There appear to be two widespread misconceptions about the wonderful world of rosés: that they are meant exclusively for summer and that they are meant to be had young, in the very year of their release. While not every bottle of pink has the structure to go the distance and is at its youthful best sipped on a warm summer's eve, there are many good examples out there with a little more depth, structure and complexity that can be enjoyed year round, and even – gasp – with a little age on them. Here are two examples from the 2013 vintage that have come into their own beautifully since blowing out their first birthday candle.
How to Be the Most Popular Person at Your Next Dinner Party:
Step one, bring wine. Everyone likes the guest who brings wine.
Step two, pick out the perfect bottle.
If it’s me, I’m going with an Austrian red. At a dinner party, I want to bring something interesting that my hosts haven’t tried. Though savvy consumers are by now familiar with Austria’s whites—Grüner Veltliner and Riesling being the most popular—the reds still fly a little under the radar. It’s a shame too because they’re so good. Trust me, Austrian reds are the Next Big Thing.
The warm weather is so close I can nearly taste it. Flowers blooming, new grass, and a sort of freshness to the air that will be more apparent as the days warm. From where we sit in West Chelsea, we are looking forward to smelling the delicate fragrance of new plants coming off the High Line and that beautiful brininess blowing in from the Hudson. It’s a lovely time to be in New York and makes me always crave a patch of green space, peace and quiet, and a good book. In the absence of the first two, I find that a glass of gin works just a well, and in celebration of the warmer months ahead we have doubled our selection. Drink up!
The wines of Roussillon are still fighting to find an international identity. While the land looks like something out of a fairy tale - stretching eastward from the Languedoc along the Mediterranean across the Catalan countryside and into the French Pyrenées - the wines have never enjoyed adoration. As our palates continually search for not-yet-known gems from Southern France, it is the Languedoc that enjoys critical acclaim. The same cannot be said for Roussillon, which really has more in common with nearby Catalonia, than its big sibling in the south. I think Manuel Jorel beckons us to leave the Languedoc and recast our focus toward Roussillon.
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure to be invited to the Veneto for Le Vigne di Alice’s 10th anniversary celebration. Alice is an absolute favorite of the shop, and their ‘Doro’ is one of the best Proseccos that I have ever tasted. If you have stopped into the store anytime in the past year asking for sparkling wine, you likely have been talked into buying bottles. But beyond how good it tasted, I didn’t really know much of the story.
We love working alongside people who share our passions, which is why Jenny & François Selections is among our favorite distributors—their focus on small producers and natural wines aligns perfectly with what makes our store unique. By bringing handmade, high quality, minimal intervention wines to the world market, Jenny & François protect and promote the endangered family farmer and give wine lovers an opportunity to experience some amazing, hard-to-find bottles. These are wines you can feel good about! Tomorrow, February 27th, we’ll be hosting four of their producers, with wines poured by the winegrowers themselves. We’d love for you to join us!
Outside of head-to-head match ups, "best" can be a relative term, and I rarely find myself proclaiming something is the greatest. The more one uses superlatives, the more those words can begin to shrink, to lose luster. I will say, however, that Cayuga Lake's Bloomer Creek is producing truly fine wines for which I cannot state enough how good they are. In an honest pursuit of minimalist production, Kim Engle and Debra Bermingham have embraced risk while abandoning certainty. The resulting wines are individual expressions of their land and are alive in the bottle.
If you are a regular reader of this newsletter, you will surely have noticed that here at Appellation we have been singing the praises of Gamay based wines for years. Whether they be classic Cru Beaujolais, vibrant expressions from the Willamette Valley, or newcomers from places like British Columbia or Tasmania; we just love their generous fruit, lighter body and food friendliness.
Umbria, landlocked by glamorous Tuscany to its north and west, the Marche and Apennine Mountains to its east and Lazio with bustling Rome to its south, is a sparsely populated, tranquil and ruggedly beautiful region. Sprinkled with such renowned hilltop towns as Assisi, Perugia, Spoletto, and most esteemed by wine lovers, Montefalco. Winemaking in the region has been traced back to the Benedictine monks. They took advantage of the calcareous clay and sandy soil and felicitous climate of hot, dry summers and rainy winters. The peaceful hamlet of Montefalco with medieval rampart walls, cobblestoned streets and Romanesque churches, was where in 1927 the Fongoli family found and then renovated the San Marco estate.
Josko Gravner knows better than most about the inherent risks of bringing grape to bottle. Italian by nationality and Slovenian by mother tongue, he grew up on his father’s vineyard in Oslavia, Friuli straddling the Italian-Slovenian border. When Gravner came of age and took over the ancient family estate, he worked the vines as his father had taught him. Then, in the 1970s, he switched all production to stainless steal tanks for fermentation and employed temperature control. His crisp and refreshing white wines won him praise and acclaim. He could easily have continued in that style but instead he took a risk: Eschewing the current practice of the region he began aging his wines in new French oak barrels in the 1980s.