Sunday, May 15, 2011

War Of The Rosés

Everyone knows I love Rosé. But as much as I love it, I also have a love-hate relationship with it. Why? I live in the midwest, an area of the country that is simply lacking in Rosé. A year and a half ago, I walked into a local grocery store's wine department and was eagerly approached by a young man who wanted to help me find it. He lead me to an aisle full of White Zinfandel. What can I say? I felt bad because he did not know the difference. There wasn't any Rosé, not a single bottle. I made it a point to seek it out, whatever it took. And although I found a few, it was luck of the draw. When I visited Washington state last Summer, I found a virtual mecca of Rosé. The holy grail, the motherlode! Everywhere I went, there were Rosés everywhere! Even on my visits to California, Rosé could be found. My passion for Rosé grew by leaps and bounds. So, now it's Springtime, and nothing screams Rosé than a warm afternoon on the patio! It's time, once again, to seek and find.

Recently, I was asked to be part of a tasting panel for TasteLive as a special event celebrating "International Rosé Day" in conjunction with the "Pink Out" event in San Francisco. I couldn't wait to do this! And though I secretly wished I was sampling many Rosés at the actual event, I was extremely happy to participate virtually... I received Rosé samples from three different countries and started drooling!!! The sight of a bottle of a bottle of Rosé makes my mouth water sometimes!

The 2010 Robert Oatley Rosé Of Sangiovese Mudgee hailed from New South Wales, Australia and was crisp, refreshing and chock full of rhubarb/strawberry flavors. Sangiovese is the grape they make Chianti out of in Italy and now you can have it as a Rosé. Intense and dry with a medium reddish-peach color, it paired well with spicy pork roast. Very enjoyable. $17.

Who doesn't love sparkling wines? I've tried a lot in my day but Brut Rosé is the single reason why I enjoy sipping the bubbles. Gloria Ferrer Winery & Vineyards is located in Sonoma, California. They produce some wonderful sparkling and still wines. This event gave me the opportunity to sample their 2007 Brut Rosé, one of their vintage bottlings (and something I have not been able to find around here...). Part Pinot Noir with a bit of Chardonnay in the mix, it was a mouthful of juicy Jolly Rancher candy with dry, tight bubbles and crisp, flavorful finish. I savored it and enjoyed it tremendously. Perfect for any occasion. The 2006 vintage was priced at $42. Not sure what the 2007 will be as it is not yet available on their website but even at $42, this reasonably priced Rosé sparkler is a must for everyone. I plan to pair it with a lot of sushi and seafood.

Nothing prepared me for this next Rosé. Nothing...I was speechless. I had no idea I would be sampling a wine heralded as "The World's Greatest Rosé".

The 2007 Chateau D'Esclans Garrus. This amazing wine comes from a 19th century manor surrounded by 100 acres of vineyards in the Provence. One sip and you will understand why it is so great. Made from 70% Grenache and 30% Rolle from 80 year old vines, this small-production (250 case) wine is a very light salmon color. Don't let the color fool you. It is pure silk, creamy raspberry and amazing! And it should be. You will pay a pretty penny for this. $105. But you will talk about it for the rest of your life...I know I will!

Make some memories this Summer. Try something new and different. These three wines would be a great place to start. For more information, please check out the following websites:

Tried some great Rosés lately? I welcome your suggestions and samples as I will be doing some more stories on Rosé throughout the Summer!

"You Saw It Here First"...This post was created solely for "Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk" by Grace Hoffman. Grace is an Italian-born, American-bred wine blogger/educator with an all-consuming passion for wine and all it encompasses.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jordan Winery Wants Your Video Ideas!!!

A couple days ago, Jordan Winery CEO John Jordan announced a new contest for the winery. It is their very first Viewers' Choice Video Contest. They need your ideas for the next video topic! Ideas can range from winemaking to culinary to viticulture to construction projects to anything having to do with the winery! Ideas can be posted on Jordan Winery's Facebook page or e-mailed to

I am a huge fan and supporter of this winery so of course I sent in my entry!! They do such a wonderful job with their video blog. Who wouldn't want to see their very own topic-inspired video on the winery's blog? Entries will be accepted from now until May 27th! Good luck and I hope to see YOUR video on Jordan Winery's youtube channel very soon!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cellarmistress Tastes Live With Rodney Strong Vineyards!

Yes!!! TasteLive is back for 2011 and what a great way to begin my new season with them by tasting some of Sonoma County's finest with Rodney Strong Vineyards! The event took place on April 12th and was called "Wining, Dining and Spooning with Rodney Strong." In addition to the actual event taking place at the Spoonbar in Healdsburg, California, selected bloggers were chosen to taste and sample out in the field.

Rodney Strong Vineyards is the 13th bonded winery in Sonoma County, founded in 1959. It is committed to quality and earth-friendly, sustainable practices and although they are a large case production winery (250,000+), I believe it is this commitment that makes them special and sets them apart. They truly seem like a small family winery rolled into a big one. I love it! And the wines speak for themselves. I have been drinking Rodney Strong wines for a very long time. They are widely available and if you have yet to try them, go out and get some! You will be pleasantly surprised!

For the event, we bloggers were each sent a set of four wine samples, a very nice media package and a CFL light bulb in conjunction with their "Green Light Pledge". The light bulb emits the same amount of light as a classic incandescent bulb while using 75-80% less electricity, making it more efficient. So I did my part and switched out one bulb as they had asked.

Now on to the wines...These wines were fabulous!!! I truly enjoyed all four of them and would highly recommend them to everyone!

The first wine we sampled was the 2009 Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc. This wine was named for a vineyard that Rodney established in 1971 and named after his wife Charlotte. Being a Sauvignon Blanc fanatic, I enjoyed the mineral and herbaceous nuances in this wine. 90% stainless steel fermented with 10% fermented in French oak. It was crisp, clean, refreshing and would be the perfect accompaniment for light salads and seafood dishes on a hot Summer day! And what a great price! $13.50. It is a steal!

Next was the 2009 Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards Chardonnay. As of late, I've had a tendency to shy away from Chardonnay because the market is just saturated with them. However, this Chardonnay has made me change my mind. When I want a reasonably-priced, beautifully rich one, this is where I will go to find it. I really did not want to stop drinking this one! It was creamy, balanced with some vanilla and spice nuances and a crisp, mineral-laden finish! Very nice. $20. (Yes, I couldn't believe the price point!)

Now on to the reds...First up was the 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. My first thought was to call this wine a powerhouse because it definitely wasn't wimpy that's for sure! However, the more I tried it, the more I realized how elegant it was. It has both a masculine and a feminine side to it. The flavors are huge, powerful, yet the finish was soft and a bit voluptuous! Rasberry, cola, spiciness...A really beautiful but rich wine. I still have so much to learn about Pinot Noir but what I'm learning, I am liking a lot! $40.

And now for the best of the best: 2007 Symmetry Red Meritage from Alexander Valley. Oh my!! This is where they select the best of the best grapes to make a red blend and a lot of thought and care goes into the production of this wine. Once you taste it, you will know why! It is absolutely amazing! I was completely blown away! It is elegance and perfection in a bottle. Silky and rich with medium tannins and a very long finish. It is like a river of dark chocolate, blackberry and spice! $55.

With their wonderful philosophy and commitment to quality, it is for certain that Rodney Strong's legacy will live on for future generations to behold. I hope to see all this for myself as I travel to Sonoma County later this year. I am definitely looking forward to a visit!

Rodney Strong Vineyards is located at 11455 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, California. They are open to the public seven days a week. Rodney Strong wines are widely available in markets all over the US. I encourage you to seek them out! I would like to thank the team at Rodney Strong and at TasteLive for putting on such a wonderful event and for choosing me to participate! See you all very soon!

"You Saw It Here First"...This post was created solely for "Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk" by Grace Hoffman. Grace is an Italian-born, American-bred wine blogger/educator with an all-consuming passion for wine and all it encompasses.