In this section of The Grape Belt we’ll offer snapshots of wines and grapes and regions that most folks might not know or be very knowledgeable about. If more people learn more about wines other than the basic varieties they find in their supermarket or discount liquor store, we increase the chances that the good news about wine, the grape gospel, will spread. Just think, simply by reading these notes and sharing what you learn with friends and family, you’re helping to make this world a better place. I’m serious. Why would I lie? This is wine we’re talking about.
Like any good rollercoaster, we’ll start out slowly. Our first Geek Of The Week selection is a pink wine from the Languedoc region in the south of France, the Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé. Produced by Mas de Daumas Gassac, which some critics have referred to as the Lafite of the Languedoc (that’s a pretty big compliment, in case some of you haven’t heard of Chateau Lafite Rothschild), the Guilhem rosé is a blend of syrah (55%) and grenache (45%) and comes in at a very tame 12.5% alcohol, which means you can drink about a kabillion gallons of this stuff. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little bit, but you will want to quaff your fair share of this stuff, trust me. A gorgeous, light watermelon pink — think Jolly Rancher candies — gives way to strawberry aromas and flavors. (The picture here is a bit paler than the ’10 on sale now.) Crisp and clean in the mouth, it’s the perfect wine to have on hand when prepping a summer meal or relaxing outdoors on a sunny afternoon. Priced variously at $8-10, it’s a bargain. And, it’s fun to look at. I know. During the past two nights I have had more than my share of such fun. You’ll want to keep your glass filled. I mean, refilled.
Is rosé really a geeky wine? Maybe not for the serious wine buff, but for many people it still is. Others might dismiss rosé because they’ve had the unfortunate experience of being served some clumsy confection of a wine that should have not, for any reason, been allowed to be sold for human consumption. My experience in the last few years, during which I’ve drank a wider and wider range of pink wines, tells me that there are wonderful surprises to be had in this category if you’re wiilling to make even a tiny bit of effort. France, Spain, Italy, and Greece, just for starters, all produce refreshing, well-crafted rosés that are simply delightful, not just in summer but throughout the year. These wines are miles removed from the sugary nonsense that too many people, sadly, think of when they hear the word rosé. American winemakers are a bit late coming to this game but they are catching up fast. Talk to your local wine merchant, not the guy at the big box store, and tell her that you want to learn more about pink wines. You’ll be surprised at all the good bottles out there. For those of you who drink only white zinfandel, it’s time to take off the training wheels and start drinking pink wine with the big boys and girls.
If you are already a rosé fan, let us know a few of your favorite bottles, and tell us what you like about them. With summer coming, we can’t learn enough about these wonderful wines. Slainté!
(For more information on the above wine and its producers, please go to http://www.daumas-gassac.com/)