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- ROSÉ WINES
We are mildly amused by the reaction of most people to the
thought of drinking a rosé or pink wine. "Oh, no! We don't want anything
Or: "We want real wine."
Years ago, in the late-1960s and early 1970s, the fashionable wines were Blue Nun
Liebfraumilch, Mouton-Cadet from Bordeaux, a straw-covered bulb-shaped bottle from Tuscany
and a pair of Portuguese pink wines. Mateus came in a flagon, while Lancer's was put
into a "crock" bottle. From France came "Nectar-Rose," a
Cabernet rosé from the Loire Valley. Almaden, then a large winery in San Jose and
Hollister, used to make a delightful Grenache Rosé. Paul Masson made a fizzy
rosé called "Crackling Rosé." Naturally, these wines were sweet, relying on
sugar for their character.
In Mediterranean regions where people have been drinking wines for more than a few
years, rosé wines are not uncommon. In fact, they're embraced with tremendous
In Spain, for example, we found many restaurants with a dozen or two rosé
a couple of whites and then the obligatory 30-50 red wines. And the wines there are
not sugary, sweet insipid excuses for wine. They can be flavorful and stone, bone
France produces many wonderful
The Rhone Valley's
"Tavel" is famous and usually expensive (compared to other pink
wines...That is not longer the case, with some wines from Provence
costing a pretty penny).
appellation is seen only on the pink wine; you won't find a white or red
version of Tavel. Grenache is "the" grape of this famed rosé.
The famous Cabernet
vintner, Joe Heitz, made a stellar Rosé of a grape they were led to believe was
Provence also produces a wide array of
pink wines, especially famous being those from Bandol. In
Provence, by the way, the wines with a more light orange/onion skin/pale
salmon color are highly prized. They don't care much for deep cherry
red colored pink wines. As mentioned earlier on this page, some
of the pink wines of Provence now can be extremely pricey.
Bordeaux even offers
yet where are you likely to find that? These wines, you
see, never attain high numerical scores in the various journals because these are simply
not fancy enough for wine geeks.
California has been producing rosé wines for decades. They were typically made
when red grapes didn't achieve a sufficient degree of ripeness to make a big red wine.
Then, when growers planted tons of red grapes in the early 1970s, the market wanted
fruity wines and wineries obliged making "white wines" (well, they were not
red...some were pink or had the color of onion skins) from red grapes. Some were not
saleable as "rosé," but sold as Blanc de Noir, snobby wine drinkers
In the early 1970s, almost every winery seemed to have a rosé! Caymus called
its rosé "Oeil de Perdrix" (Eye of the Partridge) and the wine was made of
Robert Mondavi made a beautiful Gamay Rosé from Napa Valley fruit. At
a dinner where I was trying to translate Italian and English for Mr. Mondavi
and a prominent Barolo winemaker, we spoke about wines from the first decade
of "Robert Mondavi Winery" and I mentioned this Gamay Rosé and
his eyes lit up.
"That was a good wine!" he cried.
And he was right!
used to make a dynamite "Petite Sirah Rosé."
Sebastiani had "Eye of
When this wine hit the market on its annual release
day, we knew it was Spring Time!
The Heitz family sold the winery in 2018 and its new owners have made a number
of changes, including (at least for now) not making this fabulous wine.
Those grapes are now used for a simple sparkling wine called
While the Heitz Rosé was remarkably floral and a fruit basket (we suspect many
of the vines are not actually Grignolino, but likely Brachetto), the fizzy
Brendel wine is one dimensional and far less fragrant.
Mill Creek, in Sonoma's Healdsburg, made a Cabernet Sauvignon
as did Simi nearby. The Kreck family (as in Mill Kreck) copyrighted
or trademarked the term
"Blush" for its "Cabernet Blush." Other wineries, finding this
term to have marketing power, could call their pink wines "Blush" wines only if
they paid a royalty fee to the Krecks!
Eventually, though, the term became a popular description for virtually any
Rosé and it was easier for consumers to remember and pronounce
(than "Blanc de Noirs" or "Oeil de Perdrix).
The Kreck family continues to make a pink wine, but these days it's simply
labeled as Cabernet
David Bruce was one of the first to make a "Blanc de Noirs," produced from
Zinfandel, if memory serves. This was a brownish, onion-skin-colored wine.
Magnani at Grand Cru Vineyards in the Sonoma Valley made a "Nouveau"-styled
wine, as well as a Blanc de Noirs. Sutter Home, at that time a producer of
"serious," big Zinfandels from Amador County fruit, made a "Blanc de
Noirs." This was a "White Zinfandel" and theirs was a bit sweet.
This turned into a massively popular wine and made the Trinchero family wealthy in
no time! They had struck gold!
I was affiliated with a small winery in those ancient days. This place made
really good, bone dry rosé wines of Grignolino, Petite Sirah, Cabernet, etc. I took
these to a snobby, snooty San Francisco wine shop. The owner or manager laughed when
I presented these wines, not even wanting to taste them! "We
don't sell rosé in this store!" he proudly informed me.
I was disheartened,
but amused at the same time. For, you see, right next to the sales counter was a
stack of rosé wine! But it was sold as a Blanc de Noirs table (still) wine.
It was from
Domaine Chandon and called "Tâche Nature."
rosé by any other
Today there is still a large sea of White Zinfandel. Most of this is made from
over-cropped vineyards in California's massive Central Valley. The grapes have very
little character, yet when made as a somewhat sweet wine, they manage to find a market for
Making a flavorful, good quality pink wine, call it rosé, blush, vin gris or
anything else you like, is a tricky piece of work.
To achieve the right color, most winemakers macerate the grape skins, which offer
color, tannin, flavor and fragrance, for some modest amount of time. Too short a
period and the wine lacks color and flavor. Too long a maceration period and the
wine becomes too dark and perhaps even a bit astringent (from the tannin).
Large, behemoth factories would make rosé wine by merely "coloring" a tank
of white wine with some very dark red. If you add a few gallons of inky, dark
Alicante Bouschet to a tank of Colombard or Thompson Seedless white wine:
Voilà! Rosé (or the terrible term : "Blush Chablis").
Ferment the wine until it is bone dry. Then add grape concentrate or unfermented or
partially-fermented juice to achieve the exact amount of sweetness desired.
Today many California winemakers 'bleed' off liquid from their fermentation
tanks full of juice and grape skins. This allows them to have a
greater skin-to-juice ratio and make, perhaps, a bigger red wine.
doing so, they end up making small amounts of pink wine.
This process is called Saignée, a French term for "bleeding."
Since these grapes cost a fortune, many vintners feel obliged to charge a
And so the term "bleeding" may have more than one significance.
Keep in mind, though, producers whose first interest is "rosé"
wine are making theirs from fruit picked at a modest sugar level.
is rather different from these California winemakers who are picking grapes
at a potential alcohol level of 15% or more. Rosé wines with elevated
alcohols simply miss the mark...
Okay. That's the scoop on rosé and pink wine.
SOME ROSÉS WE LIKE:
UMATHUM 2019/2020 "ROSA" $18.99
- One of
the top, elite winemakers of Austria is a guy named Josef Umathum. His
beautiful cellar is located in the Burgenland and you'll need an hour and a
half, typically to drive there from Vienna.
We were so delighted by his 2012 Rose, that I trekked to the cellar a few years to pay homage to this fellow and to taste his other wines!
If you would have told us that the 2012 Rose from an Austrian vintner would
be our best-selling pink wine over the years, I'd have suggested you have your
Seriously? Are you nuts?
Or as young folks say today, "WTF?"
But, I kid you not...this wine was so well received, we were shocked.
People who had never bought Rose wines were returning to buy 6 or 12 bottles
It still is quite popular and customers can't easily remember the name
Umathum, but they do remember the distinctive bottle and the glass stopper.
The 2019 is now in stock It's a blend of
three varieties which are relatively unknown in these parts: Zweigelt,
Blaufränkisch and Saint Laurent. This has some nice red fruit notes to
it...raspberries...cherries...it's dry and even has a suggestion of tannin,
adding to its 'dry' character. The color is light red and
certainly youthful. The 2020 has also arrived...we tasted a bottle
fresh-off-the-boat and it was a shade less aromatic than the 2019, but this may
be due to a bit of bottle shock from its 5 or 6 weeks in transit.
Umathum does not use a screw-cap for this wine, nor does he use a cork.
Instead, this comes in a special proprietary bottle and it's sealed with a glass
stopper. All you need is a thumb to open this and based upon consumer
reaction, this is worthy of a "thumbs up"!!!
Winemaker Josef "Pepi" Umathum in his new cellar...he makes a lot
of red wine, so there's an impressive room full of small oak barrels.
The Rosa wine is not aged in oak, however.
ARNOT ROBERTS 2020 ROSÉ $29.99
Arnot Roberts is a small winery located in
Sonoma County's Healdsburg area.
They are viewed as being somewhat of a contrarian producer, but in fact, this is
simply a case of what's-old-is-new-again.
They are credited with making wines more similar to European offerings, meaning
they tend to have lower alcohol than is currently normal in California and that
corresponds to higher levels of acidity.
Even many European winemakers pick grapes of higher sugar levels (and often
lower acidity) to produce wines for today's wine critic (and many consumers).
We've tasted Arnot Roberts wines for a number of years and often find the wines
are well-made and correct, but perhaps lacking in character.
They will argue this is because of picking fruit based on the parameters of
lower alcohol and bracing acidity.
Perhaps their wines will age beautifully and evolve into something particularly
The 2020 vintage Rosé caught our eye, though.
It's from a vineyard in Lake County owned by the Luchsinger Family. This
father and daughter team have an interesting range of grapes, including some
This estate is maybe 32 miles north of Calistoga, close to the western edge of
Arnot Roberts ferments a mixed blend of varieties for their 2020 vintage
Rosé. It's said to be about 68% Touriga Nacional with Gamay Noir,
Cabernet Franc and a small percentage of Grenache. Happily they did the
fermentation in stainless steel and bottled it early to capture the red berry
fruit notes we look for in fresh, bright pink wines.
It's bone dry and crisp.
DOMAINE LE GALANTIN 2020 BANDOL
We've periodically had the Rosé from Le Galantin over the
past few vintages.
The estate is about a 40 minute drive east of Marseille and it's run by a
Jérôme and Céline are the dynamic duo at Le Galantin, some 66 miles southwest
from Cannes, where locals and tourists enjoy copious quantities of
We tasted the 2017 while in Europe early in 2018 and it was one of the most
memorable wines of the trip.
We've now had 4 or 5 vintages of Le Galantin's Bandol Rosé and the 2020 has
More famous in these parts is the Bandol Rosé of Domaine Tempier (very
expensive and priced north of $50 when it's available), but this wine
is worth trying as it's both well-priced and good quality.
The Mourvèdre grape is dominant here, accounting for about 60% of the
wine. There's maybe 25% Cinsault and 15% Grenache.
Bone dry and mouth-wateringly crisp...
Oysters? Crab? Fried Calamari?
The domaine, by the way, makes a very small amount of white wine (the 2020 is in
the shop at $22.99) and their Bandol Rouge is far and away the best bargain from
this appellation priced well less than $30!
TORMARESCA 2020 "ROSATO" IGT
SALENTO (PUGLIA) $15.99
The famous Tuscan family of Antinori is attempting
to take over the world with its wine productions and they've been working in
Southern Italia's Puglia for more than 20 years now.
We've tasted some well-made bottles from this outpost but can't recall having
anything in the shop.
We tried a delicious 2020 vintage Rosato made entirely of the Negro Amaro grape
and it's a most pleasant surprise.
We saw they use a different label in Europe or other markets for the same
vintage of the same wine.
Perhaps their marketing partners think the colorful, cartoonish label is better
suited for the US market?
They might be correct, though, since the bottle does stand out amongst the
bottles of good, dry Rosé in the shop.
Of course, we are more interested in how the wine performs in the glass than
with how it looks on the table and we were quite surprised to find such bright,
fresh aromatics here: raspberries and pomegranate with a cherry note.
The wine is dry and seemed to have a touch of fizziness to it.
It's quite a good bottle and, unusual for Antinori's wines, it's well-priced!
DOMAINE SORIN 2019 CÔTES DE PROVENCE ROSÉ $12.99
The Sorin winery has been around since the mid-1990s, so it's
not one of those ancient, historic estates with five generations of winemaking.
Luc Sorin launched the property in 1994, owning some parcels in the prestigious
Bandol appellation and some "merely" in Provence.
He hails from Burgundy and has a good knowledge of making Pinot Noir which some
people say is why his red wines are more elegant and polished than typical
He has approximately 14 hectares of vineyards and makes a modest range of wines.
We've found his wines to generally be good and his 2019 Côtes de Provence Rosé
is very fine and well-priced to boot.
We've found conflicting notes as to the blend of this wine and Sorin doesn't
have a web site presently in operation. An old version indicated this
"Terra Amata" Rosé was based on Grenache with Syrah, Cinsault,
Carignane and a mere 10% of Mourvèdre
It's dry, moderately aromatic and berryish and it tastes great with picnic fare
and lighter foods.
POJER e SANDRI "VIN DEI
MOLINI" 2016 "ROSATO" Sold Out
- Ever heard of a grape called Rotberger?
You're not alone if you said "no."
It's a variety that the University at Geisenheim in Germany's Rheingau
came up with in 1939. The crossing is Riesling with Schiava.
In the Sudtirol Schiava goes by its German name, Vernatsch.
The red grape Schiava is a bit weak in color, so making it into a pink
wine is sheer genius. But making it into a really aromatic and
delicious rosato takes some skill and attention to detail.
We suspect this will be the best Rotberger Rosé you've ever
It has a faintly herbal note along the lines of some Sauvignon Blanc
wines. Maybe a touch of cassis, too.
Dry and light, yet with plenty of flavor, we enjoyed this recently with
- Damned good.
The new importer for Pojer e Sandri was uncertain about his
customers being interested in such an esoteric wine, but now he's sorry he
didn't bring in more!
DOMAINE LAFOND ROC-EPINE
- This smallish, family property is located in Tavel, but they also make
basic Côtes-du-Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Lirac.
Jean-Pierre and Pascal Lafond trace the family history back to the 1780s
and they are a reliable source of Tavel Rosé.
The estate, comprising 95 hectares presently, is farmed organically, a decision they made in 2009.
Certification for this came through in 2012.
Their Tavel comes from 21 different vineyard sites with numerous soil
types. They explain this helps produce a wine of greater character
by matching a grape variety to a particular soil. But, for example,
they note the character of their Syrah grapes differs as some is grown on
clay soils and some on limestone.
The blend is typically about 60% Grenache with 10% Cinsault, 10% Syrah and
5% Carignan. The other 15% is a mix of Mourvèdre with three white
grapes: Clairette, Picpoul and Bourboulenc.
The de-stem the grapes and macerate the skins with the juice for about 48
hours at low temps. This helps, they explain, extract not only
color, but also more intense aromatics. The fermentation, which
takes 8 to 10 days (normally), captures intense berry fruit and some
floral tones. They say the wine also has a bit of cellaring
potential, so consumers need not be in a rush to drink bottles within
months of release. Their Tavel, it's been said, can be held for
We have enjoyed this over the short-term. It's darker in color than
the wines from Provence and seems to have a bit more body.
Currently in stock: 2019 DOMAINE LAFOND TAVEL
ARCA NOVA 2020 $9.99
you've been looking for a dynamite example of Rosé made from the
Espadeiro grape, here you go!
It's also got a bit of Touriga Nacional, since it seems to be illegal to
make a Portuguese wine without that grape.
This is a gorgeous example of Vinho Verde and it even has a classic hint of
fizz to it.
The color this year has been a bit lighter than for some previous
vintages, but the fragrances and
flavors are quite similar to the berryish wine of last year...and we noticed
the wine seems to be acquiring more color as it's aging in the bottle.
It's quite crisp and nicely zesty and the wine seems to be quite dry.
This wine seems to cause those who have purchased it to be a bit perplexed.
We routinely see people returning to buy additional bottles after having
purchased a single bottle for "research" purposes.
They cannot believe the wine is "this good and it costs so
Trust your taste.
You don't have to pay an arm and a leg to get a good bottle of Rosé.
But we understand that people feel a little bit guilty. They seem to
think they're stealing or getting away with murder.
ANGEL 2020 CÔTES de PROVENCE ROSÉ Sale $24.99
- This wine company makes a number of Rosé wines and has its home-base in
La Motte, about 45 minutes west of Cannes and an hour and twenty minutes
east of Aix-en-Provence. It's the brainchild of Sasha Lichine whose
father Alexis was a major mover-and-shaker in the wine world who worked in
nearly every phase of the wine industry.
Lichine (Alexis) had purchased a winery in Bordeaux called Château Le Prieuré
which he was able to rename as Château Prieuré-Lichine. This
was a property in the Margaux appellation which was very popular in the
1970s and 1980s, as Lichine offered a good wine at a favorable
price. He died in 1989 and his son Sacha sold the winery and pursued
In 2006 Lichine bought the Château d'Esclans property in Provence and
he's built the business in a most efficient manner. But keep in mind
Château d'Esclans is a wine estate with vineyards while the Whispering
Angel wine comes from the "Caves d'Esclans" which is a negociant
business. They may make some wine and augment the production with
tanks purchased on the bulk market.
They make a few different bottlings, but the one called Whispering Angel
has gained some traction in the market and we get requests for it. I
suspect part of their success is due to having a perfectly satisfactory
wine in a bottle with a brand name that Americans can easily pronounce.
We suspect they've gained a bit of a market thanks to the split up or
divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt who were behind the wine called Château
Miraval. As some consumers are no longer drinking the Rosé of the
Hollywood stars, they've found the "next hot wine" in Whispering
Brad Pitt and winemaker Marc Perrin are continuing to produce Miraval Rosé,
Their 2020 is better than they've had, so that's good news.
So Esclans' Whispering Angel is primarily Grenache with a bit of Cinsault
and the white grape called Rolle.
They say the grapes are picked from sunrise to noon so as to not bring the
fruit in at an elevated temperature. The grapes pass through an
optical sorting machine to kick out anything that's not quite right.
It's fermented in stainless steel tanks and they stir the lees
periodically. Bottled young and fresh, of course.
We've tasted the entire portfolio...perfectly good wines. They make
one called Garrus from seriously old Grenache and Rolle which is fermented
in oak. It retails for about $100 and gives one a different
perspective on Rosé.
But you can buy half a case of more cheerful pink wines for the price of
one bottle of Garrus.
We liked the wine, though but most customers looking for Rosé want
something south of $25 a bottle.
MIRAVAL 2020 ROSÉ $19.99
We had several vintages of what we had known as
the "Brangelina" Rosé, a wine from Provence from a property owned by
actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. They purchased the Miraval estate in
2012. With the divorce of the couple, it seems Mr. Pitt is
continuing with the wine project, telling people he's now a farmer.
The project is now said to be worked by Marc Perrin of the family which runs the
famous Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. But Pitt is said to
take an active role in the business, not merely content to produce a
"celebrity wine" as we so often see.
He's got a deluxe bottling which we have been told comes in magnums and sells
for upwards of $300! Apparently it's targeted at wealthy Hollywood people
who can throw money around like that.
As for the "regular" bottling of Miraval for us "common
The 2020 vintage we tasted is surprisingly good. And it's a few bucks less
now than when they were simply riding on the fame of the celebrities who were
allegedly associated with the vineyards and wine. It mostly comes from the
Miraval estate and a few nearby vineyards.
The wine is said to be Cinsaut, Grenache, Rolle and a little bit of Syrah.
Most of the wine sees only stainless steel, but apparently maybe 5% sees a
neutral oak barrel and they do some lees stirring in hopes of creating a more
We are not sensitive to the battonage, but at such a small percentage, likely
only the winemaker notices this.
We liked the wine because it is redolent of raspberries and strawberries while
being fresh and dry. And it's priced correctly.
Mr. Pitt is also engaged the services of one of our favorite Champagne makers,
Rodolphe Peters and they have a recently released a Brut Rose that's
predominantly Chardonnay with a bit of Pinot Noir...Champagne...
CHÂTEAU DU SEUIL 2020 "Chapelle de Seuil"
This property had been launched as a wine
producing estate in the 1970s and was put up for sale in 2010 due to flagging
sales and the considerable challenges of cultivating vineyards, making wine and
then finding buyers.
It took several years, in fact, to find a buyer for the property and in 2014 the
place was purchased by Agnes and Robert Daussun.
He's the CEO of some prominent investment company after having served in the
French Ministry of Finance.
The Daussuns have poured some money into this place and turned it into not only
a good wine producer, but a venue to parties and events.
He is not delusional about the economic realities of winemaking and we
understand they've poured millions into the project to properly equip the cellar
with tanks and such to allow for the production of top quality wines.
They have temperature-controlled tanks and some elements of gravity flow to more
gently handle the wines in the cellar.
We found their Chapelle du Seuil Rosé to be quite charming and
well-priced. It's 25% each of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Rolle with
10% Syrah, 10% Cinsault and 5% Grenache Blanc. The wine is dry while
displaying fresh fruit on the nose.
And this is from the Coteaux d'Aix -en-Provence appellation, a somewhat
The Daussuns are collectors of posters and lithographs and have designs on some
sort of museum for these.
Apparently with Covid slowing down operations and such, this has yet to be
CHATEAU DE CAMPUGET 2020 COSTIERES DE NÎMES
This 160 hectare estate is situated between
Arles and the town of Nimes and it's owned by the Dalle family. Jean-Lin
Dalle is assisted by his son, Franck-Lin (Jean-Lin's a history buff and has an
appreciation for American founding father Benjamin Franklin). We don't
know if they follow NBA basketball and are fans of sharp-shooter (and former
Golden State Warrior player) Jeremy Lin.
We've found their recipe for Rose to be rather good and the wine arrived at an
attractive price, too.
(We noticed a wine merchant not far from our shop is offering this at a 20%
discount. This sounds mighty attractive until you see the price is $35.)
The 2020 is 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache Noir. Lots of berryish fruit and
the wine is nice and dry.
Tasting at Campuget...
The vineyards...as you can see, they do not employ chemical weed-killer to
CASAL GARCIA VINHO VERDE ROSE $7.99
is a remarkably good, dry pink wine from Portugal...it's from a winery a few
miles outside of Oporto and they're famous for their Vinho Verde.
If you've been searching for a rose made from 30%
Vinhao, 35% Azal Tinto, and 35% Borracal, here's your wine.
It's fresh, strawberryish and slightly sweet, with a faint spritz to it.
Between the fresh and fruity notes and the low price, it's routinely been a
This is a delightful wine, flavorful and low in alcohol.
COMMANDERIE DE LA BARGEMONE
2020 Coteaux d'Aix en Provence ROSÉ $17.99
- The "Commanderie" is a reference to the headquarters in
Provence of the Knights Templar which was located a few miles away from
The Bargemone name is that of a family which owned this property for maybe
200 years and in 1973 the place was purchased by a fellow named
Jean-Pierre Rozan, a French business man. He died in 2006 and now
the place is owned by Christian and Marina Garin.
The property comprises 120 hectares and produces several Rosés and a
couple of white wines.
Organically farmed, too!
Their Rosé is an interesting and slightly unusual blend. So many
pink wines made in Provence are based on Grenache or Mourvèdre, but this
is Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and the somewhat obscure Counoise. They
claim the Cabernet, which ripens late, contributes acidity, while the
Syrah adds a bit of color. The Counoise, they tell us, contributes a
floral and spice note to the wine.
Whatever it is, they're on the right track!
The 2020 vintage is beautifully aromatic and fresh, being dry and mildly
acidic on the palate.
Domaines Ott Rosé 2020 "Chateau de Selle"
(List $56) SALE $49.99
fancy bottle was designed in the 1930s and the Ott family makes one of France's most
esteemed rosé wines in Provence.
The family owns three estates:
Clos Mireille, producing Côtes de Provence white wine and a rosé.
Château Romassan, a Bandol property where they make red, white and rosé.
Château de Selle, their original and oldest holding in the Côtes de Provence where they
make rosé and red wine.
We usually have the Château de Selle Rosé (as well as their Clos Mireille white), a pink
wine vinified from Grenache and Cinsaut with a bit of Syrah and Mourvèdre.
We seem to recall this having had a bit of Cabernet some years ago, but
apparently they've refined the "recipe."
The 2020 is 65% Grenache with 20% Cinsault, 8% Mourvèdre and 7% Syrah.
I think this wine is
best served with Provençal-styled cuisine. Bouillabaisse wouldn't be a bad idea.
Nor would something incorporating saffron.
- CLOS CIBONNE
- This little property is located about an hours' drive east of Marseille
and about an hour and a half west of Nice. You'd need about half an
hour, driving east, from Bandol. And like Bandol, it's within view of
the little harbor of Toulon, where you'd catch a boat to Corsica.
- The domaine takes its name from a sailor who was a captain in Louis The
16th's navy who owned the place in the late 1700s. Captain Jean-Baptiste
de Cibon died in 1797 and the estate was sold to the Roux
Andre Roux, who passed away in 1989, had planted a lot of the Tibouren grape
on the property before World War II.
This variety is rather obscure, but if you drive a couple of hours into
Italy, you may find the same grape which is called Rossese di Dolceacqua.
Some theories postulate this grape originated in the Middle East or
The Roux family still cultivates Tibouren and it's a specialty of this
But this is not a fruity, care-free little wine that's bottled a few months
after the harvest...instead they ferment it in stainless steel, temperature
controlled tanks for about ten days and then it's racked in ancient
cooperage, foudres which are a century old. They typically blend a
small amount of Grenache into the final cuvee. The wine then remains in
those old wooden vats for about a year before it's bottled.
It's a mildly minerally Rose, with an orange-hue to its coloring. The
wine pairs nicely with a classic seafood stew, though the winery web site
claims it's ideal paired with red mullet or a lamb curry.
Currently in stock: 2019 CLOS CIBONNE Tibouren Rose $35.99
Olivier and Claude Deforge
- RIVE SUD 2019 PINOT NOIR ROSE from FRANCE $10.99
now had several vintages of this delightful, simple Pinot Noir Rose from a
fairly large producer in the town of Limoux.
That region is located in the vast Languedoc area and they're a short drive
south of the city of Carcassonne.
Limoux is more noted for a sparkling wine, but this little Rose is a
pleasant surprise and it's well-priced at a mere ten bucks.
The wine takes the appellation of Vin de Pays d'Oc...and it's from high
elevation Pinot Noir vineyards. Hand picked, too!
It's a delicious, mildly cherryish Rose...we've especially liked this with
ham or smoked pork.
DOMAINE De L'HORTUS 2020 $14.99
Orliac family owns this modest domaine, one of the quality leaders in the
Pic St. Loup appellation in the Languedoc.
The photo on the right
shows young François Orliac in their rocky vineyards.
This is the eighth or ninth vintage of their Rosé that we've had in the
shop. It used to be made of juice bled off their red wine production,
starting with the 2015, they've done a direct pressing of the grapes.
It used to be a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache. This vintage is
is just the Grenache and Syrah. You'll find a lot of raspberryish notes in this wine and it's perfect for
taming spicy foods. It's a great picnic wine, too.
AMEZTOI 2020 "RUBENTIS"
- From Spain's Basque country comes this delicious and really crisp, tangy
pink wine. It's perhaps too dry for many people, but if you enjoy
wines with bracing acidity, then you should give this a try.
The center of production for the Basque wine called Txakoli or Txakolina
where they make a dry white wine from two unusual varieties:
Hondarribi Zuri, a white grape and it's blended with the red grape called
Hondarribi Zuri which is vinified as a white wine.
It's a wonderful wine for seafood and in the town of Getaria, the center of
Txakolina production, there's a fishing fleet that brings magnificent fish
to the town's dining hot spots where they do a simple preparation which
elevates the wine to dizzying heights.
Ameztoi is run by Ignacio Ameztoi, the seventh generation to grow grapes and
The wine is low in alcohol, weighing in between 10.5% and 11%. And
they vinify it at low temperatures which allows the wine to retain a bit of
carbon dioxide. It's bottled in its youth to capture a tiny bit of the
effervescence. This actually reinforces the acidity, so if we want to
sell the wine, we'd describe it as "crisp." Marketing people
caution against using the term "tart" as many people will shy away
So we'll tell you this is crisp and leave it at that.
If you're having sushi, tempura, fried fish, fried chicken or some Jamón
Iberico, you might try a bottle of this. While it lasts.
Post-Script: We saw this on the wine list at NOPA in The City and
ordered a bottle to share with some Italian winemaker friends a couple of
years ago. They'd
never has Txakoli and were delighted by the wine (and the food at NOPA).
HEITZ 2018 Napa Valley GRIGNOLINO ROSÉ
sure sign of Summer was the arrival of Heitz old-fashioned, dry, Napa Valley rosé
made of the Italian Grignolino variety.
The Heitz family sold its name and winery to another family from the
southeast. Gaylon Lawrence Jr. has acres and acres of citrus groves
along with other investments (such as a bank and a heating & air
The late Joe Heitz made a traditionally-styled Rosé, with skin contact to
provide color, aromas and flavor.
The new winemaker, a young gal named Brittany Sherwood, was trained by David
Heitz and she's been with the winery since 2013, or so.
Curiously, though, she's changed the vinification for the Rosé, minimizing
the skin contact. She says this produces a wine with "fresher,
delicate textures" as a result.
We were skeptical, but bought a bottle for a dinner and, happily, the wine
is still quite good. All things being equal, we'd suggest going back
to the historical vinification of this wine.
But the 2018 displayed mild fruit aromas with notes suggesting peach and
It's dry and reasonably crisp on the palate. Now sold out and it's
unclear if they will make more.
UPDATE: We tasted their new label of BRENDEL Rose...bought a bottle of
the 2019 vintage.
it's a sparkling pink wine that's quite dry and perfectly pleasant. We
did not find the aromas of sweet fruits and flowers which has typified Heitz
Rose over the past 20 or 30 years. If they want to make bubbly out of
that fruit, they should consider capturing the fruity notes for which the
wine was justly famous. Otherwise it's just fizz.
Currently in stock: 2018 HEITZ CELLAR GRIGNOLINO ROSÉ Sold Out...
Elisa Scavino of the Paolo Scavino winery in Castiglione Falletto.
Izzy Oddero of the Oddero winery in La Morra.
Tempier estate in the Provençal region of Bandol has become an iconic
label over the past decade, or two.
The quality of the wines has improved and the wines are reliably
Tempier is owned by the Peyraud family and Lucien Peyraud had been
instrumental with promoting Bandol as a grand vin on par with
famous Bordeaux and Burgundy wines. His sons took over the
estate in the 1970s, but these days the operations are overseen by
They have had about 40 hectares of vineyards, but over the past few
years they've increased their holdings, not wanting to buy
grapes. They prefer to manage the vineyards themselves. And they
farm organically and biodynamically.
Their Rosé has become hugely popular and the importer actually
allocates a box or two to their numerous accounts.
The wine is based, of course, on Mourvèdre (55% is the normal
percentage) with the balance being Grenache and Cinsault. No
Syrah or Carignane.
You might notice many Rosés from Provence are very pale in color,
Tempier's has a fairly healthy pink tone. Ravier
feels many of the really pale-colored Rosés lack character and
The price of the 2018 vintage jumped about 15% from
that of the 2017. And yet the wine remains in great
Is it superior to other Bandol Rosés?
We can say it's a very good rendition and given the marketing work of
the local importer, it's got great brand recognition.
We received a modest quantity of that 2019 and as of early July the
importer has not offered us any of the 2020 vintage, though we know
friends in other markets have received their meager allocations.
Currently in stock: 2019 DOMAINE TEMPIER BANDOL
ROSÉ Sold Out
AMIDO 2017 TAVEL ROSÉ Sold
some 30 hectares spread out between Tavel and Lirac in the Southern Rhône
Valley, Christian Amido has been at the helm of this estate for nearly 25
years! They built a new facility in 2001.
Armand Maby was involved in the various family enterprises and he showed us
around the Tavel and Lirac appellations the first time we visited a few
years ago...sadly, he passed away, but the kids still run the place.
The recipe is a good one, the wine having a subtle spice note and a touch of
berry fruit without being a fruit bomb. Of course, it's dry. The
2017 blend is Grenache (50%) with 40% Cinsault and 10% Clairette. Amido
leaves the skins in contact with the juice for a day-and-a-half, enough to
extract a bit of color, but not enough to pick up astringency in the wine.
We skipped the 2018...it's less expressive and less fruity
than we have found it to be in the past.
CHATEAU LA CANORGUE
the Cotes du Luberon we have this splendid dry Rosé from Jean-Pierre
Margan's Chateau La Canorgue.
This beautiful property was the filming location for the Russell Crowe
movie, A Good Year. The property is so nice, we understand someone
from the Rockefeller family presented Jean-Pierre with a blank check,
saying "fill in the amount and leave." He told them
"merci, but non merci!"
Jean-Pierre has long been farming with an eye towards organic
viticulture. In fact, he's farming biodynamically.
Currently in stock: 2017 CHATEAU LA CANORGUE
LUBERON ROSÉ Sold Out
The 2017 Rosé is a delight...a shade more color than last year's.
You might say it bridges the gap between typical Rosé from Provence and
the Rhône. The wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre...dry and
fresh, with some berry and spice notes.
LE ROC ROSÉ 2017 (FRONTON) SOLD OUTChâteau Le Roc is the leading estate in the Fronton region near Toulouse.
The Ribes brothers make some terrific wines, using the Negrette grape (we
call it Pinot Saint George here in California). In addition to the
Negrette, there's 35% Syrah and 5% Cabernet.
Their 2017 Rosé is berryish and dry with a touch of spice. Good value.
Remarkably balanced, too...
BUBBLY ROSE WINES
And of course we have a
number of top Brut Rose wines in the shop...
Billecart-Salmon, Schramsberg, Laurent Perrier, Rene Geoffroy, Bollinger and
Allimant Laugner's Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose.
A new addition is Vitteaut Alberti's Brut Rose ($19.99!), a Cremant from
Burgundy. It's made entirely of Pinot Noir and is nicely dry and yet
retaining a touch of fruit.
get numerous requests for Lancer's Rosé and are happy to special order it for
It currently goes for $6.99 before the 12 bottle case discount.
If you're interested in a case, please call us to place your order.
This is what it used to look like:
is how it looks these days:
MATEUSThis goes for $7.49 a
bottle. I bought one to taste it just to check it out.
It's pale pink, sort of onion skin color. Sweet...not much fruit on
And it still comes in its flagon-shaped bottle. We actually have a few
bottles in stock...
the early 1970s, Blue Nun was "the" German wine. It took the
mystery out of buying a bottle of Riesling...you did not have to know
hard-to-pronounce names such as "Weingut Reichsrat Von Buhl Forster
Riesling Spätlese trocken Grosses Gewächs."
Blue Nun won't be winning any blind-tastings of German wine, but it is still
available for those customers who have a case of nostalgia and want a case of
wine is purportedly from Bordeaux.
It sort of tastes like a Bordeaux, but we wouldn't be surprised if other wines
were blended with Bordeaux to create Mouton Cadet.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, chic wine drinkers knew this brand as being a
symbol of good taste and sophistication. I think today the same people (or
their offspring) buy wines such as California's Far Niente or Cakebread to
demonstrate their status as bon vivants.
The white wine equivalent of Mouton Cadet came from the Burgundy firm of Louis
Jadot. (See below...)
have to give the people credit who would come into a shop or restaurant and try
to pronounce the name of this wine.
"Do you have any Lou-ee Jar-dott Polly-Foos?"
"Where's the Louis Jadot Pussy Fussee?"
It was a sign of sophistication, to be sure, to be able to order a bottle of
this wine in a restaurant. Your guests knew you were a sharp, well-heeled
individual. The waiter knew and so did the bus boy.
I think yesterday's Pouilly-Fuissé drinker is today's buyer of Far Niente or
If you want some bottles of Jadot Pouilly-Fuissé or their perfectly
ordinary Macon Villages, let me know and we'll special order these for
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