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The Secret to Holiday Entertaining – Celebrate Magnum Style

We shouldn’t need an excuse to pull out all of the stops when it comes to entertaining, but then what would the holidays really be for anyway?

Whether you’re a wine geek or not, our secret to dialing things up a notch is to Go Big – literally. A “magnum” of wine is what you call the super-sized bottle of wine you may have started to see more often since Thanksgiving. Said bottle contains the equivalent of two “normal” bottles of wine. It is a sight to behold, and certainly makes that statement we never mind to make.

No contest, magnums make for a fantastic gift for wine lovers. But how often do you have enough of a crowd to warrant actually opening a large-format bottle? Our staff relishes the chance.

Here are ten wines available in magnums we think are perfect for celebrating. Make an impression this holiday season!


Adriano Adami Bosco di Gica Valdobiadene Superiore Prosecco| Veneto, Italy
The wonderful world of sparkling wine is global – you don’t always need to travel to Champagne, France for an enticing or satisfying selection! Here Adami over-delivers for the category, producing a lively, quaffable sparkler.

Billecart-Samon Brut Rosé  | Champagne, France
Behold, one of our absolute favorite producers of Champagne, let alone sparkling rosé. Seeing this wine packaged in a magnum – well, we caught our breath! Here the devil is in the details: tiny beads of joy oh-so-delicately deliver tangy red fruits first to your nose, and then to your palate. Notes of chalk-board erasers are a time machine back to less-harried, wonder-rich times.

Ployez-Jacquemart Extra Quality Brut | Champagne, France
Where Billecart-Samon scores high in the ‘delicious-subtlety’ category, Ployez-Jacquemart does so with equal enthusiasm in the ‘delicious-decadence’ category. Generous orchard fruits are lifted by citrus and quince – and that’s just the beginning! Toasty and lush with gratifying brioche elements, we just love how this wine wraps itself around your senses….


Bodegas Muga Rosado| Rioja, Spain
Nothing says party-perfect more effortlessly than a magnum bottle of sacred (read: somewhat scarce) rosé wine! Here the historic winery Bodegas Muga blends Grenache with white Viura grapes and a splash of Tempranillo. Aging the wine briefly in large oak vats adds body and nuance, while lees aging contributes subtle milk chocolate notes. The result is supreme – a dry but lifted, round-edged, winter-ready but refreshing style that can elevate holiday meals just as easily as it can coolly welcome friends. (Grab one if you see one – Rebecca did!)


Chateau Montelena Winery Chardonnay | Napa Valley, California
This wine packs both a delicious and historic punch: established in 1882, Chateau Montelena is one of the oldest wineries in the United States –  and the 1973 vintage of this wine won the famous Judgement of Pairs in 1978! Is it still worth its muster? In a word, YES. The fruit for this wine was selected literally grape by grape. With only 10% new oak used and a cool growing season in play, this white is as dramatic as it is crisp!

Weingut Josef Leitz, Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Spätlese Riesling| Rheingau, Germany
There’s just something about colder days that beg for a glass of something decadent, something you can cozy up to, something that somehow also rouses your spirits and delivers a surprise. Here one of our absolute favorite German winemakers, Josef Leitz, delivers all of that in one uncorking. Minerality creates a snappy tension with the fruity, sappy, layered flavor profile of this wine – and it is delivered in an abundant(ly), delicious package.


Buena Vista Winery “The Count” | Sonoma, California
A blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon, “The Count” shows its innovative roots while showcasing the bold potential the Count himself saw in California wines. Medium bodied, this wine is as packed with purple and black fruits as it is with earth-driven nuance. Burnt caramel and cedar notes give it that touch of winter-time pizazz we all crave this time of year. Easy drinking and velvety smooth, this toothsome wine is a crowd-pleaser!

Burgess Cellars Library Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (2002) | Napa Valley, California
Properties like Burgess are what put the Napa Valley – and Cabernet grown here – on the map. Determined to make a style of wine expressive of terroir, Tom Burgess was wise to snap up this plot of land in the Howell Mountains. Here above the fog, vines 60+ years old have become one with the mineral-rich, volcanic soil. Opulent yet still ‘pretty’, this wine is a teenager, packed with dark berry fruit, dusty earth and just a hint of mocha.

Chateau de Saint Cosme Rouge | Cotes du Rhone, France
For (at least) two of us on staff, our love affair with European wine began with Syrah from the Rhone Valley, France. Wines like this iconic one are the reason why: fresh, purple-floral aromatics awaken your senses first, followed by a decadent palate rich with dark fruit, hints of spice and notes of saddle leather and bacon fat (yes.. bacon!). Welcome to the club!

Domaine Serene Vineyards Pinot Noir | Evenstad Reserve | Willamette Valley, Oregon
Oregon's Willamette Valley is thought “the Promised Land” for producing acclaimed, Burgundian-styled reds, aka exceptional Pinot Noir. And Domaine Serene is one of the darlings of this young yet heralded wine region. We were downright gleeful to discover their award-winning, flagship wine is available in magnums. Buyer beware: the Evenstad Reserve is a super-silky, complex wine that delivers a wallop of delight!



Serving Rosé, Red and White Wines at the Right Temperature


“What temperature should I drink rosé?” is the no. 1 question we’ve been fielding at wine events this summer. As a sort-of “cross-over” option between white and red and as perhaps the newest curiosity in wine, there’s no wonder there’s confusion.

The spectrum of rosé wine styles is as broad in variation as white and red wine styles can be. Rosé wines range from crisp and lively to bold and brooding – with a LOT of variation in between. That’s a fair bit to contend with and each has its own respective “ideal” serving temperature.

And wines (regardless of color) are INfrequently served at the appropriate temperature, even at restaurants. This can be due in part to infrastructure or practical reasons (e.g. cold glass-pour bottles are in/out of the cooler too frequently to maintain ideal serving temperature; and you may have noticed bottles sitting on the counter in staff-accessible locations, which are not temperature-friendly…). As a result even the so-called experts miss the mark, and you don’t get a proper taste-bud education or quality experience to reference.

Does it really matter anyway?

YES. A wine that’s served too cold is wearing a mask – none of its personality has a chance to show, let alone shine. It's frozen! You need to massage a given wine to do your taste buds a favor and otherwise honor the dogged work of the folks in the vineyards and winery who toil for your greater good.

Meanwhile, wines served too warm can burn you; the alcohol packs a punch and none of the fruit or earth nuances that make it unique (or delicious) come to bear.

At home you have the ‘luxury’ of being Goldilocks and getting it just right, even if you don’t have a temperature-controlled wine cellar. There’s a simpler way for optimal enjoyment whether you’re uncorking a white, rosé or red wine.

Here’s our rule of thumb:

Put said desired bottle of wine in the fridge – or the freezer – for 30 minutes. That’s your basic starting point for ALL styles (except Sparkling, which needs another hour) and about the time it takes to kick off your shoes after your day, flip through the mail and get dinner started. Simply grab the bottle off the rack and get it chill’n before you start your Unwinding Process.

Here’s where you go from there:

WHITES.   Especially in the summer and if you’re eating outdoors, put your white wines in the freezer for that half hour, not the fridge. Then use a wine bottle chiller to keep the bottle more/less at that temperature while serving it. Fuller bodied wines like Viognier and Chardonnay will be just about spot-on in that 30 minute window, depending how warm the bottle was before you got started. Crisper, leaner wines benefit from a little extra time. Shoot for more like 40 minutes. Unsure what style is in your glass? Err on the longer side of the spectrum. Wines can warm up pretty quickly, so you’re better off starting too cold than not cold enough!

ROSÉS. To start, apply the same thinking and preparation as you would a white wine as described above. If you know it is a more bold or brooding style, ease up on the freezer chill time. If it is leaner, or more crisp, give it that extra bit of time. And from there, enjoy what makes rosé perhaps the most fun category of all – the chance to taste it on its journey! I typically start with the wine chilled to its coldest potential point and then enjoy the experience tasting it overtime, as it warms on its own. The wine’s flavors shift and evolve in turn, which is a BIG part of experiencing rosé’s special magic!

REDS. “Room Temperature” is a concept of the past, when we didn’t have central air. Then room temperature was around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or today what we think of as ideal “cellar temperature”. Most often reds are served way too warm, regardless how bold or lighter-bodied they are. Here you want to stick your wine in the fridge for said 30 minutes, with maybe 10 minutes less for bolder styles.

For wines that fall into the “Chillable Reds” category, if you offer up 40 minutes of fridge treatment, the wine will virtually frolick in your glass! French Beaujolais and Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, Italian Nebbiolo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Sciava and Frappato, and even youthful, un-oaked Spanish Tempranillo are all chill-loving.

In a pinch for time? Give any given wine an ice bath for 10+ minutes (you do the math given the above reference points) and you are good to go!


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Bro-sé: Why Men Drink Pink (Too)


It’s long been true men who wear pink stand out in a crowd – they get automatic props for being “man enough” to strut their stuff in this soft-toned, physique-pleasing color. Some say they even make more money and are better educated! And yet, let’s face it, in the jargon-rich, equality-striving universe in which we live, “man enough” today is a term we guffaw, said only tongue in cheek. What we’re really getting at is that a man wearing pink is chic enough to be so bold as to be so softly adorned.

Rosé is finally getting the respect it’s due here in the U.S. of A. - with good reason.

But, if you’ve noticed, men have caught on; pink shirts and even pants are abundant, almost redundant. This former trend-setting maneuver is still wonderful to see, but unfortunately, officially, mainstream. Gasp!

And so it is time to ponder the next phase of manly chic-dom – something still operating largely under the radar, and arguably even more sexy than that first man to don pink because it is a signal he knows something more than the "average" guy….

Behold – it is the man across the room, drinking a glass of rosé!

Rosé is finally getting the respect it’s due here in the U.S. of A. - with good reason. Mouthwateringly refreshing, yet dry and incredibly food-friendly, rosé is as versatile as the many shades of pink you can conjure.

And, other than recognizing the possibility of Greatness therein, you know you can’t judge that bottle by its color, right? Some of the driest, most serious, in the bunch are so lightly hued as to be barely a shade of “salmon” pink.

With their kiss of drying tannin, thirst-quenching acidity and fruit nuances, these wines can be paired with grilled Bison sliders, dill-infused zucchini and feta roast chicken, seared tuna, tangy soft cheese, charcuterie…

Bros-in-the-know know that rosé is made from red grapes – extracted, essentially – it offers a touch of vinous muscle in a pleasing, quenching package. Are some more fruit-forward than others? Absolutely. But the fun is in tasting the rainbow, because rosé truly is the little black dress of wine – or dare we suggest, the pink shirt of it?

With their kiss of drying tannin, thirst-quenching acidity and fruit nuances, these wines can be paired with grilled Bison sliders, dill-infused zucchini and feta roast chicken, seared tuna, tangy soft cheese, charcuterie…. The list is endless! And the supply short. So the savvy gent, for his own part, knows rosé season is one to behold – for this vinous window is (too) brief, and one to capitalize on!

This summer before supplies run out (typically mid-September) saddle up to your favorite haunts or your local wine shop and get sipping!

Here are a few that pack a particularly muscular punch this year:

Heitz Cellars Grignolino Rosé.   Here the iconic California producer Heitz delivers a particularly robust style of rosé, with plenty of strawberry + black raspberry fruits. If you are an adventure-seeker by nature, Italian Grignolino is a grape to know!

Anne Amie Cuvee A Midnight Saignee Rosé.   Anne Amie takes great care with this wine… a virtual basket-full of red summer fruits, mitigated by a whisper of spice and everything nice. Grab the spicy Asian take-out – this wine is as fruit-forward as they come!

Ostatu Rosato.   Zesty Tempranillo and the fuller-figured Grenache are natural bedfellows – and after 250 years in the biz, the Saenz family knows how to deliver a measurably dry rosé buoyed by fruit and nuance. Have another bottle near!

Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé.  Mulderbosch was ahead of the times when it conceived of this rosé and first released it in ‘99. Pleasing aromatics are followed by red and dark fruits, cleansing minerality and a dash of spice. Cheers to trend-setting!

Calcu Rosé.   Calcu makes the case that Chile – famous for its distinct, powerful reds – is perhaps a natural to produce rosé wines. Both elegant and restrained in its fruit presentation, this wine is equal parts refreshing and bold!

Chateau Ksara Sunset Rosé.  Ksara is no new kid on the block – and they are serious about producing seriously delicious wines. If you are up for a little sass in a glass, their tart and textural rosé is just the thing. Go on – it’s date night!

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12 Ways to Stay Ho-ho-Happy this Holiday Season: Pour Favor’s 12 Wines of Christmas!

For some people it’s all about getting through the holidays. Others embrace the season with aplomb. For wine lovers, it doesn’t matter which camp you fall into! Wine served is a life lived well. One of our clients couldn’t have agreed more, inviting us to consult on some holiday wine selections for them. The line-up was so worthy, we thought we would impart a little Christmas cheer by sharing with you, too! And so we bring to you Pour Favor’s 12 Wines of Christmas. Consider the holidays saved!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me gentle rosé bubbles! Domaine Robert Serol’s “Turbullent” vin rose festif et petillant is as festive, lively and lovely as it sounds, featuring 100% Gamay. It’s earthy yet bright, red-fruited nature combined with just a touch of effervescence is the perfect thing to get you in the holiday spirit. Pop cork, trim tree!

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! Oveja Negra’s Maule Valley single vineyard Carmenere is one of our favorite single-varietal wines of the year. Robust and pure, this dark, smooth and brooding yet lifted wine is buoyed by Chilean earth and finishes with a dark chocolate espresso note. Sip and savor with the homemade fudge your neighbor dropped by – and relish looking at your trimmed tree.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! ‘Tis always the season to embrace the wierdos, and Heitz Cellar’s Napa Grignolino is certainly that - until we saw/tasted this wine we didn’t know they were even cultivating this grape in California, one traditionally grown (in limited quantities) in Piedmont, Italy. After last night’s fudge fest, you’ll relish this charming, lighter-bodied, silky, slightly fertile wine with baking spices on the finish. Put out the bowl of imported strawberries and dive in!

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! A Riesling and Sylvaner hybrid grape, Mueller Thurgau is a gift in and of itself as opulent freshness is buoyed by all the main apple varieties - red, yellow and even tart green – and a thrilling herbal component comes into play. Tough day wrapping up projects at work before the end of the year? No worries! This killer white will tickle your tinsel-time fancy!

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! With just one week ‘til Santa is nigh you’ll need something with power and elegance to give you a mental timeout while you start wrapping presents. Sink your teeth into Campi Nuovi’s Montecucc Sangiovese and call it done! This unfiltered, organic certified wine is Old World bliss: blackberry and cherry tang are composed by worn leather and fresh earth. You’ll be mid-bow-tying and having a ‘damn! That’s good’ moment. Promise.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! After all that wrapping you’re thinking how much you’ve spent this month and wondering how you’re going to keep drinking well without breaking the bank. Enter Johanneshof Reinisch Pinot Noir. We’ll let this one speak for itself. It’s that good!

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! Tonight you’re ordering pizza and uncorking a really special bottle to enjoy all on your own (partner optional). You’re so excited about it you even have the presence of mind to uncork before you head out the door to work. And why wouldn’t you be? Only 3 barrels of Hendry Blocks 9D & 26 Napa Cabernet Franc were made – and your true love was lucky enough to score one and smart enough to squirrel it away for you. Tonight Christmas comes early!

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me the best rosé in the world, limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! Tavel from the Rhone could rival Provence for historic rosé recognition. Here we are talking about wines that are outstanding when fresh, and mesmerizing when they have a little bit of age on them. Chateau d'Aqueria hits the genre out of the vineyard with a generous, winter-ready body, mineral-rich purity, lovely flowers (violets and roses alike) and a light spice note. Get out your charcuterie board and call it a casual night in while the family comes over the river and the through the woods to your house.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Bordeaux, the best rosé in the world, limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! It’s now Sunday night and you’ve been cultivating your beef stew in the slow-cooker all day while you were out doing last minute stocking-stuffer shopping. Fortunately you’re true love knew a good Bordeaux would be the perfect match! Chateau Bourbon la Chapelle offers all of the flinty magic of the Médoc, with graphite and tea adding interest to an otherwise pretty, black-fruited wine that’s not weighed down by wood-aging. Could Santa be your true love?!

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me a crazy Spanish red, Bordeaux, the best rosé in the world, limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! We all know Santa makes it to all ends of the earth on his sled, so it’s only natural to channel his exploration sensibilities this time of year. Anima Negra’s AN2 is mesmerizing, kind of like Rudolph’s nose. Hailing from Majorca, Spain, you don't see these too often, either! A blend of Callet, Mantonegre-Fogoneu and Syrah grapes it opens with floral aromas, and graces the palate with ripe, round red raspberry fruit flavors. It is refreshing yet firm, soft but juicy. It says, “Snuggle up to that roaring fire with me in your glass!”

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me White Burgundy, a crazy Spanish red, Bordeaux, the best rosé in the world, limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! For us seeing the Sugar Plum Fairy’s solo is a highlight to beheld this time of year – her grace, elegance and memorable strength and presence can’t be beat. The wine equivalent of this experience is Domaine Bachelet-Monnot’s Bourgogne blanc. Christmas Eve you’ll want to bring out something this magical. Uncork and hear the bells!

On the twelth day of Christmas my true love gave to me sexy Nebbiolo, White Burgundy, a crazy Spanish red, Bordeaux, the best rosé in the world, limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! Christmas can’t come without Nebbiolo being in the mix. And while many gravitate first (among the elite Piedmontese styles) to Barolo, our heart is aflutter with the more feminine Barbaresco. Ca’ del Baio’s revered cru “Asili” vineyard Barbaresco is one of our favorites in particular, offering pedigree (fine tannins and varietal zip) and panache as mulled cherry notes meet herbal lift in a generous and open package. Merriment indeed!

And with that, we wish you Happy Holidays from all of us at Pour Favor!



at "the end" of rose season...

This (vintage) year has been a stellar one for rose lovers. Across the board the quality has been phenomenal - and after a so-so season last year, where the fun was in the find, this year (2012's) you basically haven't been able to go wrong. Talking last week amongst ourselves, we realized also that we tend to drink more rose this time of year - at summer's end - than any other. In part it is because we are in the final throes of the season, when you realize it's a final feeding frenzy when you have to stock up on what's left in the market NOW. And in part it is because September in New England has got to be one of the most glorious times of the year for drinking this limited commodity. Days are warm (and sunny?!) and evenings are cooler.

It's warm enough to drink something with a chill without feeling it throughout your entire body. And it's cool enough to fire up the grill.

Rose and grill fare?


When it comes to grill fare and rose, one of our favorite styles is Pinot Noir. More often than not roses (from all over the world, no less) are a blend of varietals. But when it comes to Pinot Noir, we can't think of a time when a winemaker has blended it for their rose wine. The magic is in the purity. (Granted, not many winemakers dare give up this hard-earned juice for rose, but when they do? Watch out.)

This year's stand out fav, among ALL rose in the market, has been Joseph Mellot's Sincerite Rose - 100% Pinot Noir. The extra bit of body to the wine delivered with pristine limestone/flinty minerality makes it this magical balanced vin you can't help but love. AND IT IS PERFECT WITH GRILL FARE. Skewered, Cajun dry-rubbed shrimp? Done. Pork tenderloin grilled to juicy perfection? Done and done. Mama's BBQ chicken? Yep! That's a slamdunk, too.

Long story short, 'tis the end of rose season as far as what's available in the market goes. Those limited resources have largely been consumed. So gather up your remaining rose resources and stock up. We still have the best rose drinking weather in front of us, but getting your hands on the stuff only gets trickier here on out.

TRAVEL ALERT: If you're lucky to have ever visited (or are planning to, hint hint) Heinemann's property in Baden, Germany you also know his Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) Kabinett Trocken Rose is to die for. We recently cracked his 2011 offering having saved one bottle last year (remember, the harder to find rose gems vintage) and it couldn't have been better - as a stand-alone delight, let alone with a year of bottle age under its belt. (Yes, there are rose wines that can do so! Ask your local Wine Buyer for his/her pick to get you through the colder days of winter to come....)



Next Episode of "What She's Drinking"

I realized I haven't posted in ages about what I've been sipping on. The last several months, it's felt a bit like a marathon - not of exorbitant consumption, per se, but of keeping up with the many new vintages hitting shelves this summer. Yes, my colleague and I (largely) enjoy  our "Homework", which consists of bring home new finds or new vintages of old favorites to 'check in' on a particular wine and perhaps most important, have it in the comfort of our own homes, with friends/family (or sometimes solo)  and 9 out of 10 times, with food. Sure, you can taste 60+ wines per week, but there's something to be said for getting a little bit of a reality check, or perspective on what the average wine consumer experiences. Where to begin? Naturally we'll start with rose, since that's what I'm most inclined to take home right at the moment. I don't know what it is, but as soon as it gets warm all I want is a good rose. And now it is H-O-T.

As you may recall from my late Spring post, fresh out of the gates, things were looking a bit unsettled in rose land; wines had not yet come into their own.

But now they are singING!

I'm still a huge fan of Chateau Larroque, the Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend I last wrote about. Contending alongside it for my everyday rose-sipping affections is... Le Fraghe "Rodon" Bardolino Chiaretto rose. Now here's something equally unique (perhaps why there are so many apparent 'names' on the bottle). Bardolino by definition connotes a light styled Italian red, one you might chill. Ok, it's hot outside. Tell me more! The grapes in this lively rose (not that you can tell from the label, ironically) are Rondinella and Corvina - two of the flagship varietals that make up the bold Veneto wine Valpolicella. The grapes see about 6 hours on the skin, giving it a dark rose/light light red wine color. The finished wine actually matures on the lees in stainless steel tanks. This process give it a richer texture but also a zesty punch. I love it for it's uber-dry, quenching qualities - and the fact that there is a surprising, but welcome bit of spice on the finish! I think it is that little extra kick that sets it apart from other roses (particularly the kind I typically gravitate towards, those from Provence).

It's definitely been a fun summer so far! If you want to spend a few extra bones and can get your hands on any, keep an eye out for another vierdo rose - one from County Line in Anderson Valley. This bold wine is a 100% Pinot Noir offering.

What are you drinking at the moment?



Rose season is upon us!

We've had uncharacteristically balmy and warm temps in Boston this week, and with May just around the corner, it's not quite premature to talk about rose wines. Or is it? You know from previous posts of mine on the topic that rose is that special pink wine that is irrefutably dry. It is also something that is released early each Spring in order to be served fresh off the presses, if you will, and keep us refreshed during the warm months of the year. There is great anticipation each year when 'rose season' will begin, a sort of unofficial statement of warmer days to come.

For better or worse - not enough data points are in yet to be sure - the last few years we've noticed a trend whereby producers, importers and wholesalers seem to be in ka-hoots (sp?) to get the first jump on rose season. Last year's (2009) roses from France (Provence being the most famous production area) offered a crisp punch, a happy marriage of minerality and ample fruit, which seemed in never-ending supply. We were grateful. Just the way we like it!

This year's batch, the 2010's, seem a bit lackluster as yet. They aren't bad wines by any stretch of the imagination. But coming on the heels of such a lovely 2009 vintage, it's hard to get as excited at the moment. We can't help wonder if our experience thus far with Provencial rose (the main disappointment) is that the wines are being released TOO early. It's possible the wines just need to settle in, get acclimated and integrated, to really deliver. But we won't know just yet.

In the meantime, if  like me you are happy for the warmer days and want to scratch the rose itch, I recommend giving Provence a little time and trying other areas. Right now I'm digging a terrific rose from Bordeaux (you almost never see rose coming from this appellation) that is a blend of two 'bigger' grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; it is from Chateau Larroque. Next up is a new arrival VERY few were lucky to get their hands on this year. It is a rose of Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley's Anne Amie made in the saignee method and aged ever so briefly in wood, which gives it a richer mouthfeel. Massachusetts was the only state outside of Oregon to get an ever-so-small allocation of 15 cases. Grab a couple of bottles now to get you over the Provencial hump!

Are you ready for rose season? Found any new favorites?



Wine Tasting in Tavel

When I was planning my trip to the Southern Rhone, visiting Tavel was a given. Not only was I arriving in May, the beginning of rosé season, but Tavel offers perhaps the most revered bottlings of this sacred juice internationally. It is the only region in France where rosé is the only “official” wine allowed to be produced. That is, any producer can produce any wine, but the way French wine law works you only get “credit” for a wine if it follows certain strict regulations, or guidelines. In Tavel that guideline is a mandate for rosé. See which winery was my host and what my taste-buds told me over at Wicked Local today!

Have you enjoyed any great Tavel rosé yet this year?



Women and (Red) Wine (Pairing) - plus Dr. Vino's sipped/spit list

How many articles have you read where the bone being picked is over who gets the wine list in a restaurant, the man or the woman? This week I stumbled on another, which parlayed a bit off of the recent Brigham study about women, wine and their weight. Take a look at this one and report below what is your experience on the topic. I can't help but wonder if this is a regional/cultural thing, because I can't remember the last time someone didn't hand me the wine list. I have no real beef on this one - at least here in Boston. You? Next up, if you don't yet know what are some great options for pairing wine with fish - or are looking for at least one new idea - check out this piece.

Last but not least, if you enjoy a good laugh with your wine, go here for Dr. Vino's recent "sipped or spit" piece. For me this occasional Vino post theme is a lovely, not so guilty, pleasure!



2010 rose wine season off to a good start

Last year we waited, and waited, and waited for warmer days to come. Rosé wine, one of the best ways to enjoy said weather, took a kind of backseat amidst the dreary doldrums we experienced here in New England. It wasn’t until August that I finally had the inclination to write about how gorgeous (and not sweet) rosé wines are – and offered them as a solution to the hot and humid days of summer. This year we're off to a much better start - and the 2009 roses are starting to come in! Pop on over to Wicked Local to get a refresher course on these lovely wines and a few recommendations to kick off your 2010 rose travels.