What kind of liquid endorphin has got me on tenterhooks lately? It’s a few Italian wines that recently hit the shelves at Costco. Costco’s inventory turns over quickly so you’ll want to get in on my “skank” wine, a budget Sangiovese that’s stupid (and contagious) tasty for $6.99. You can read about it here http://bit.ly/1fYV4Dc/Cecchi Sangiovese
My most favoritist, though, is a Barbera del Monferrato. You may be familiar with Barbera d’Alba or d’Asti. Well, there is a third Barbera zone: Barbera del Monferrato. All three hail from the Piedmont region which is North Eastern Italy. (Remember the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino? That was in Piedmont.) Oddly enough, Barbera del Monferrato is the largest of all three zones and yet you don’t hear much about it. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I was one of those people.
I’ll tell you that I have a straight up Barbera fetish. There isn’t one that I haven’t enjoyed, though I’m more partial to Barbera d’Alba over Asti [much the same way my husband is partial to Barbara Eden vs. Barbara Streisand]. “They” (wine gods?) state Barberas from Alba and Asti are more robust where as the Monferrato is more aromatic and softer on your palate. I cannot tell you if it’s true, because I didn’t simultaneously sample Barberas from all three zones to test this theory. Why? Because I would have drank all three bottles and been in an alcohol induced coma. I love Barbera that fervently and have SOME sense of dignity. Well…
What I can tell you about this wine is that it’s an agreeable lil’ number. I enjoyed the rich red cherried plum flavors, it’s soft vanilla undertones and peppery tinge. It’s a touch more jammy than one would find in a Barbera- not so much with the earthy funk. Nevertheless, this would be a great wine to experiment with. I mean by tasting and/or pairing it. Don’t go wasting it by sploshing it on your wet and messy cakesitting fetish friends.
I did something I am awfully ashamed of. Something that I never wanted to do and I cringed knowing that, mostly out of necessity, these are the ways of many other bloggers, critics, reps, shoppe owners and sommeliers.
I tasted wines like they were dirty, dirty whores.
I lined up those pink bottles all nice and pretty like a madame would her young: objectified maidens waiting to be plucked by some vile creature. Then I proceeded to open each one without anticipation, just sampling, wanting to get through it. I was going through the motions in a sadly mechanical [albeit warmly buzzed] way. They looked cold, forlorn, discarded; looking at me as if to say, “What did I do wrong? I just wanted to please you.” Or worse, with dead, lifelessly blank looks that told me they’d been through the process too many times before.
Is this what I’ve become? Did I do the right thing?
A day later, I looked upon my notes and corked up wines in the refrigerator. I felt slightly less remorseful knowing the wines wouldn’t go to waste. Perhaps only through these crude methods could I cover the delightful plethora of Rosé.
Wait, did I tell you that the 5th Annual Rosé Tasting is happening this Sunday, May 19, in Solo Vino’s parking lot? Okay, so I went on this guiltful, dramatic diatribe without explaining why I was whoring out wines.
Last year, I discovered the mecca of pink wines, the Solo Vino Annual Rosé Festival. 2013 marks the 5th Annual event Chuck Kanski of Solo Vino fame will host. This year’s event plans on being bigger and badder than ever. The tent size will increase from 1500 to 2500 square feet. Yep, Chuck’s not screwing around. He’s topping the event out at 400 attendees, so you still have a chance to buy your tickets, but there’s not many. Buy tix here: hhttp://on.fb.me/127sxCT/Solo Vino Rosé Festival
I learned that 2012 Rosés will be limited in quantity due to the low yields in all of Europe (except for Spain). This does not mean inferior Rosé, quite the opposite. “They” are saying that 2012 Rosés are to be some of the best but their scarcity makes them more precious. Oooh! I love the hype already!
I grilled Chuck and his shoppe partner Rob on their top five favorite Rosés under $20. After feverishly writing down names, varietals, countries, prices (whew!) I came away with five, nope, six stunning selections:
I figured I’d love it as I love their Malvar http://bit.ly/MtJDXI//Zestos Malvar. This is easy drinking, with typical Rosé traits such as strawberry notes, citrus and floral scents and flavors backed up by a crisp finish.
2 – Bieler Père et Fils- $12.99, 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon (Provence, France):
This is a dry Rosé, drier than the Zestos. The wine had fairly typical Rosé tasting notes but more pithy, tangier, and with a spicy minerality. I enjoyed this, but think this is more of a food-friendly wine than a patio sipper. It has a slightly weightier finish that would hold up to some grilled food stuffs.
This reeked of freshness- strawberry with a light honey sweetness on the nose. It’s luscious in feel and taste with a fairly round body, but balanced by it’s off-dry richness. This is the Sophia Loren of Rosé.
5 – Endless Crush – $19.99, 100% Pinor Noir (Russian River Valley, CA):
Originally made to celebrate the wine maker’s 20th Anniversary in 2004, this Rose is produced every other year. It had an Ogilvie home perm whiff, floral and guava scent. Echoed was this guava, light grapefruit and strawberry flavors in addition to a mineral snap back. This had a long standing aftertaste, which would lend itself to a great food wine.
6 – Triennes Rosé – $18.99, Cinsault blended with Grenache, Syrah and Merlot (Provence, France):
The palest pink and most delicate of the lot. It was all perfume, with a floral nose and fresh strawberry flavor. I felt this wine best exemplified terroir, it’s minerality transported me to the fields of Provence which really opened up the longer it sat in my glass.
I’m hard pressed to find a Rosé I don’t like but the one I ran back to was the Proprietà Sperino Rosado. It made my tongue do the jitterbug. These and 100+ others will be on hand to swirl, sip and swallow on May 19.
Both Chuck and Rob exalted that this season’s best Rosés will hail from Germany. Much to my chagrin, guess what wasn’t available but the two German Rosés: Meyer Näkel, a 100% Pinot Noir from the Ahr Region of Germany and Becker a Pinot Noir, Cab, Dornfelder, Portuguese wine blend from the Pfalz Region of Germany.
These two wines will arrive at the end of May. I plan on being first in line to purchase because if the Rosé’s I tasted were stellar, I can only imagine these two aforementioned Freundin der deutschen Roséwein will titillate the senses.
Lastly, what’s great about Rosé is that it’s quite food friendly. Great for grill outs, patio sipping with chips and salsa, corn-on-the-cob munching, truffle risotto slurping, or to suck down with those evil chocolate covered Goji Raspberries (Costco Members beware). Still on the fence? There’s no better opportunity than this Sunday’s Rosé Tasting at Solo Vino.
Slowly and surely, my guilt and shame has dissipated. I realize I was no Rosé madame, a Heidi Fleiss sort objectifying the goods. Rather, I was liberating it. Perhaps more akin to Georgia O’Keefe, giving you a bee’s eye view of Rosé in all it’s beauty, splendor and pleasure. Drink it in and enjoy it.
Where buy now: Sorella Wines, Zipp’s Liquors, South Lyndale Wines
The sun is shining once again in our neck of the woods. The veil of clouds, snow, snow-rain mix, sleet and other unwanted precipitation seems to have given way to the golden green of Spring.
My once dark, dead eyes have now opened up, and to what? To Unoaked Chardonnay.
For regular readers of The Savvy Lush, it should be no surprise that I’m shouting the praises, once again, for a Famiglia Meschini creation. Read one that gives a little Meschini history: http://bit.ly/15vRaQd/Famiglia Meschini This wine is 100% Chardonnay that doesn’t touch a lick of oak. Therefore, the buttery, syrupy pear tastes Chardonnay is often associated with are not what you’ll find. Instead, you’ll experience a brighter Chardonnay; one that expresses itself with crisper and more tropical fruit notes. It’s not tart but has snappy acidity that balances out the tropical fruit and light citrus tastes.
I couldn’t have chosen a better wine to inaugurate this beautiful weather we’ve so longed for. Unoaked Chardonnay is a must have at any warm weather social occasion. It will have your white wine drinkers happy and it’ll surprise the hell out of those exclaiming, “I don’t care for Chardonnay.” Win-win
If you love Chardonnay, and are willing to try a twist on the theme, pick this up. If you love Sauvignon Blanc, Soave, Pinot Grigio; pick this up. Plus, at around $10 – this could quickly move straight into your weekly wine night rotation. (PS – it’s on sale at Zipp’s right now!)
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