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.
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.
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?
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.
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, 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 in the Carnavalet Museum, Paris. Photo by Todd Mecklem
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
pendule n° 7, style Restauration : offrande à Bacchus, photo by Gérard Coing. © Région Lorraine – Inventaire général
My foray into wine tasting has led me try different Italian wines made with the appassimento or rasinate technique. Grapes are dried or partialy dried, and then further processed depending on the wine. The drying creates a sweeter, deeper colored wine with more depth. I really enjoyed a Valpolicella ripasso recently and asked my local wine steward to suggest others. He recommended this Tedeschi wine, which I really like.
Color: Deep, inky purple
Aroma: complicated to describe but I smelled cinnamon, prunes, and cherries, and maybe dirt?
Grapes: 75% Corvina, 5% Rabaso, and 25% Refosco
The grapes are partially dried in the sun for about a month, which adds sugar and color and depth to the wine. This process is to rasinate in Italian – seems like a word that would work in English too.
Taste: Rich, robust wine with a lingering aftertaste with acidity and tannins and sugar. Is this what wine people call “complex?” The wine is aged in oak for 18 months though I didn’t perceive it as oaky as I do some California chardonnays. I really liked it and will buy it again for a nice dinner.
Grapes, left to dry for a passito wine, Marco Fon Vinogradi (SLO). Photo by Zyance via Wiki Commons.