Sparkling Month: Gamine Grenache Rosé Pétillant, 2014

Say hello to Gamine Grenache Rosé Pétillant!

mischief managed.

mischief managed.

This little doll is about as charming as they come. I’ve written about Division Wine Co. before, but this wine fresh from winemaker Kate Norris’ personal project, Gamine Wines. Gamine means a girl with a mischievous charm. As a lover of words in general, I’m a fan of this one.  This is an enchanting wine, starting with the fact that its made from Grenache: Grenache from Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley. Grenache is a grape I don’t typically associate with sparkling wine. There’s nothing specific that makes it wrong for sparkling (to me), but especially in a hot climate like Southern Oregon, it has the potential to turn into a hulking monster of a red wine. Alcohol contents can get super high in Grenache in general, which is what makes this wine such an altogether pleasant surprise!

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Delicate, girly, coy… and yes, a little mischievous. Pale pink, with a faint and fine bead. The nose is subtle at first, but becomes a bit more revealing after a few minutes. FullSizeRender (11)Strawberry, cherry pit, fragrant herbs & cantaloupe, leaving you with a fun zesty tingle on the tongue. Given its Pet Nat status, the sparkle that’s found here is a light one, but it doesn’t deflate and leave you wanting more- it maintains it’s fine effervescence. Actually, this wine also drinks well on day two! I opened it last night and kept it overnight with a bubble-topper, and its still razor-sharp. The actual bubbles are no longer with us, but at this point it drinks like  a light, clean, tart rosé. Which is never a bad thing.

Pet Nat sparkling has often been described as “rustic”, and with due reason- but in this case, while there is a touch of that little funk, its a very refined wine. It is sophisticated and ultra-feminine. Normally I resist the use of gender assignment when it comes to wine (because 2015), but this wine just speaks femininity to me. In all forms, not just the light, flirty, girly side of femininity- the general badass side, too. Like this:

... or maybe it's just what I'm listening to currently.

Her walk is mean, yo.

This wine will cost you a ridiculous $26. There’s no ‘this was a sample’ disclosure here. I crushed hard on this wine and bought a couple, along with the Gamine Syrah, which is likewise ridiculously good. That wine is so good, actually, that I don’t even want to tell you about it because I’m concerned it will sell out and I won’t get to have any more. I believe the PetNat was only about 70 cases made, so that too is something  you’re gonna want to get your paws on rather soon, IMO. I think this wine is a really fantastic step for Oregon sparkling in general. A year ago if you would have told me there was a PetNat Grenache Rosé coming out of Southern Oregon, I might’ve looked at you CRAYzy.

One last side note- I love these labels! And to no one’s surprise, the talented Maija Rebecca did the watercolors for the Gamine wines. Love. Her.

I love this wine. It reminds me of pale pink lipstick, parasols, dimples, muddy pink rain boots, a sunny field of lavender, beachy hair waves, and Queen Anne’s lace. How’s that for free-association?

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Beast of the Week- Orin Swift Abstract, 2012

It’s cold out, y’all.  What does that mean?  It’s time for a beast of a red wine!  Stop looking, because you’ve just found it.  After all, who does beast better than Orin Swift?  Maybe a few.  But not with the same kind of finesse.  So, I write to you today from under a fleece blanket, wearing a hoodie, having refused to turn on the heat last night.  House is a balmy 66 degrees.  It’s mornings like today’s that cause conversations like this to take place:

hash tag- bed tweet.

hash tag- bed tweet.

So now that I’ve managed to get out of bed without the assistance of a wifi-enabled thermostat that also makes coffee (speaking of which- I would marry this gadget if it existed), we can talk about this gigantic beast of a wine!  Yep, it’s early, but it’s okay.  You need this wine in your life to get through these first painful days of “winter”.  Been itching to build that first fire of the year?  Plan on it, plan on a bottle of this to go with it, and you’ll be a happy camper.  This wine is good for sipping on it’s own after dinner- not that it wouldn’t be good with food, but it’s rich palate makes it great as a stand-alone.

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Look at that!  A way cool label.  Something Orin Swift Wines also excels at.  The last vintage of the Abstact was an all-black label, with raised, textured pictures on it.  Also pretty cool, but this one is a little more eye-catching.  So the 2012 is a blend of Grenache, Petite Sirah and Syrah of undisclosed percentages.  The fruit was sourced from Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Amador and El Dorado.  The nose has a nice California Grenache-y wildness- some high notes of herbs, red raspberry and a hint of fresh flowers.  Give the glass a swirl, however, and be prepared for vanilla, vanilla, vanilla- and some intense blackberry liqueur, black cherry, dark chocolate and black licorice.  Sage, pepper and a touch of clove are hiding in there, too.  I should also mention that this wine is a whopping 15.7% alcohol- heat is definitely a trademark of Orin Swift wines, but the booze is carried here gracefully and without awkwardness.  Like this:

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She’s in a chariot, in case you can’t tell.  I searched long and hard for a better image, but no luck.  AND in case you don’t know who this is- ONLY one of the greatest, most deliciously vile female characters ever written- Atia of the Julii.  Love. Her.  

This wine greets you with flashy, dark fruit and leaves you with a brooding spice content and a bit of tannin.  That’s always what I’ve liked about the Abstract, in particular- it’s pensive and dark and a little closed.  The Prisoner is eager to meet you and smiles a toothy grin; the Abstract stares you down for a few minutes before agreeing to shake your hand.  Once it does, it is generous, hangs on firmly, and does not disappoint.  I consider this wine to be a steal at $28 retail.  It is for sale at Cellar on Greene as we speak, so I suggest hopping to it before it’s too late!  Orin Swift wines are almost always scantily available, and once November and December roll around, even more so.  Happy drinking!