? French gulping down rose: The French, who have cut wine consumption by more than 20 percent over the past decade, like rose more than ever before. Journee-Vincole reports that 1 out of 4 bottles of wine sold in France is rose, up from 1 in 10 bottles in 1990. Apparently, the French see rose as a lighter and healthier alternative to red wine, and it appeals to the younger audience that doesn't drink as much wine as their parents or grandparents.
? Bernie Madoff's wine collection: The serial swindler liked wine, but wasn't very discriminating. That attitude didn't help the federal officials who are selling Madoff's assets to re-pay his victims. They raised just $41,000 when they auctioned Madoff's wine. How pitiful is that? I've probably got a couple of thousand dollars worth of wine in the house, and I never swindled billions from anyone.
I can hear the complaining now: "Not another rose, Wine Curmudgeon. Aren't you tired of them yet?"
Not at all. I've never understood the reluctance for rose among so many wine drinkers (and sparkling wine too, for that matter). It's cheap and it's food friendly. And, best of all, it's cheap. Some of the hesitation, certainly, comes from the wine drinker's reluctance to be caught drinking pink wine, since they are terrified this will bring stares and giggles from the wine snobs. Fortunately, I don't care about stuff like that. And, with Thanksgiving a couple of weeks away, roses like the Maremma are the kinds of wine that more people should consider.
So what about the Maremma ($11, purchased)? It's Italian, a blend of sangivoese and cabernet sauvignon from Tuscany. Look for pleasant tart cherry and cranberry fruit, but nothing too extreme, and a bit of a mineral finish. In this, it's a very old fashioned kind of rose — dry and unassuming. I tasted it, put the glass down, and wasn't sure if I liked it. But the next thing I knew, the bottle was mostly empty and I was thinking about how pleasant it had been. Drink this chilled, but pair it with food. Hamburgers would be good, and so would many chicken dishes.
Reviews of wines that don't need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.
? Michel Torino Malbec Ros 2009 ($12, sample): Surprisingly disappointing, given how well-made so many Argentine wines are at this price. There's nothing especially wrong with it; rather, it doesn't deliver anything that most $8 or $10 roses don't.
? Grgich Hills Estate Grown Merlot 2006 ($42, sample): The kind of red wine that helped California establish its reputation as one of the world's great wine regions — and, best yet, it's not overpriced. Holiday gift? It's still young, with cherry fruit in the middle, but a mushroomy nose and lots of finish. Should improve with age.
? Domaine de Carobelle Gigondas 2008 ($20, purchased): A terrific value at $15 and an excellent example of the Rhone's Gigondas region, with dark fruit and pepper. But the weak dollar (or a greedy retailer?) has done this red wine in, given that one can buy really nice wine for $20.
? Le Jaja de Jau 2007 ($11, purchased): This red is New World-style wine wine in Old World clothing, with a lot of fruit and not much subtlety. It's not bad, just not what it was when it was one of the world's great cheap wines (and it's also twice the price).
One of the tenets of the Wine Curmudgeon's faith is that wine writing is not rocket science, and that anyone can write a wine review. Like this. Or this. This comes from regular visitor Karen Kimbrough, about the Portuguese Fado Ros 2009:
"A glass of Fado Ros 2009 from Portugal, about $10 a bottle, is refreshing and dry with no sharp edges, and soft with hints of berries."