Pink wine time!

The first sunny days of spring are always a welcome sight here in the rainy Pacific Northwest. I like to celebrate the first slightly warm, sunny day with a  glass of rosé. My first glass of the year was Underwood Rosé from The Union Wine Company in the Willamette Valley. The aroma was a pleasing mix of ripe bananas, melon, and a whiff of hay, and the flavor was (very) crisp with a slight tingle on the tongue. It’s a very refreshing wine for warm days but too tart to eat with a dressing soaked salad. I think grilled chicken would be perfect with it. (Doesn’t everyone plan dinner after they’ve selected the wine?) I was pleased to find an affordable Oregon rosé  and will definitely buy it again.

Happy spring!

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Espiral Vinho Rose

It’s been a hot summer so far, which is my excuse for not blogging more often. Today hit 91 degrees F, and with no AC, a chilled glass of rose is my first line of defense. (After a large glass of water, of course!)

This Portuguese rose is fruity and a bit sweet, and it has a subtle effervescence on the tongue. It smells like strawberries and cherries and is lightly acidic. Not a very substantial wine, I do really enjoy it on a hot day.

This is a Trader Joe’s offering and cost about $5.

Chateau de Campuget Rose Rhone Wine

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This pretty pale blush wine looks so sweet and innocent but it’s actually more complicated than that. The aroma is of citrus with cherries but the first sip is bracing and crisp with a nice acidity to it. There’s a slight minerality on the tongue, which I like. There’s nothing sweet about this rose but it’s perfect for a hot summer day. Or a cool summer day as is often the case this time of year in the Pacific Northwest.

The grapes used are Grenache Noir (30%) and Syrah (70%).the bottle cost about $10 and I may buy a case. If you want a crisp rose, I highly recommend this.

Any new favorites or old standbys you like for the summer?

Antonio Barbadillo Palomino Fino white table wine

(c) Roger Parry

(c) Roger Parry

Warm, sunny days have been teasing us here in the Pacific Northwest so it’s the perfect time to test out white wines. I was pursuing the white wine at our local grocery and saw a bottle of Palomino Fino, which I’d not tried before.

Winery: Antonio Barbadillo
Location: Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain
Color: light yellow
Aroma: apples, grapefruit
Taste: minerally, short finish, with a pleasant tingle on the tip of the tongue
Price: $7.00

This wine is a dry, pleasant, slightly salty wine made from palomino grapes, which are used in the production of sherry in this area. I found it fun to drink, with no sweetness nor oak. It’ll be a fun summer aperitif.

Now if I could only get to Andalucia to try it in person…

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C.M.S. Red by Hedges

Young women in a bar. Paris, 1937-1938. © Gaston Paris / Roger-Viollet. Photo ParisEnImages

Young women in a bar. Paris, 1937-1938.
© Gaston Paris / Roger-Viollet. Photo ParisEnImages

I really enjoy drinking wines from the Pacific Northwest but many of them are above my budget except for very special occasions. I was pleased that CMS Red from the Hedges Family Estate is an exception – it’s very good and I found it for less than $15.

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Color: Deep inky purple
Aroma: cinnamon, spice, plum
Grapes: CMS stands for cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah
Taste: Fairly robust taste with some tannins. It has a medium finish and is what I consider “balanced” between acidic and tannic. I would drink this with a hamburger, macaroni and cheese, or a hearty pork dish. I ate it with a sharp Vermont cheddar, which was great. I’ll definitely buy this again, particularly when I have out of town guests.

Bacchus

Bacchus, 1595. Uffizi Gallery.

Bacchus, 1595. Uffizi Gallery.

I derive great pleasure from the grape, and consider a glass of wine one of the simple pleasures in life. Bacchus, the god of wine, seems like the appropriate deity to grace our doorway and welcome our friends. I like the little figure of Bacchus above the restaurant’s door in the photo below – it’d fit just above our door. Bacchus is portrayed in a variety of ways, from the beautiful young man in Caravaggio’s painting to the boozy looking fat kid straddling a barrel to the pensive looking guy leaning against a gold clock. Next time I’m in Paris, I plan to find my very own p’tit Bacchus. A votre santé!

Petit Bacchus, circa 1901, by Eugène Atget. Image courtesy Getty

Petit Bacchus, circa 1901, by Eugène Atget. Image courtesy Getty

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Petit Bacchus in the Carnavalet Museum, Paris. Photo by Todd Mecklem

Statue de Bacchus sur un tonneau. Photo by Brigitte Parent, © Région Alsace - Inventaire général

Statue de Bacchus sur un tonneau. Photo by Brigitte Parent, © Région Alsace – Inventaire général

Bacchus. Photo by Bourdier, image courtesy Ministère de la Culture (France), Médiathèque de l'architecture et du patrimoine, Diffusion RMN

Bacchus. Photo by Bourdier, image courtesy Ministère de la Culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Diffusion RMN

pendule n° 7, style Restauration : offrande à Bacchus, photo by Gérard Coing. © Région Lorraine - Inventaire général

pendule n° 7, style Restauration : offrande à Bacchus, photo by Gérard Coing. © Région Lorraine – Inventaire général