Hungarian Rosé Six Pack is All I Want, Forever

I was introduced to the Dúzsi Tamás winery and its Hungarian rosé menagerie thanks to fellow Greenpoint resident and ace wine entrepreneur Athena Bochanis. (We were introduced by Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly fame. Thank you, MP!) Athena started a company called Palinkerie Fine Hungarian Imports in 2o13, forgoing a career as a lawyer. I’d say ’twas an outstanding decision. Not that Athena couldn’t be a lawyer of great renown. But the wine thing is really working out.

CASE IN POINT: I attended a Palenkerie portfolio tasting, at the Hungarian embassy no less! Athena was showing not one not two but six (!!!!!!) Dúzsi Tamás single-variety rosés. Or, rather, rozés. Winemaker Tamás Dúzsi actually makes eight single variety rosés, of which Athena imports seven. Tamás also crafts three rosé blends that are not imported. A la This is Spinal Tap, it’s a lineup of Hungarian rosé that goes to 11.

Even better? You can buy these rosés in a six-pack. Whatever holiday wine list you have, PUT THIS AT THE TOP. STEP ASIDE, EVERYTHING ELSE.

You get one bottle each of Hungarian rosé made from:

  • Kadarka
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Shiraz
  • Pinot Noir

Look at this dang thing. Aren’t you in love? You’ve probably heard of all the grapes above except for numero uno, Kadarka, which is an indigenous grape. I’m partial to the Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir, but those are grapes I love as red wines so no surprise there.
Hungarian Rosé Six Pack is All I Want, Forever

Go Forth and Explore Hungarian Rosé

If you can’t get this sweet box I recommend tracking down more than one bottle of these rosés to compare and contrast. This is a really cool learning experience. Each rosé has a different color, intensity, aroma, and flavor. Also it would make for an amazing tasting (aka drinking) party, preferably not full of navel-gazing, serial Zalto swirlers.

Athena was kind enough to put me in touch with Tamás Jr who along with his brother Bence, helps out in the cellar. Here’s what he had to say about these rozés:

Actually we wanted to try all of our red grape varieties in rosés, and we did it over the years. After that we have chosen among them the 6 best varieties beside the Kékfrankos to produce the first selection rosés in 2007. We specialize in rosé wines and wanted to show that rosé wines can be as great as great reds and whites, and that they can also be terroir products. They show the pure varietal notes of a certain grape variety without tannnis as it would be in reds.

The selection box allows people (and also us :)) to taste these single vineyard, single variety rosés in different vintages. It is always a good experience. As these rosés are ageable, we can even taste the different selection rosés from the different vintages to compare them to each other. Actually they develop with time, many of them showing late harvest notes in the nose, and ripe fruits.

Ok, you have your marching orders. Make the rest of this year, and from 2019 to eternity, all about the rozé.

For more on Athena, read this profile on SevenFifty Daily.

The post Hungarian Rosé Six Pack is All I Want, Forever appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Greek Rosé Time

When I visit a new wineshop I always try and buy something new to me. It’s a way to get a feel for the buyer and what they are into. So I pushed aside my penchant to buy a pale rosé and stepped up to by a bottle with a deeper pink shade from Domaine Zafeirakis in Greece. [Thanks to the folks at wino(t) in Crown Heights for carrying it.]

The beautiful vineyards of Domaine Zafeirakis. {Image from the winery website.}

Domaine Zafeirakis 2017 Limniona Rosé Wine of Tyrnavos ($17)

If you asked me if I was familiar with the Greek indigenous red grape Limniona, I would say, “Hell, no.”  I would have a similar reply if queried about the wine region of Trynavos, which I now know is in the center of the country and not too far from the Aegean Sea. Honestly, most of my Greek wine knowledge is Assyrtiko from Santorini. So this rosé from Domaine Zafeirakis is a delicious education in a bottle.

Greek Rosé Time

My wall, my bike, my wine.

As stated earlier, buying this wine is also a conscious effort to explore the darker side of rosé. As you can tell by the color, there’s gonna be some body in this bottle. A kind of “red wine drinkers rosé.” It’s substantial and savory. Not just the most unique rosé I’ve had all year, but probably the best, too.

So the next time you’re in a wine shop, resist the temptation to reach for something familiar. Pick out a bottle made from an unfamiliar grape, region, and/or style. If you’re not keen on making your own selection, speak up. Have your friendly wine shop pro pick out something that’s new to you. As a bonus, you might get a little grape and geography lesson like I did.

The post Greek Rosé Time appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Liquid Geography Rosé is a Feel-Good Wine

I’ve been a fan of a small region in Northwest Spain for quite a while: Bierzo. (I first wrote about the region, albeit quite briefly, in 2005!) The main grape you’ll find there, Mencía, makes great red wines. Now I’m delighted to get into some pink examples. Liquid Geography rosé is the most recent bottle I’ve had. It’s brought to the US by Olé Imports.

The vines that go into this 100% Mencía rosé were planted in 1963, some serious old-vine material. It’s got no oak and sports an easygoing 12.5% alcohol.

Beyond the wine inside, it’s what happens when you buy a bottle of Liquid Geography rosé that makes it special. 100% of the wine’s profits go to charity. The three beneficiaries:

Liquid Geography Rosé is a Feel-Good Wine

Great wine and great causes, what’s not to love? Wine-searcher has the average price for the 2017 vintage as $11. So I’d add “great price” to the prior sentence as well.

I was joking in my newsletter (why not subscribe?) that I was going to write about rosé for a week after having three of the last four posts here about pink wine. If you missed them:

Why are Rosé Bottles Crazy with Shapes and Packaging?

Provence Rosé Podcast

Rodney Strong Vineyards Rosé is Pinot Noir Pleasure

That lasted a day. So as the kids like to say, #sorrynotsorry.

All images via Olé Imports.

The post Liquid Geography Rosé is a Feel-Good Wine appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Provence Rosé Podcast

Living that lavender lovin’ life. That’s what drinking Provence rosé should be all about. A chilled glass transports you to a specific time and place. It’s the “Calgon, Take Me Away” of wine.

Wow, the beginning of this commercial is very intense. And, conversely, the calming properties of a bath with Calgon are prodigious. Also, “Calgon” sounds more like a sci-fi alien overlord or planet than a scented bubble bath product.

On the latest episode of the What We’re Tasting podcast, I speak with Roger Voss about Provence rosé. While there’s a lot of boring plonk out there, we focus on three wines that make the case for a diverse region full of different blends, terrains, and styles.

Burning questions about Provence rosé: Can it age? Aspire to heights of great red wine? What about using oak? Best food pairings? Is it seasonal? What’s up with the crazy bottle shapes?

Also discussed: yachts, shopping cart snooping, and scary mountains.

Please enjoy:

And now, here it is. Your moment of Provence:

Photo by leniners via Flickr.

The post Provence Rosé Podcast appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Rodney Strong Vineyards Rosé is Pinot Noir Pleasure

I constantly drink pink wine. But most of those bottles are blends, particularly in the style of Provence. Lots of Grenache, Carignan, Syrah,Mourvèdre, and/or Cinsault in various percentages. (And other grapes, too.) But I want to focus on Pinot Noir and particularly the Rodney Strong Vineyards Rosé. The winery sent me a sample bottle along with a few other current releases.

2017 Rodney Strong Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir ($25)

This Sonoma winery makes its rosé from 100% Pinot Noir, sourcing it from the prestigious Russian River Valley region. Something about Pinot Noir rosé I find striking in very good examples (like from Sancerre or Burgundy) is that have a…well…how to say this?

This is going to sound really dumb.

OK, I’m going for it.

Great Pinot Noir rosé has a lovely…Pinot Noir-ness to it. Whew. Ok, I said that and the world didn’t stop turning.

My point is that a lot of nondescript rosé, particularly from Provence, it doesn’t smell or taste like much. Though, truth be told, I drink a hell of a lot of rosé like this. Falling on my corkscrew for you here on this blog.

It’s really nice to stick your nose into a wine glass, or in my case a juice glass/rando Fernet short (not shot) glass/enamel tumbler, and get some nice whiffs of classic, pretty, elegant Pinot Noir. Extremely pleasant.

2016 Rodney Strong Vineyards Upshot Red Wine Blend ($28)

I’d also like to call attention to the rosé label. It’s a departure from the old-fashioned ones you find on other bottles from the winery. Shifting wine gears, if you are a red blend fan and want to see a very modern, unique, and informative label check out Rodney Strong Vineyards Upshot. Ok, I’ll just post it here. It’s a Zin-based mix with Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and even 3% Riesling (!) invited to the party. I drank it at a Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) lunch. Don’t worry, it’s not sweet. (Also, there is a ton of dry Riesling out there, even from Germany. Sorry, getting distracted.)

Rodney Strong Vineyards Rosé is Pinot Noir Pleasure

So while rosé blends are great, it’s really fun to drink one made 100% from a single grape. And then think about the red wines you’ve had from that grape and how much you get a sense of it from the pink stuff. (Cabernet Franc is another grape I find very interesting in both rosé and red form.) And by all means, keep on drinking those rosés made from a unique, thoughtful hodgepodge of grapes. Just keep slaking your thirst with rosé, period, forever.

The post Rodney Strong Vineyards Rosé is Pinot Noir Pleasure appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Two Books About Rosé Wine

Back in the stone age when I began drinking dry rosé, if you told me there was a book about pink wine I would have questioned your sanity. So I’m a bit gobsmacked that this year I can recommend not one but two books about rosé.

You can hear me opine about them during my segment on Snacky Tunes:

Also check out the rest of the show, where hosts (and brothers) Darin and Greg Bresnitz travel down to Mexico City to speak with chef Gabriela Cámara about her restaurants Contramar (Mexico City) and Cala (San Francisco) and much more. (Including her celebrated tuna tostada.) And take a stroll down the musical archives with a performance by Midnight Magic, a “Brooklyn dance music ensemble.”

Two Recommended Rosé Books

Drink Pink, A Celebration of Rosé by Victoria James

Two Books About Rosé WineJames is beverage director at Piora and Cote restaurants in New York City. (Listen to my interview with James for the Wine Enthusiast podcast.) She’s written a slender, charming book that delves into the history of rosé, how it’s made, top regions, notable producers, plus food and cocktail recipes. And, like fine white or red wine, James advises to avoid the plonk and seek out serious, well- and responsibly-made bottles. And drink them year-round. Which is certainly warranted. (Duh.)

What I really like about Drink Pink is its breezy style in the midst of expert substance. It’s not a weighty tome that overwhelms or intimidates. Really, it’s the kind of book you’d want to take with you on a picnic while you drink rosé. I also have to comment on the delightful, whimsical, creative illustrations by Lyle Railsback.

One of my favorite things about working at Wine Enthusiast is how the art department shorthands them as “illos.” I feel so magazine-insidery when I say “illos.” Really, I’d love for the magazine to do an all-illo issue. Anyway, illustrations are much prefered to corny stock photos. And they convey a sense of welcoming and set a tone wholly appropriate for rosé.

Rosé All Day: The Essential Guide to Your New Favorite Wine by Katherine Cole

Two Books About Rosé WineI really enjoyed Complete Wine Selector by Cole and this book reminds me of that one in that it’s comprehensive yet not stuffy. Her personality really comes through when she talks about the wines she loves (and doesn’t love). Cole has a way of discussing rosé and introducing pop culture references (and beyond) in a most compelling manner. It’s not easy to read through lists of wines with descriptions without getting…fatigued. Cole does it with aplomb and that’s quite a feat.

It’s a much longer book than Drink Pink, with a lot more specific bottle recommendations, and photos of said bottles at the end of each chapter (which does make it easier to find a specific one next time you’re at your local wine shop.) You’ll also find deeper profiles of notable producers and wines, like a page or two each.

(There are fantastic illos, too.)

Rosé All Day functions well as a reference tool to bolster your knowledge about wine and give you specific guidance on how to diversity your pink wine portfolio.

Now between my podcast jibber-jabbering and these two books you are totally set for life, or at least for another year, when it comes to rosé knowledge.

Hey, read this far? Here’s a song from Midnight Magic to get you movin’.

Top image via La Bastide Blanche, one of my all-time favorite rosés. It comes in magnums, too!

The post Two Books About Rosé Wine appeared first on Jameson Fink.