe *not* so fresh and clean... but the wine is.

Beach?  Bubbles!  Trying to get a jump start on Christmas shopping online?  Bubbles!  A small or large Holiday get-together?  Bubbles!  Friday afternoon?  Thursday at lunchtime?  Bubbles.  Especially pink ones.   And especially THESE.

What’s so good about this?  Well, it smells like strawberries and cream, raspberries, and sweet tarts.  It has a delicate mousse (or bubbly-ness, in technical terms), a lovely thirst quench, and a hint of tart green apple on finish.  And as it turns out, it’s quite an interesting blend of grapes: Merlot, Pinot Noir and a little bit of Chenin Blanc.  Not your typical sparkler, that’s for sure.  The best part?  It’s affordable!  Like super-affordable!  We’ll be slingin’ it at this Saturday’s (10/29) wine sale from 12-2 for 11 bucks!  

Just to temp you even more, doesn’t it look inviting in this frosty glass?

mmmm... pink n' frothy.

I’m pretty stoked that I got to combine two of my favorite things, Outkast and Pink Bubbly in one blog post!  I would pay a large sum of money to see Andre 3000 and Big Boi together.  A girl can dream.  Until then, at least I have scratched old CD’s and Charmeroy Brut Rose.  Can’t make it to the sale on Saturday?  This little pinky is also By The Glass, and will definitely be making an appearance at our next Champagne Tuesday!

Verdier & Logel Gamay, 2009 Cotes du Forez

Here is the latest in my “unusual fall reds” quest for Fall 2011!  Gamay.  Yes, yes- the same grape that will forever be linked with the phenomenon that is Beaujolais Nouveau.  A phenomenon that has never really grabbed ahold of me, personally.  But its a fun celebration none-the-less.  But let’s not talk about that; let’s instead discuss this particular Fun Fall Red!  

The latest Cellar on Greene acquisition from Sour Grapes Wine is this Domaine Verdier-Logel “Cuvee des Gourmets”, 2009 France.  So what exactly is so fun about this ‘lil guy?  DUH- it tastes good!  And DUH number two- it’s inexpensive!  $12 retail, to be exact.  But back to the tasting good part.  This wine is magnificently vibrant, which is what I enjoy most about it.  There’s so much excitement going on in this bottle.  Its pure and clear aromas of cherry blossoms, violets, and a hint of something metallic are inviting.  A delicious, tart palate of sour cherry, dried raisins and blackcurrants, and no shortage of black peppery spice.  All that spice, coupled with high acidity and low alcohol make this a truly perfect food wine!  Any kind of poultry (quail, anyone?!), a sharp cheese… I’m even thinking this wine could take on a light cream sauce?  mmmm.

purty

I even took this wine for a little stroll with my camera earlier, to try to capture its really beautiful color!  It was a short walk, but I managed to get a decent picture.  Thanks iPhone!

Forez. Not Fez.

So what about this place on the label, Cotes du Forez?  No, not Cotes du Fez.  Turns out it’s a relatively new AOC (aka officially recognized wine region), roughly located in the Loire Valley, but also fairly close to Burgundy.  It’s fairly small and Gamay is its only planted grape.  Legend holds there is some Gamay Rose to be found there- which really intrigues me.  The producer of this wine, Domaine Verdier-Logel, is apparently one of the better known producers in this little region, and they seem fairly legit- Organic winemaking to boot.  Pretty cool.  This wine is particularly true to it’s nature, in my book- something very common in much of Sour Grapes Wine’s portfolio.  Now their SC salesperson, however…  Also, I came across this very well-written post about the 2010 vintage of this wine here, for anyone interested!

So feel free to grab a wee taste of this the next time you’re in our neck of the woods!  It’s currently by the glass, so it’ll be open for the tasting for the foreseeable future.  Before I dip out for the day, allow me to digress for a minute with a small rant to this site, who linked my Zweigelt post a few weeks ago.  Mind you, this is a wordpress site created by a marketing team.  Which should be fairly evident, but in case there was any doubt.  Hey peeps- thanks for the ping.  However, there is a definite sort of back-handed compliment air floating around.  My blog is designed to take strange things (like Zweigelt, which IS strange to my intended audience) and make them fun and accessible.  Sorry if my “rendition” of the history of Zweigelt wasn’t up to par.  The information I provided was not false.  Is there more to it?  Maybe.  My intention was to make the history of the grape memorable and fun.  I find people remember things better when they have a humorous association to go along with it.  At least normal people.

Also, they presumed me a “he”.  Which is never really appreciated by we “she’s”.  You can go ahead and fix that anytime.

Orin Swift “D66” 2009 France… yup, France!

Orin, Orin, Orin… so many new releases this year, I can barely keep up!  And you continue to impress, especially with your label art…

Simple, graphical color-blocking.  I like.  What’s inside?  A blend of mostly Grenache, with a little Syrah and a little Carignan.  So, it’s a Rhone blend?  Well, yes… sort of.  It has broken the mold of Rhone blends.  Shattered it, actually, into a million pieces.

Now I’m no Fancy Sommelier, but if I blind-tasted this wine, I don’t think I’d have ever guessed it was from France.  Spain would’ve been my best guess, probably Jumilla.  Although I wouldn’t have faulted myself for this error, since Vin de Pays de Cotes Catalanes is practically in Spain.  This wine actually reminds me a bit of the “I-will-live-forever-in-cult-infamy” wine from Bodegas El Nido called CLIO, which is a Monastrell-Cab blend.  Many have fallen victim to it’s charms and never recovered, destined to one day be on a therapist’s couch whimpering “Once I tried the Clio, nothing ever really impressed me again.”

But that was before they met D66.  This is a true Orin Swift wine- rich, opulent, hedonistic, and seductive.  Almost black in color, it’ll coat your glass with it’s silky layers of dark fruit, spice, and moist earth.  Notes of bitter cherry, raisins, toasty vanilla, and exotic Asian spices are all perfectly balanced out in it’s 15.2 alcohol content.   A nice amount of tannin on the finish distinguishes it from just your average big nasty fruit bomb.  It’s truly gorgeous.  If I were you, I’d snap one up quickly as these wines sell out faster than you can say terroir.

If I may use a clever analogy, the D66 is sort of like French Wine Meets Monster Truck Rally.  “SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!  ORIN SWIFT DOES FRANCE!  Death-defying stunts and POWER POWER POWER!”  Okay, so I’ve never been to a Monster Truck Rally, but I have memories singed into my consciousness of those TV commercials.  I don’t mean to trivialize the D66 by any means, but this is just where my mind went with it.  Call it French wine on Steroids.  Call it French wine “juiced up.”  Call it whatever you want.  It’s a beast.  Enjoy.

This wine is currently in stock at Cellar on Greene for $42.  Check out Orin Swift Cellars Website for more info on all their juice.