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Posts Tagged ‘rosé wine’

2010 Château Montaud Côtes de Provence Rosé

May 30th, 2011 1 comment

This delightful rosé blend from Château Montaud makes a perfect picnic wine, or one to enjoy on a nice, hot summer eve.  With a very clear raspberry appearance, this evanescent wine has stunning visual presence.  The nose, very clean but low-keyed, presents pronounced berry and peach aromas, with hints of honeysuckle, strawberry, and even a wisp of pear!  Pleasant-tasting, this crisp wine has very lively acidity and is well-balanced.  Though its body is a little poor, and the finish is short, its charming and agreeable character more than makes up for these.  Like other blends, this rosé pairs well with artichoke recipes, Brie and other mild cheeses, numerous fish dishes, and summer salads.  It is fast becoming one of my favorites of the season.

Happy Memorial Day, wine lovers! While typically a holiday of grills and beer, there’s no reason not to enjoy a nice, summery bottle of wine today!

A Springtime Rose: the 2010 Triennes Rosé

April 1st, 2011 2 comments

2010 Triennes Rosé

The first rosé of the year has arrived just in time for spring, and spring-like it its!  For a longtime fan of rosés, this beauty certainly does not disappoint!  Made from an exquisite blend of Syrah, Cinsault, Merlot, and Grenache grapes, the proportions of grapes in the 2010 Triennes Rosé were expertly chosen.  The merlot flavor, in particular, is more subdued than expected, being used as a traditional blending grape, with a delicate hint of softness and plum flavor perfect for use in a rosé.  And the 2010 Triennes Rosé was bottled young enough to keep the wine exceptionally fresh, unlike rosés I will not mention from previous years.

The 2010 Triennes Rosé is everything you’d expect from a wine where the grapes were harvested at just the right time–not too early, and not too late after ripening.  This helps explain why this rosé is elegantly balanced and delightfully aromatic with a luxurious nose that is sure to evoke an “ahhhh” of pleasure.  If you have never tried a rosé before, the 2010 Triennes Rosé should be your first.  It sets the perfect standard by which you can adequately judge rosés you encounter in the future.

Categories: Wine Reviews Tags: ,

Wine Baskets Make Great Wine Gifts

December 15th, 2010 2 comments

Wine baskets are wonderful gifts that everyone loves.  As a result, they can cost hundreds of dollars at fancy food stores.  But why spend the cash when you can easily make them yourself?  They’re simple to create, and they make great, personal gifts that your friends and family will really appreciate.  You can fill your wine gift baskets with almost anything, so get creative: the possibilities are endless!

To start, you need some kind of attractive basket or box.  Visit your local craft store for wicker baskets or large tin pails.  Wooden wine cases also make great receptacles. For a unique container that’s a gift in itself, use a leather brigade bucket by Mulholland Leather.

Then pick a wine theme and get to filling!  Here are some ideas:

A chocolate-themed gift basket. Visit a chocolate store and pick out a variety: white, milk, and dark chocolates all pair well with wines.  If you know the person’s favorites, play to them.  You can even try some unusual chocolates: they may include goat cheese, herbs, or even chilies.  Next, pair some wines with the chocolates you’ve chosen.  For a dark chocolate lover, strong, rich reds like Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon are perfect.  For the milk chocolate lover, try something smooth like a Pinot Noir or something sweet like a Muscat.  White chocolate pairs well with sweet wines like Muscatos or even something darker and tannic for contrast, like a Merlot.  For our full wine and chocolate pairing guide, click here.

A summer-themed gift basket: Line a basket with a checkered picnic cloth, then fill with beautiful summer fruits, like strawberries and peaches.  Add some goats-milk cheese (it’s at its peak in the summer) and some crackers or a baguette.  Finish with summer wines like Rosé or Pinot Grigio.

A gift basket for the new wine lover: If you know someone in your life who’s just starting to appreciate the pleasures of wine, help them out!  Fill a basket with a few bottles of your favorites.  Try to think outside the box and introduce the person to some types of wine he or she might not have heard of.

A wine and cheese basket: This one’s a crowd-pleaser.  Pairing wine and cheese can be intimidating, so see our easy wine & cheese pairing guide for help.  In general, stick to white wines and pick a variety of cheeses (like brie, gruyere, and cheddar).  Include a few different types of crackers, a bunch of grapes, and you’re ready to go.

A wine game gift basket: Give everything they need to have their own wine-tasting party.  Include several types of wine, or a a few bottles of the same type at different price point.  Place bags over the bottles or cover the labels, and add paper for note-taking.  Maybe they’ll even invite you over to play!

Interested in our recommendations for wine lover gift ideas?

Wine Review: 2010 Mulderbosch Rosé

November 23rd, 2010 No comments

Who says Rosés are just for summertime?  They’re actually also great for those winter nights when you’d like to sip on something a little lighter.  Rosés are especially great with those spicy foods we crave to warm us up when the thermometer drops, so think about cracking one open next time you order Chinese or make a spicy cold-weather soup.

Tonight, I’m pairing some chicken curry with a wonderful 2010 Mulderbosch Rosé from South Africa.  It’s dry and smooth, but its fruit flavors come through pleasantly.  In my case, it’s a welcome break from the rich, hearty Cabernet Sauvignons I’ve been drinking lately.  It’s really not a traditional winter wine, as the fruits that come through are delicate summer berry flavors–predominantly strawberry, with a touch of mineral acidity for balance.  But it reminds me of the tastes and smells of summer, and is the perfect complement to my spicy, creamy curry.

Think outside the box, and let this nice Rosé bring a little summer to your chilly winter nights.  What’s your favorite non-traditional winter wine?

Categories: Wine Reviews Tags: ,

Wines for Grilling

July 26th, 2010 1 comment

Summer’s here and that means grilling season.  When the summer days mean it’s too stifling to cook over a hot stove, I loveto take the kitchen prep outside and cook as much as I can over the open flame.  Not only does it keep the house cool, grilling outside lets me enjoy the warm summer evenings, and offers the delicious reward of smoky, crisp-on-the-outside-juicy-on-the-inside grilled food.  There’s nothing that says summer as much as grilling.  But where do wines fit into this?  Does enjoying the tasty experience of grilled summer food mean that you have to trade your wine glass for a beer can?  Not unless you want to!

Grilled foods’ unique, strong flavors offer their own unique set of pairing challenges.  Luckily, there are many wonderful wines that are up to the test.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Zinfandel has a reputation as the quintessential grilling wine, and deservedly so.  Zinfandel‘s full-bodied character makes it the perfect accompaniment to rich grilled meats like steaks, burgers, and lamb.  It also has a unique fruity-yet-spicy flavor that matches perfectly with the rich, spicy sauces that are so often seen on barbecued food.  But be careful: you want the flavors of your wine and food to complement, not compete.  So pairing a spicy Zin with an especially spicy barbecue sauce might make the spice flavors overwhelm the dish.  If you’re cooking something especially spice-forward, try a Merlot–its fruity characteristics will let the spice shine without masking the subtler flavors of meat and smoke.

Speaking of smoke, another great grilling wine is Syrah, because it is characterized by smokey notes that go perfectly with grilled foods like sausage, brisket, and just about any red meat.  Syrahs from the Rhone region are especially known for their smokey characteristics.  Syrah also has very fruit-forward flavors and soft tannins that make it an easy-drinking wine perfect for sharing around the picnic table.

Rosé is a great choice for lighter grilled foods because its red wine notes match up to the intense charcoal flavors the grill imparts without overwhelming more delicate foods.  Try it with fish, chicken, or grilled veggies.

Chardonnay is a great wine for summer grilling because its strong oaky notes allow it to stand up to the rich tastes of grilled foods better than most whites.  Its buttery flavors make it a fantastic accompaniment to things like grilled fish with a buttery sauce.  And for a little slice of heaven, pair a Chardonnay with fresh grilled corn on the cob with plenty of butter.

Sauvignon Blanc is another great grilling wine, but for a different reason–its citrusy, herbaceous nature is a great foil to the opposingly strong, rich flavors of grilled food.  It refreshes the palate and makes those grill flavors shine through even more.  Try Sauvignon Blanc with fish grilled with lemon or anything marinated in herbs.

As always, remember that pairing wine with food is an art, not a science.  Don’t be afraid to break the rules a little, pairing a nice red with grilled chicken or experimenting with a brand-new varietal.  Play to your tastes and enjoy the summer grilling season!

How to Choose a Great Rosé

May 25th, 2010 1 comment

Summer is so close that you can practically taste it!  Well, in my case, the tasting is more literal than figurative, because right now, I’m enjoying a chilled glass of rosé and dreaming about the beach.  Rosé is the quintessential summer wine: it’s light and refreshing, meant to be enjoyed chilled, and goes perfectly with summer foods like grilled chicken and fresh salads.

“But what’s up with that color?” you might ask (especially if you’re of the male persuasion).  Yes, rosé is pink.  But don’t let this deter you!  Remember that rosé is pink by necessity, not design.  Rosé attains is color, which can vary from a pale orange to a vivid purple, because at the beginning stages of winemaking, red-skinned grapes are crushed and allowed to remain in contact with the wine for about two or three days.  The skins are then discarded, but they were in the mixture long enough to impart their color–and flavor–to the finished product.  The skins give rosé its appealing tart, flavorful quality, setting it apart from the generally lighter white wines.

In the 1970s, the style was for rosés to be of the medium-sweet variety.  This has perhaps contributed to a negative public perception of rosé: many think of it as a pink, sweet wine that isn’t taken seriously by true wine connoisseurs.  But what’s stylish and cool in the wine world is constantly changing, and as a result, drier, bolder rosés are now all the rage.  Rosé is being produced in new and different ways that are resulting in unique and complex wines: many rosés are now made from grapes from the Rhone region such as Syrah and Grenache.  And in France, arguably the wine capital of the world, sales of rosé have now surpassed the sales of white wine.

So how do you pick a good one?

The number one characteristic of a good rosé is crispness.  “Crisp,” in wine terms, conveys that a wine has a tart, acidic quality–one that’s not overbearing, but is rather pleasing and refreshing.  Taste a couple of rosés, and you’ll probably find yourself especially enjoying those that are highly crisp.

The best way to pick a good rosé is by region.  And since rosé is so popular in France, it is France that produces the highest-quality rosés.  Look for the region on the bottle to get a better idea of what’s inside.  Rosés from Bandol and Cassis are very high quality.  They are usually dry and well-balanced.  But since these are the best rosés, they are usually also the most expensive.  If you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly, look for rosés from the French regions of Tavel and Lirac (which produce dark, rich rosés more like red wine than white), and Coteaux du Languedoc (which produces a wide variety of rosés that are usually of good quality and inexpensive).

So give summer a warm welcome this year: next time you get the urge to cook on the grill and eat outside, pick up a delicious, refreshing rosé to complement your summer mood.

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