WBW80: Dry Rosé

by Tim Elliott on August 14, 2013

Back when I first started podcasting about wine, in late 2004, there were maybe 40 podcasts in the world. But there were even fewer wine blogs and soon I discovered the monthly tasting event called Wine Blogging Wednesday joining on its eighth outing back in early 2005.

Over the years I have participated in WBW now 49 times and have hosted 6 times and I am pleased to have it return after a hiatus. The theme I chose for this outing is consistent with the wines I drink this time of year. While I do continue to drink reds, most of the time white or rosé wines are what I choose due to the temperatures outside and the food of the season. And while rosé wines such as white Zinfandel have carved out a significant presence in the market their residual sugar makes them more difficult to pair with food. So I drink exclusively dry rosé in the summer.

WBW 80 Rose WinesFor the selections made for this month’s WBW I decided to sample what is available under $10 a bottle. After looking at some local stores and big box retailers I settled on a couple of bottles from Trader Joe’s both under $6 a bottle. At this price I wasn’t looking for the best rosé but something that would complement a hamburger or taco. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The first bottle is Trader Joe’s Napa Valley Rosé 2012 ($5.99, 13.7% ABV) – It is a light ruby color in the glass with aromas typical of rosé, strawberry, cherry and citrus. There are bright grapefruit and strawberry flavors finishing dry with a touch of bitterness. I found it refreshing but a bit subdued in character but still a decent value. The varieties used were not disclosed but I assume Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were most of the blend.

My second selection is from Spain, the Albero Bobal rosé 2012 ($5.99, 12.5% ABV) – Also a nice light ruby color the aromas here are all strawberry and grapefruit. In the glass the wine shows strawberry and lemon flavors finishing dry with nice acidity. A very pleasing rosé made from a grape I have never tried before. A win-win!

Both of these wines show how far we have come delivering value even in niches like dry rosé. I’m looking forward to reading what everyone has tried to fill out my cellar for the remaining weeks of summer. You can follow along on my Delicious feed.

Thanks also go to Lenn for asking me to host yet again who I will soon pass the baton to for hosting WBW81 next month. Look for a roundup post for WBW80 Friday or Saturday for all the rosé goodness.

Cheers!

Announcing Wine Blogging Wednesday 80, Dry Rosé

by Tim Elliott on July 17, 2013

Back in the the first year of wine blogging (2004 for those just joining us) Lenn Thompson of LENNDEVOURS (now New York Cork Report) made a modest proposal and Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW) was born. I joined the monthly virtual tasting back at WBW 7 in early 2005 and have continued off and on over the years since and have maintained the WBW website. But interest wained in the event after Twitter tastings took hold and WBW went on long-term hiatus a couple times in recent years.

WBW logoBut the embers of WBW remained and there has been enough interest in the event recently that Lenn and I have decided to bring it back in its original, grass-roots format.

The idea is simple; each month a blogger “hosts” the virtual tasting determining the theme and posting a summary wrap-up some days after the event. On the Wednesday appointed for the tasting anyone can blog a post related to the theme and let the host know so their link can be included in the wrap-up post. Back in the day this literally meant a blog but over the years this has expanded to places like Tumblr and Google+; basically any public-facing spot on the web that doesn’t require a membership to view (so Facebook wall posts are out but you could participate on a Facebook page).

Got it?

I am pleased to announce the return of Wine Blogging Wednesday on August 14st for our 80th (non-consecutive) monthly tasting. My choice of theme was easy given the heat of the summer here in the Northern Hemisphere: Dry Rosé.

Good dry rosé is one of the most versatile wines in summer matching with light to heavy fare. But like some other wines, rosé (here in America anyway) doesn’t get the respect it deserves. So I’d like to see everyone explore beyond their regular summer rosés and try something new. It might be an obscure varietal or a region you haven’t tried before. Or maybe just kicking it old-school and picking up a rosé from Bandol, Tavel or Provence from a new producer.

Basically you can pick up a rosé wine made anywhere from any grape varieties, just make sure it’s dry.

When you post your entry, just send me your link via email (winecast at gmail dot com), Twitter (@winecast and please use hashtag #WBW80) or post here in the comments. A few days after the tasting I’ll write up a summary post and pass the baton to the next host (Lenn will host WBW 81 in September). And you can mark your calendars as all future WBW tastings will take place the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

Hope you can join me next month and beat the summer heat with some dry rosé!

The results here are not that surprising to me given the venue. At a state fair the conditions are far from ideal and the judges have to taste too many wines in a short period of time. I have always believed a wine should be tasted over a period of time (1-2 days minimum) and then a fair review can be written from this extended experience. When a hundred wines are tasted in 90 minutes variations like this are far too common. Not to mention all of these were tasted blind which is its own bag of snakes.

via The Guardian

The Smith Brothers are living legends in Napa Valley. This great interview tells their story.

via Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews

Beaujolais is arguably the best value in red wine right now and Lyle has an excellent list here to back up this claim.

via Rockss and Fruit

What Makes A Wine “Authentic”?

by Tim Elliott on June 18, 2013

As is often the case, Steve Heimoff has posted a “think piece” on his blog today. And judging by the relatively few comments at the time I write this most readers are just doing that; thinking. His post is on authenticity in wine and how difficult and subjective it is to define. In the end, Steve gives no answers on the subject but does get one thinking about what makes a wine “authentic”.

To me authenticity starts with the intent of the winemaker and what the site and vineyard manager has provided her or him to work with. Can you make authentic Syrah in Napa Valley? Perhaps but other sites might be more suited to growing the grape. Should anything be added to the crushed grapes to make an “authentic wine”? Some would argue no, but denying scientific advances is similar to not using modern medicine to avoid fatal illness. The issue is loaded with traditional, cultural and political nuances.

Feet crushing grapes Photo by stromnessdundee via Flickr

No discussion of wine authenticity should lack the obvious mention of low intervention or so-called “natural wine“. My own preference in my single quasi-commercial winemaking venture to date used as few processes as was possible in a shared winemaking facility like Crushpad in Dog Patch. Yes, yeast was inoculated as conducting a native yeast ferment, which was my preference, was not recommended within a winery with dozens, if not hundreds, of other fermentations taking place. Yes, enzymes and a minimal dose of sulfur were used on the must but after pressing only regular stirring of the lees was applied and the wine was only racked once after several months in barrel (it is a Roussanne/Marsanne blend).

Is this not a “natural, authentic” wine? Some would argue one or all of the three additives used makes this wine somehow makes it un-natural and less authentic. A few others might argue that trucking the grapes several hundred miles in a refrigerated container is also unauthentic but that’s another story.

My point is what is authentic wine is highly debatable. What is not is a sea of industrial wines sold that not only use modern science to produce clean wines but also techniques that make the resulting product softer and more approachable (think micro-oxygenation, mega-purple and other such processes or additives here). That doesn’t mean the wine is not better for all the manipulation but what is left is not an authentic representation of the site and grapes harvested that year.

But that’s just my opinion, and as Dennis Miller used to say, I could be wrong.