Wednesday, May 11, 2005

 

Wine Blog Wednesday


This is my first ever foray into the world of Wine Blog Wednesday. I am beyond thrilled to actually have accomplished this after having so enthusiastically followed it for so long now. I absolutely love the idea of having so many food blogging people give reviews of realistic (read: not out of my price range) bottles in plain language.

The theme for this month, Think Pink was put forth by darling Sam at Becks n' Posh.


With the hideous associations most people (myself included) have to pink wines it is no surprise that most of what is available these days is made in small batches and called blush or rose to help boost the image. But if you call it Blush, Rose, Pink Zinfandel, (created, by the way, at Sutter Home Winery in the early 70’s) or White Merlot, it's still the same thing, and it's burdened with a terrible reputation as an overly sweet and totally frivolous wine made by adding back the skins of the red grapes or removing the skins late in the process. Admitting you like it is akin to saying you think Welches makes the best jelly.

I personally haven’t seen much in the way of advertising trying to convince me it is actually making a comeback, or that it is better than I think , but I am sure its out there. Hopefully this event will give a little boost to the people out there making serious wines, like the Sterling family of Sonoma. (Not that they focus on Rose wines, they just happen to make some and be my favorite of the California Sparkling Wine producers)

It was with that lingering in my mind that I chose a bottle of the Sterling Family's 1998 Iron Horse Vineyards Brut Rose.

Before I launch into my (exceptionally short, considering the length of the build up) review, I will tell you the upshot. I love this sparkling wine and order it whenever I am offered a bottle, but I do not like, order or drink regular pink wines. I think they are, for lack of a better word, retched, and I have tried a wide variety. There are good ones out there for sure, but they are not to my taste.

This particular sparkling wine was enjoyed with a fantastic meal at the Hotel Bel Air that I wrote about for Bar Fly. (Two birds, one stone. What a clever girl I am!) It's flirty, and unlike most pinks, very dry and goes with almost everything I serve or order, particularly Asian and Mediterranean foods. A bottle costs about $30 retail (or, if you order it in a restaurant, about $70) and they carry it at Wine Expo on Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica.

The first thing to admire after pouring this fantastically chic and stylish wine is the vibrant shade of pink, as the small tight bubbles quickly swim upward in the flute. What actually makes it pink is a mix of Pinot Noir (73%) added for the second fermentation to the usual, well balanced Chardonnay grapes.

Upon tasting, it is a fully developed, bone dry wine, with an outstandingly pronounced yeastiness, full, rich and almost creamy mouth feel and a hint of sweet berries. It could not have been a better compliment to the ahi tuna tartare we were eating, being refreshing and crisp at the same time, cutting the richness of the fish and balancing the heat of the radish sprouts. I could not have asked for a better match.


So while it may not exactly be a Pink Wine, it is stupendous, delicious and extra girly to drink, which makes it a winner in my book and earns it five air kisses out of five.


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"Nothing more excellent or valuable than wine was ever granted by the Gods to man." - Plato

"Moderate alcohol consumption itself reduces CHD mortality. Several mechanisms for this are now recognised, of which the best known is alcohol's ability to alter blood lipid levels by lowering total cholesterol and raising high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels." - Wineserver.UCDavis.edu

Wine consumption has grown every year since 1994, surpassing the 1982 case level in 1996, when 176 million cases of table wine were consumed. The 200 million case level was surpassed in 2000, and growth has continued through 2003, with an all-time record 232 million cases of table wine consumed in the U.S. Very recent gains in table wine consumption are also attributable to the adoption of wine in early adulthood by the leading edge of Millennial generation young adults. - US Department of Agriculture




Labels:


Comments:
I love your description. It makes me want to put on a pair of heels and have a glass!
 
Michele,
Thanks! It was a challenge to find something PINK I was willing to try, Im glad I had this as an option!
 
sorry i missed you. i can't find your original mail in my inbox :(
I am going to add you in now, and I hope you want to read through all the other suggestions in case there is a 'flat' pink wine that might suit you in there among the crowd.

thanks for taking part in your first WBW!

-sam
 
Rachel:
I'm glad you found a lovely, pink sparkler that you enjoyed! I've never had this Sterling wine (they are one of my favorites, too) and now I'm going to look for it.

The one thing I might add is that you may want to take a look at other pinks again. The French, Spanish and Italian roses are often pretty dry and the US is working it's way there.

Thre is a distinction between Blush, Pink Zin and White Merlot (all of which I stay away from) and "real" rose so you might find that once you get used to the "code words" on the labels you'll find some that are more to your liking.

I've been researching rose for the last couple years, looking for local drier styles and coming up with some winners. There are some great entries in Sam's round-up!

Happy tasting!

~ B
 
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