the history of rosé

Leave it to the Ancient Greeks settled in the Provence region of France to invent rosé. Back in 600 B.C. the aim wasn’t necessarily to create a pink hued drink, but since the skins from the grapes were only in contact with the juice for a short period of time, the wine wasn’t able to develop a rich red color. Instead it was pink! It was probably consumed to help invent the idea of democracy, cartography, modern philosophy and most importantly the Olympics. Just conjecture, but add rosé to the list of “Things Invented by the Greeks that we Still use Today“.

Not mentioned in my video (only so much you can say in 60 seconds…

When the power shifted in the South of France, new wine making techniques were introduced and rosé wine was no longer in vogue (gasp!). It wasn’t until the 1800’s when the English caught wind of pink hued wines from Bordeaux, aka “clairet”, that rosé was back in the game. The Brits soon blew this off, however, and the trend quickly shifted. Bordeaux began exporting its bold Merlot/Cab Sauv blends which are still popular today.

rosé and the history

Back to rosé…

Flash forward to the 1970’s when Bob Trinchero, of Sutter Home Wine in Napa, accidentally created an American rosé. This “blush wine” was a result of using Zinfandel grapes (red grapes) to make a “white wine”. Say whattt?? As I mentioned in the video, the 1970’s saw a demand for white wine that exceeded red, and winemakers didn’t have the white varietals to cover their asses. Sooooo, they tried to pull as fast one. A fast one that left us seeing pink again! Thanks Bob. Although, with the “blush wines” of the 1970’s and 80’s they weren’t dry. Once this fad was over, blush wine’s sweetness and deep pink color left American’s with a bad taste in their mouth (literally). Pink wine was again given the axe (weep).

HOWEVER…

Thanks to crafty and badass winemakers, rosé is here to stay (quote me!!). They’ve brought back techniques aimed to deliver a dry, refreshing and accessible wine fit for everyone-of legal drinking age– (aka saving my ass if I do in fact get quoted). So, I’m calling it: Rosé is here to STAY! Vive la ROSÉ! (but really I just won’t let rosé’s popularity die…me, just me!) Ok maybe with the help of my good friends and The Fat Jew we won’t let this beautiful beverage see a dip in popularity.

Until next week, sip some of the good stuff!

CHEERS!

wine wednesday: bordeaux, france

 

It’s finally fall in LA *knock on wood* and I am gripping on to sweater weather tighter than my steering wheel in rush hour traffic. Sliiiight overstatement, but loving the cloudy weather today. I know– my family and friends in Chicago are probably rolling their eyes at me saying this, but it’s true! Absence makes the heart grow fonder, no?

Speaking of fondness, I will always be a lover of Bordeaux blends- particularly those from the right bank. *Side* does matter!!

Let’s talk specifics

bordeaux-left-bank-right-bank-wine-vinepair
image c/o vinepair

In a nutshell (like all areas of France I’ve covered) location a.k.a. terroir makes all the difference. The Garonne river divides Bordeaux in half creating a left bank and a right bank.

bordeaux-wine-region-map
image c/o vinepair

LEFT BANK

Wines from this side are generally higher in tannins, acidity and alcohol. That’s because the Cabernet varietal composes more than half of the blend. This side made the region famous. Médoc and Margaux are noteable areas to look for on the label.

right bank

Wines from the right side are a bit more “feminine” meaning they are less tannic, acidic and lower in alcohol. They are generally ready to drink earlier too and tend to have a lower sticker price. St. Émilion is a notable area to look for on the label.

buying tips

bordeaux-wine-infographic-wine-folly
image c/o wine folly

Because of labeling laws, all Bordeaux wines will note the location. If you’re unsure of whether it’s a right or left bank feel free to ask the store owner if you’re in a wine shop. If not, just google the location et voilà! You’ll have your answer which will help you “guess” the notes of said bottle.

left bank picks

2011 Château Greysac Medoc notes of dark berries, hint of licorice and cedar. This is a well balanced elegant wine.

2012 Château Fage, Graves de Vayres notes of dark and red fruits with some cooking spice. Really great and a bang for your buck.

right bank pick

2010 Château Moulin, Canon Fronsac an organic wine that is incredibly smooth and the earthy notes balance the fruit.

Cheers!

wine wednesday: burgundy

Before a certain anchor man tried to claim his spot as the top “Burgundy”, wine from this landlocked part of France claimed the highest of ratings. And while Mr. Burgundy can almost do no wrong, the whites and reds produced from this region are top-notch, world class, silky-smooth, and would n e v e r say “f you” to its hometown. In short, wine from Burgundy is kind of a big deal. And if you have never seen Anchorman, do yourself the favor. My joke attempts will make a lot more sense.

Anyyyyyway, back to the vino. Burgundy, also known as Bourgogne, is a narrow wine region known for some of the top wines in world. It is the birth place of the Pinot Noir grapes and home to some kick-ass Chardonnays.

the region

Like I said in the video, location is everything! The terroir (pronounced “tear-wah”) aka how a region’s terrain, soils, climate and winemaking practices affect the wine’s taste, plays a huge role for Burgundy wines.

map c/o the BVIB
map c/o the BVIB

There are five regions to note:

  1. CHABLIS
  2. CÔTES DE NUITS
  3. CÔTES DE BEAUNE
  4. CÔTE CHALONNAISE
  5. MÂCONNAIS

Believe it or not, the soil and temperatures vary enough that each of these regions produces wine that is uniquely theirs. More on buying tips per region below!

the grapes

burgundy-wine-grapes-chardonnay-pinot-noir
image c/o wine folly

WHITE BURGUNDY: 100% Chardonnay and mostly produced “unoaked” therefore giving a more crisp and clean taste for the drinker as opposed to the butter-bomb Chardonnays produced state-side.

RED BURGUNDY: 100% Pinot Noir and a difficult little grape to grow. Loves the climate and soil this region provides. As a result, Pinot’s are more earthy and floral.

CRÉMENT DE BOURGOGNE: A sparkling wine from the region that can be produced with both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.

buying tips

When looking at a bottle of Burgundy, look for the specific region it’s from. My notes below will help you pick the bottle that suits your tastebuds.

From North to South:

  1. Chablis: amazing, high acid, bright Chardonnays. Mostly unoaked, but at the top Grand Cru level ($$$$$), some see aging in oak barrels.
  2. Côtes du Nuits: rustic, mushroom-y, earthy, tart berry, and spicy Pinot Noirs.
  3. Côtes de Beaune: richer, pear/apple, white flower Chardonnays. Some do see oak!
  4. Côtes Chalonnaise: plum, clove, dark berry, earthy Pinot Noirs that are usually less expensive, more of a “value” bottle. Also lots of lovely Créments come from this region!
  5. Mâconnais: stone fruit, citrus, zesty Chardonnay from this region, look for Pouilly-Fuisseé for the most value.

burgundy Wine picks

2014 Benjamin Leroux Chablis: well balanced, great mix of citrus and saline, nice and zesty. Not your mama’s Chardonnay! Around $15-$20.

2012 David Duband Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Louis Auguste: yes it’s a mouthful to say, but this is a rich and silky pinot. Dark cherry, touch of acid and around $30 which is a good value given the producer and vineyard location!

I’m Natalie Pelletier signing off from Burgundy! Let me know if you have any favorites from this region.

 

wine wednesday: côtes du rhône, france

As Fall weather starts to creep in everywhere else in the US besides LA, medium bodied reds are always a crowd pleaser. Most wines from the Côtes du Rhône region are red blend containing the varietals Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Usually the highest acclaimed CDR’s have the largest portion of the blend being Grenache; however, since up to 22 varietals are allowed in the blend, taste a bunch to figure out your own preference!

buying tips

cotes-du-rhone-labels
image c/o Wine Folly

It’s all about reading the label! There’s even a “Level 4” version of CDR wines called “Cru” and those are the most expensive, like Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Long story short, the more specific the label the more expensive the bottle.

cÔtes du Rhône pick

$: 2014 Caves du Fournalet Côtes du Rhône: medium-light body, notes of strawberry and raspberry light tannins, great with food and under $10 from Trader Joes.

$$: 2014 Domaine La Manarine Côtes du Rhône: tart cherry and a spicy finish, this is a fab under $20 pick that is a great step up palatte wise from the Caves du Fournalet.

Cheers!

wine wednesday: provence, france

It’s no secret that I have a love for rosé. What can I say? When the weather is sunny and 70 degrees ninety-percent of the time in LA there’s not an easier choice.

But there IS an even better choice when it comes to rosé selection, and that would be from: PROVENCE, FRANCE.

Nearly all the wine that comes out of that region is ROSÉ, so it is there specialty if you will.

Located on the Mediterranean coast, the climate is easy, breezy and beautiful…and yes it’ll make you feel like a covergirl. It’s got hills (grapes loooove to grow on hills) breeze, loads of herbs like lavender, thyme and rosemary-plus the glorious Med sun. These factors all lend a hand to create wines uniquely provencal.

c/o wine folly
c/o wine folly

As you can see, there are a lot of smaller regions within Provence. Individually they are known as an AOC.

What is an AOC you ask?? Besides being a great restaurant in LA, it stands for “Appellation de’Origin Contrôlée”. These are a set of rules and regulation wine makers/growers have to follow and its specific per region in France. Examples are: what kinds of grapes growers can grow, the blending percentages, how many grapes can be harvested per season etc.

buying tips

For stellar Rosé look for these regions:

  1. Côtes du Provence $$
  2. Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence $$ (Brad and Angie’s Miraval is from here RIP)
  3. Bandol $$$

cÔte de provence rosé pick:

2014 Château d’Astros Côtes de Provence approximately $15. It’s clean, crisp and dry with notes of strawberry, raspberry. Well rounded and drinks like a more expensive bottle, score!

Any favorite Provence wines?? Share away!

-video and photography help from Sophie Kuller