Has merlot rosé ever inspired anything? Apparently it has: scented nail wraps. The pink appliqués come from Gallo Family Vineyards to support their new merlot rosé in the UK. Rubbing the wraps releases ripe plum, blueberry and hints cranberry, scents allegedly found in the wine itself. Here’s their marketing spokesperson:
Nail wraps are the latest craze to hit the beauty industry. By producing the first ever scented version we have created an innovative marketing vehicle that will allow us to engage with women outside of the wine isle, ensuring maximum visibility for the brand and ultimately driving sales.
Ah, ladies who get marketing outside of the wine “isle” (Madeira? Lanzarote? Sicily?) have all the fun. I’ve heard of brand extensions before, but never as nail extensions.
Rosé wine is popular the world over. But in Britain sales of the pink drink have been particularly strong, increasing 64% between 2003 – 2007 according to the BBC. To the victor go the spoils: rosé now joins rotisserie chicken and DVDs ordered on the internet in the country’s “basket of goods,” a measure of inflation. To make room in the index, the Office of National Statistics removed box wine from their figures. But that may be premature, as I told the Financial Times last week, since box wine is not only growing in popularity and quality but might be a better fit with the times.
“A Rosé by Any Other Name Is Not a Rosé,” runs the headline on this AP story. True dat. According to an EU proposal floated last week, the lower-cost method of blending red and white wines to make rosé may soon be allowed alongside the traditional method of “bleeding” rosé off of red grapes. Furor ensues and the method of making the rosé will appear on the label if approved in a May vote.
SIPPED: sanity in restaurant wine prices
A “hot, newish” restaurant in San Francisco may soon roll out wine at retail prices. That’s a fantastic idea and one that would likely fill up many a seat in the restaurant. Key question: do they allow doggy boxes? [Spume]
Domaines Barons de Rothschild, maker of the Bordeaux first growth Lafite, has announced they will be developing a 60 acre vineyard in China, specifically the peninsula of Penglai, Shandong province.
SIPPED: yet another celebrity wine
Antonio Banderas buys a stake in a winery in Spain’s Ribera del Duero. It will be renamed “Puss in Boots” after his role in Shrek. Oh no, scratch that–it will be called Anta Banderas.
If VOS Selections were a wine consumer, the company would just be allowed to drink. The boutique wine importer and distributor, based in New York City, is celebrating its twenty-first year. I dropped by their trade tasting on Monday and sat down with president and founder Victor Owen Schwartz to ask him four questions. What follows are his juicy thoughts on the dollar and wine prices, strikes, the summer from hell, Greek wines, the word of the day (“autochthonous”), and why he’s drinking rosé all year long.
What are you most worried about this fall? Read more…
I had a fun time helping out Slow Food with a wine tasting last night at Plates restaurant in Larchmont, NY.
After the event was over, Mrs. Vino and I stayed to have dinner at the bar. Our dishes (plates?) were great, prepared by chef Matthew Karp who, along with the amiable Wendy Weinstein Karp, owns and runs the restaurant.
I was amused to open the wine list to find page one declaring “It’s National Rosé Month!” Since I had apparently missed that memo, I asked Craig Muraszewski, the wine director, about it. He said that he had personally declared it national rosé month, “within these four walls.” Funny stuff. Oh, and he said the National Rosé Month runs from June til Labor Day…
I tried to snap a pic with my cameraphone of Craig’s “top ten reasons to drink rosé,” as listed on page one of the wine list, but it was too low-lit so I’ll re-type them after the jump. I particularly liked #9 for all its randomness… Read more…
Just as America is warming up to dry pink wine, Papa Bear Eric Asimov tells us it’s jumped the shark. It’s over. Before it even began! Rosé, we hardly knew ye! EA cries out for rosé therapy on his blog:
But doc, why am I so unhappy about rosés? I don’t want to buy them. I don’t want to drink them. I don’t hate them. I’m just not interested. But I know I’m supposed to care. That is, I’m supposed to be carefree, which is the proper attitude for rosés. You know, lunches in Provence, tapas in Spain, let the rosé flow. But I’m not carefree about rosé. I’m grumpy. What’s wrong with me?…I hate to be a killjoy, doc. Isn’t there anything you can do for me?
Don’t be grumpy, Eric! Just get into the vibe! Although I’m not the kind of doctor you’re looking for, here are some tips for starting to think pink:
1. Context matters: rosé could be the ultimate wine where context matters. When it’s hot, chill it and have it on the deck, at a sidewalk cafe, under a tree, in a hammock–wherever there’s no air conditioning! The hotter you are, the better it will taste.
2. A halfway house for whites and reds: dyed in the wool partisans of whites and reds may not often overlap but rosé may just prove that common ground.
3. Tired of serious wine? It’s a quaffer, easily downed. Refreshment is key. Rosé is almost a state of mind more than it is a wine. (Is this sounding New Age-y yet?)
4. Food friendly: high-acidity dry rosé pairs with a lot of foods, including some hard ones like salads and gazpacho and, of course, anything meaty.
5. Wallet friendly: I’d be grumpy too if I paid a lot for rosé–$15 is my max. This is the first press of some wine or from red vines that aren’t mature enough to do anything interesting so there’s an economic argument for it’s being cheap too. Last summer when we were in the south of France we got a 5L box of the hearty Bergerac rosé for 12 euros, which brought down our per glass costs to practically nothing. It makes you extremely generous when the wine is always cold and your per glass cost is less than a postage stamp–and wine is for sharing!
Some of my favorite dry rosés from this summer:
* Chateau Peyrassol. At $17 it is in my grump-zone, but still very nice light Provencal style. (search)
* Commanderie de Bargemone: Yummy, fresh strawberry notes, good acidity and $12 (search).
* Domaine Houchart (St. Victoire): This wine just makes me think about lunch, outside under an umbrella. $15 (search)
* Domaine Sorin, Terra Amata (Cotes de Provence): Sustainably grown; wonderful with fried calamari (search)
* Chateau d’Aqueria (Tavel): Darker in color and bolder in taste, this is a good one for enticing people from the red side as I did last weekend with a guy who “only drinks red.” Though at $17, it’s into my grumpy price range (search)
* Bodegas Muga (Rioja): easy to find, this one is an even better value at $10 (search)
* Bernard Baudry (Chinon): pleasant, but a tad too serious for mindless summer fun with it’s dollop of minerality (search)
Preppy is back. Drink pink.
Back in the 20th century, when we were organizing our wedding, I was making conversation with the New England innkeeper where we had our wedding reception. I was living in Barcelona at the time and we were chatting about Catalan food and wine. Somehow we stumbled onto the topic of cava, the sparkling wine from the region that is dramatically less expensive than Champagne. That really got the innkeeper going. “Cava! I wouldn’t wash the family dog with that!” he flamboyantly declared.
Whatever you might do with bargain bubbly, they have their time and place. I’ve gotten several reader mails recently from people getting married looking for advice on wines for their wedding, particularly when they have the option to source the wines themselves.
The real budget killer can be the Champagne toast. Every guest feels obliged to take a glass, whether they are going to drink it or not. Some just take a sip. Either way, there’s generally a lot bubbly left in the flutes on the tables.
So here’s a short list of bubbly that doesn’t break the bank. Perceptive readers will notice that none of these hail from the region of Champagne. That’s because entry-level Champers starts at $30 these days. I set a maximum of $15 so that we didn’t send the newlyweds (or the parents of the bride) into penury–we’ll let the florist do that.
Bargain bubbly can be a mixed bag with too much residual sugar and too little depth of flavor. If you end up being able to source your own bubbly for the wedding, be sure to taste a bottle before buying in bulk to ensure it is your style. The bubblies here are in my order of preference:
Bisol, “Crede” prosecco (Italy) $14 (find this wine)
My buddy Mark Oldman is a huge fan of prosecco. He shows a flagrant disregard for international law and calls it “Italian champagne” at his parties. Why is it a good party wine? Because it is easy on the wallet and on the palate. Sometimes I find prosecco too sweet but this Bisol is crisp and dry. More importantly, it as a good bead–the wine geek term for them there bubbles that make it so festive. Heck, I wouldn’t just save this one for mass toasts–I’d drink it with plenty of food too ranging from hard cheese to an Asian noodle soup. (Importer: Vias)
Juve y Camps rose cava $14 (find this wine)
I’d be willing to bet that if my innkeeper got poured this cava blind, he do something other than wash the dog with it — he’d no doubt drink it with great enthusiasm. Made from 100 percent pinot noir, this dry pink bubbly has nice red berry notes surprisingly pleasant acidity. Drink pink.
Chandon California brut. $11 (find this wine)
My expectations were low for this one with a generic “California” designation. But in the glass, the wine surprised me pleasant fruit, a good bead, and enough sugar to make it rich but not cloying. I poured it at a tasting event recently and it was well-received. Don’t be surprised if you see Aunt Marnie going around and taking sips out of the half-empty glasses if you pour this one at the wedding.
Reader Jeff J wrote in yesterday asking for a case of wine, probably red, about $150 – $200 to give to a friend in New York who recently got married.
Great question! And thoughtful gesture! Some retailers put together pre-fab cases but I have generally approached them with skepticism. Why? I probably don’t want one or two or three of the wines in the set case. And I suspect there’s something in there that the store might be trying to move for reasons other than necessarily serving the consumer.
But I put my skepticism aside and decided to put my money where my mouth is. I recommended Jeff check out Chambers Street Wines, which has a selection of pre-fab cases at $100 and $200 both red and mixed. I also recommended the mixed “Memorial Day” case at Le Du’s Wines in the West Village. Maybe it was the thought of grilling this weekend but for some reason I found myself clicking “buy now.”
Tuesday I clicked and Wednesday my doorbell rang. I have to confess a certain amount of excitement pulling out bottles I’ve never tried before. Even if I don’t know the producers’ names, the back labels sport the names of some very solid importers–Neal Rosenthal, Jon David Headrick, Classical Wines among others. And they were selected by the knowledgeable staff, headed by Jean-Luc Le Du, formerly the sommelier at the restaurant Daniel.
But the best part? $145.99! Free delivery in New York State. I’ll keep you posted on how the one-click convenience works out in the glass. The list follows below for your perusal. But if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go put a bottle in the fridge since it is heading to 84 degrees today… Read more…