The Wine Curmudgeon appreciated this wine the first time he tasted it, in those long ago days of newspaper wine columns. It’s cheap, it’s consistent, and it comes from a producer that cares about the quality of its inexpensive wine. What’s not to like?
However, I have neglected to review the Toad Hollow ($10, purchased) in the blog’s three-plus years of existence (though it is an original member of the $10 Hall of Fame). So let’s remedy this now as we celebrate rose wine on the blog this week; my annual rose preview will run tomorrow.
Look for lots of strawberry and acid to complement the fruit, which has always been a Toad Hollow trademark. The wine seemed a bit sweeter this vintage than in the past couple, though that may have been because it had not been in the bottle long enough for all of its bits to come together (a wine geek would describe a young wine like that as a little shocky).
Update: I did a little checking, and the wine is noticeably sweeter than usual this year. That’s disappointing, because this has always been one of the great dry roses produced in the U.S. It probably won’t stay in the Hall of Fame.
The biggest problem with Friday night's Planet Bordeaux Twitter tasting was that the Wine Curmudgeon couldn't drink the four wines over four nights, one night at a time. It was a shame to have to do them all at the same time.
Planet Bordeaux is a marketing effort to give well-made and well-priced wine from the less famous parts of the French region of Bordeaux exposure they don't normally get. The Twitter tasting was part of that effort; you can follow the tweets here. The tweeters, wine writers and bloggers, seemed impressed with the wines.
Here are my notes on the four wines, which kicks off rose week. The blog will feature the dry pink wine that too many of us don't appreciate, including a rose wine of the week on Wednesday and my annual rose preview on Thursday.
? Dourthe Grand Cuvee 2010 ($12, sample): This white is very New World in style, with grapefruit and pineapple in the middle. Well done; just not especially French.
? Chateau Ballan Larquette Rose 2010 ($16, sample): An interesting wine that divided the tweeters and is difficult to describe. Some said it smelled like tomatoes; others said red fruit. I liked it, but $16 is a problem.
? Chateau Fontenille 2010 ($14, sample): My favorite of the tasting — clean with deep red fruit and almost more red wine than rose. It's available in some markets for $10 a bottle, which makes it highly recommended.
The Wine Curmudgeon missed this last fall, which was quite a faux pas given how much I care about regional wine. New Mexico's Gruet Winery was named the best U.S. wine producer in 2010 in the quite prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition. Pretty impressive for a regional winery, no?
So what better way to mark the third annual DrinkLocalWine.com conference this weekend in St. Louis than with one of my all-time favorites, Gruet's rose sparkling wine? How a family of expatriate French can make such terrific bubbly in New Mexico, using pinot noir and chardonnay that they grow, is beyond me. I'm just glad they're able to do it.
The rose ($14, purchased) has a firm acidic backbone, as quality sparkling wine should, and is balanced by softer berry fruit (strawberry?). Meanwhile, there is just enough caramel, another sign of well-made bubbly, to show that the Gruets know what they are doing. Drink this chilled on its own or with any kind of spring dinner, salad or picnic. And if you have any cold fried chicken around, it would do quite nicely.