Tag Archives: rose

Wine of the week: Mulderbosch Rose 2017

mulderbosch roseThe Mulderbosch rose demonstrates, once again, that you don’t have to spend more than $10 to get terrific pink wine

Is the Mulderbosch rose pink wine for The Holiday that Must Not be Named? Check.

Does it have a screwcap? Check.

Consistent quality? Check.

Tremendous value? Check.

Tasty? Check.

In other words, South Africa’s Mulderbosch rose ($10, purchased, 12.5%) is everything a great cheap wine should be. And, believe it or not, widely available – grocery stores, even.

The 2017 vintage (which we’re getting now because the southern hemisphere is six months ahead of the northern in the harvest cycle) is much fresher and more flavorful than the 2016 that I tasted at the end of last year. That’s a reminder that most roses don’t age well, and you should always buy the most recent vintage and never one that is more than 18 months old.

The Mulderbosch is an odd rose since it’s made with cabernet sauvignon, which is a heavier-tasting grape than rose needs. But that’s rarely a problem with the wine; this vintage shows a little cabernet zippiness and some blackberry fruit, as well as a classic rose clean finish. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2019 $10 Hall of Fame.

Imported by Terroir Selections

Winebits 527: Gina Gallo, Bon Jovi, airline wine

Gina GalloThis week’s wine news: Gina Gallo speaks (yes, that Gallo), plus more celebrity wine and how to bring wine on an airplane

Keynote speech: Gina Gallo of E&J Gallo, who oversees winemaking at the family company – the largest wine producer in the world – made a rare public speech at a key wine trade show last month. That’s news in itself, reports W. Blake Gray on Wine-searcher.com; what’s more interesting is what she said as she talked about Gallo family values and how it affects the business: “Our vision for Gallo is to continue to grow by following the values learned at the family dinner table: Be compassionate. Work hard. Act as a family.”

No more, please: Is it any wonder that the Wine Curmudgeon is so cynical about celebrity wine? Consider this, from the release announcing rock legend Jon Bon Jovi’s new $25 rose, Diving into Hampton Water: He wanted to “to create a unique rosé, uniting the essence of the relaxed lifestyles of the Hamptons and the South of France.” Who knew that those of us who championed rose all those years ago, when it was pink wine that no one wanted to drink, would have created this monster? I wonder: Is this how Richard Lester feels about music videos?

Do you really want to try this? Gilbert Ott, who writes a travel blog called God Save the Points, says travelers can legally bring their own wine onto airplanes and forgo the plonk that most airlines serve. His reasoning sounds legitimate, but I can’t see myself doing it. I’ve spent too much time in TSA lines to imagine that I could actually get wine through security. And even if I did, I’d still have to deal with airline employees. Can you imagine trying to explain to a flight attendant that it’s OK to pour my wine, and showing them this guy’s blog?

Wine and food pairings 2: Roast chicken salad with Chinese noodles

roast chicken saladThe Wine Curmudgeon pairs wine with some of his favorite recipes in this new, occasional feature. This edition: three wines with a roast chicken salad with Chinese noodles

Technically, this isn’t chicken salad, not the kind that Americans know all too well – leftover, dried out chicken glopped with too much mayonnaise. Rather, it’s a way to take ingredients as simple as chicken thighs and lettuce and turn it into a dinner more interesting and more fun to eat during the week – yet still easy to do.

This dish has its roots in late 1980s nouvelle cuisine, where the goal was to pile as little food as possible as high on the plate as possible while charging as much money as possible. So, given my sense of humor, why not do the same sort of thing, but that was cheap and enjoyable? In other words, make a simple green salad, top it with the Chinese noodles, and then top the noodles with the roasted chicken thighs. Drizzle with vinaigrette (made from the chicken fat and liquids from roasting, even), and you have one dinner, one plate, and minimal cleanup.

There are two keys here: marinating the chicken thighs in lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and fresh rosemary; and using the odd Chinese noodles that are dyed yellow. You can substitute rice noodles or even ordinary thin egg noodles, but the Chinese version seems to work the best. Click here to download or print a PDF of the recipe.

Pairing wine with this is not nearly as complicated as it may seem:

GrooVee Grüner Veltliner 2012 ($10, purchased, 12%): Gruner is an Austrian grape that has been touted by the hipsters and the sommeliers as the next big thing for a decade. This is a Hungarian version that turns most Austrian gruners on their heads, despite its age and silly name. Look for a petrol aroma and peach and lime fruit. Imported by Quintessential. Highly recommended.

Zestos Garnacha Old Vines 2015 ($10, purchased, 13%): This Spanish red is a little heavier and more Parker-like this year, but still well worth drinking and neither hot nor too flabby. Lots of red cherry fruit, almost candied, but backed with a peppery finish. Imported by Ole Imports

Arrumaco Rose 2016 ($8, purchased, 11.5%): This Spanish wine is pink. You’re having chicken. What else needs to be said? Look for lots of almost sweet strawberry fruit, though the wine is bone dry. Imported by Handpicked Selections

More on wine and food pairings:
Wine and food pairings 1: Chicken, okra and sausage gumbo
One chicken, five dinners, five wines
One pork shoulder, five dinners, five wines

Mini-reviews 105: Cleaning out the wine closet

wine closetReviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the fourth Friday of each month. This month, cleaning out the wine closet.

Radley & Finch Cinsault Rose 2017 ($10, purchased, 13%): This South African pink was disappointing – slightly sweet and missing the freshness and vibrancy that the cinsault grape brings to rose when it’s made elsewhere in the world. Imported by Pascal Schildt

Miguel Torres Vina Sol 2015 ($10, purchased, 11.5%): This Spanish white was softer than I expected, especially since it’s made with cava’s parellada grape. Still, it’s pleasant enough, with some lemon citrus and a clean finish, and not a bad purchase if you’re stuck in the grocery store. Imported by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Palma Real Rueda 2015 ($10, purchased, 12%): This Spanish white is a Total Wine private label that’s lacking in varietal character and terroir. That means soft lemon fruit, no acidity, and no finish. In other words, what’s the point? Imported by Saranty Imports

Angels & Cowboys Proprietary Red 2015 ($18, sample, 14.8%): Well crafted Sonoma red blend that tastes like the winemaker wanted it to taste, and not as over the top as some others. But the chocolate oak could be more restrained, and the price might bother some. The exact opposite in style from the label’s much more elegant rose.

2018 Cheap Wine of the Year: Bieler Pere et Fils Rose 2016

2018 Cheap Wine of the YearThe Bieler Pere et Fils rose is the Wine Curmudgeon’s 2018 Cheap Wine of the Year – a French pink wine that is better made and offers more quality than roses costing two or three times as much

These days, given premiumization, $15 wine that tastes like boozy Hi-C, and more crappy cheap wine than ever, the Wine Curmudgeon is taking a stand. Hence, the blog’s 2018 Cheap Wine of the Year, the first ever. It will given annually to the $10 (or so) wine that did the most over the past 12 months to remind us what great cheap wine should taste like.

The 2018 Cheap Wine of the Year: The Bieler Pere et Fils rose ($10, sample, 13%), usually one of the world’s great cheap wines of any color. This vintage, though, is exceptional – real French wine from Provence, home of rose, and a wine that got better as it aged, something unheard of with most pink labels. In this, it is not only a great rose, but a $10 rose that is better made and offers more quality (let alone value) than roses costing two or three times as much.

When I first tasted it in the spring, the Bieler Pere et Fils rose wasn’t as sharp or as crisp as the 2015, with watermelon fruit instead of the tarter berries it usually has. It was still a fine wine and worth its place in the $10 Hall of Fame. But as I drank it over the next nine months – and I did, buying a bottle every four or five weeks – it became leaner, more crisp, and more Provence-like. That is a great wine, worthy of being the 2018 cheap wine of the year.

Criteria for selecting the wine is here.

Thanksgiving wine 2017

thanksgiving wine 2017Four Thanksgiving wine 2017 suggestions

Thanksgiving is the blog’s favorite holiday, and might be the greatest wine holiday in the world. That’s because families and friends get to share lots of  wine, and because Thanksgiving isn’t about money, showing off, or big-screen plasma TVs. Instead, it’s about being thankful that we can be together to enjoy the holiday. The blog’s guidelines for holiday wine buying are here.

This year’s Thanksgiving wine 2017 suggestions are just a start:

Ken Forrester Petit Rose 2017 ($10, purchased, 13%): Always well made pink wine from a South African producer with impeccable taste (the chenin blanc is worth buying, too). It’s a blend of grenache and a little viognier, so there is less fruit (unripe strawberry?) than expected and more stoniness and minerality. Highly recommended. Imported by USA Wine Imports.

Wakefield Promised Land Riesling 2016 ($12, sample, 12,5%): This is just what a cheap Aussie riesling should be — and what we don’t get enough of in this country, where riesling is about sweetness for sweetness’ sake. Look for lemon-lime fruit, a little petrol aroma and a surprisingly full mouth feel, some sparkle, and hint of sweetness. Highly recommended. Imported by Seaview Imports.

Masi Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese 2014 ($17, sample, 13%): If all $17 wine had this much character and interest, then I wouldn’t be complaining about $17 wine. Rich, concentrated red corvina fruit, plus Italian earthiness and not too much acidity. Balanced and very nicely done; an ideal turkey wine. Imported by Kobrand.

Naveran Cava Brut 2015 ($15, purchased, 12%): Maybe one of the best cavas in the world, and certainly one of the best sparkling wines given the price. A knockout, even with the usual high quality of cava — lots of crispness, plenty of tight bubbles, and some sweetish apple fruit. In this, it is a fuller, richer wine than the $10 bottles that I usually drink. Imported by Ole Imports.

More about Thanksgiving wine:
Thanksgiving wine 2016
Thanksgiving wine 2015
Thanksgiving wine 2014

Pink wine sold as rose isn’t a new concept

No, we didn’t invent rose in Brooklyn a couple of years ago, as this six-decade old TV commercial demonstrates

A reminder that what is trendy isn’t necessarily new — witness this TV commercial for a rose from E&J Gallo from the mid-1950s. The only thing missing are the hipsters, who still insist on taking credit for the rose boom.

A version of this wine still exists, and it’s sold in Europe as Gallo white grenache rose, “A luscious, fruity wine with flavours of strawberry and citrus.” It costs about €5, or US$6. I’m also told that Gallo did a dry rose, made with grenache, in the early 1980s, “a lovely wine.”

My favorite part of the commercial (besides the epic 1950s hairdos)? “A pink wine… try chilled or over ice.” I could have written the copy for that, no?

(Courtesy of Jeff Quitney via YouTube.)