Category Archives: Rose

Rose From Provence: Start Your Summer Right!


The Rosés have landed! The Rosés have landed! The one I took home first, was the one I took home most often last vintage: Domaine des Aspras à Lisa Rosé. The 2016 is as delightful as was the 2015. What’s not to love? Fragrant strawberry aromas give way to nuanced berry and melon flavors on the palate.I believe my affinity for Rosé has been well established, and now that I’ve reached a certain age, I am not afraid to admit that I prefer Rosés with a fruitier profile. I still want a dry finish but I want fruit – if I want a white wine, I’ll drink one. The à Lisa Rosé gives me the fruit I am looking for along with the fresh and lively finish I crave.

Aspras in Winter

Domaine des Aspras is located in the unique Provençal village of Correns. What makes Correns unique is that the entire village is BIO. It is the first village in France to become so, which means everyone farms organically and the community has agreed to pursue sustainability in everything they do. Michael Latz, the proprietor of Domaine des Aspras, is also the Mayor of Correns. Michael’s parents, Lisa and Gottfried established the winery in the 1960’s, after first fleeing their native Germany in the thirties and then escaping the Congo Crisis of the early sixties. Neither Lisa nor Gottfried knew anything about viticulture when they settled in Correns, but they made a go of it.

A Room With A View

The à Lisa is the domaine’s entry-level line of wines (there is also a white and a red). As you could probably guess, the name is in honor of Michael’s mother. The Rosé is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Cinsault grown on vineyards along the banks of the Argens River. A direct-press Rosé of 100% de-stemmed fruit, the quality here is on par with pricier Cotes de Provence and Bandol Rosés. A delicate salmon-pink hue is both pretty to look at and delicious to drink – And, there is enough weight on the palate to take this Rosé from aperitif to the dining table.


The Photographers

The night I tasted the 2016 à Lisa Rosé was not nearly as warm as the evenings we’re experiencing this weekend across most of the US, but that didn’t stop me from making one of my all-time favorite warm weather dishes, Salade Niçoise. Salade Niçoise is on regular rotation at my house for the next several months and my first choice to serve with it is a Rosé. It’s a match made in heaven.

A special thanks goes out to my brother and sister-in-law who shared their photos of Domaine des Aspras. I was able to arrange for them to visit the winery this past March after they took a river cruise along the Rhone. Though still winter with a glimmer of spring on the horizon, the photos convey the sheer beauty of the region. Hey Kiki – next time we go together! – Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Barbecue Wine, Grenache, Rose

Spring Forward With Fondrèche Rosé


Wow! Can it be spring already??!! Seriously, we’re turning the clocks ahead, baseball is being played, NCAA Basketball brackets will be revealed tomorrow, and I’m booking appointments at various Bordeaux chateaux to taste barrel samples of the 2015 vintage; it must be March. Taking a trip like that can be a bit disruptive to my normal schedule and duties around here, so I have much to do before saying bonjour to the folks aboard Air France flight #83! This of course is weighing upon me and my stress level has ratcheted up just thinking and worrying about all the i’s to dot and t’s to cross. That’s when the little voice in my head says, “Stop. Chill. Relax. Do what you can; take ’em one at a time.” What relaxes me? No need to overthink this one: a nice cool glass of Rosé, now that sounds relaxing.


This past Monday, some bottles were opened for a wholesale customer, and Chris, Tom, David, and I got to sample them after we closed that night. There were Côtes-du-Rhônes, both red and white, some crisp Italian whites, and one Rosé, the 2014 Domaine Fondrèche l’Instant. It’s a hit with both staff and customers in every vintage, as it is always the palest, sleekest Rosé among the range we carry. When it arrived last spring, it was its usual self: pale, with just a hint of salmon tinting, lipsmacking fresh, dry, nice and crisp with mere hints of something resembling a cross between a nectarine and an orange blossom. Those of us who love our Rosés in that Provençal style snapped up the palate of cases in a month or so, and more was ordered. They arrived at the end of January, though with all of the post-holiday going on around here, we didn’t get a chance to re-taste it until last Monday. The verdict? Fantastic. Somehow, it got even better.


We’re longtime supporters of the wines from Sébastien Vincenti and Nanou Barthélemy’s Domaine Fondrèche. They always represent great value from the southern Rhône’s Ventoux region. For the Rosé, Sébastien blends 50% Cinsault with equal parts Syrah and Grenache, and as I stated, the wine is always clean and crisp. With a little time in the bottle now, it seems to have gained a little complexity. Though still fresh and bone dry, there are nuances of other aromas like pink peppercorns, herbs de Provençe, minerals, and berries. Chris was first to remark of the fact that as good as we expected it to be, it somehow exceeded those expectations. I’ve splurged for some famous Rosés in the past while dining out, and I’ve got to say that none of those fancier Rosé wines are any better than what we had in our glasses last Monday. In fact, I backed that up by passing on the other wines and grabbed what was left in the bottle to have with my dinner later that night. Dinner was delicious indeed, complemented by the cool, crisp Provencal-styled Rosé. There’s something about that sensation that just takes me back to the first time I visited the Côte d’Azur and just chilled in one place for two weeks, pretty much only drinking Rosé. I finished the glass, and guess what? I began to relax.

The trip to Bordeaux for En Primeur 2015 is still over two weeks away, so I will chime in one more Saturday before I leave. Hopefully the Rosé will do its thing and all will be prepared in a cool, organized fashion. I’m going to grab a bottle to take home so I can relax tomorrow as my to-do list is a big one and I will have one less hour to deal with it. There will be something in knowing that as I’m out dealing with traffic, shopping, and paperwork, there will be a nice, cool, crisp glass of 2014 Fondrèche Rosé waiting for me when I’m done! À Santé!Pierre Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Provençal-styled Rosé, the Côte d’Azur, English Football, or the upcoming 2015 En Primeur tastings in Bordeaux: peter@wineSF.com

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Filed under Peter Zavialoff, Rose, Ventoux

Domaine Saint-Rémy 2014 Rose d’Alsace

If our point of sale system is to be believed, then The Wine House has been stocking wines from the Ehrhart family since 2005. In the ten years that have followed, the winery has gone through some important changes. No longer are their exported wines labelled Domaine Ehrhart. Instead their historic name, Domaine Saint-Rémy, which is how they’ve always been known as in France and which dates back to 1725, is printed on the labels. Completed in 2013, a new winery and cellar was built to ensure quality winemaking. But the most important change, in my opinion, is that the winery is now certified organic and biodynamic. The conversion to biodynamic farming reflects the Ehrhart’s long-standing determination and dedication to preserving the tradition of wine making in Alsace. The Ehrhart’s take their stewardship of the land and vineyards seriously.


The 2014 Rose d’Alsace from Domaine Saint-Rémy is new to me and to the store. This is the first vintage we’ve had the opportunity to carry. An un-tinted, slender bottle allows the attractive orange-tinged pink color to show through – the bottle had me at hello! As much of a fan of Rhône varietal rosés that I am, I also deeply enjoy rosés made from Pinot Noir. There is a sophistication and elegance to rosé of Pinot Noir that is undeniable. Domaine Saint-Rémy’s 2014 Rose d’Alsace is pleasantly aromatic – wild strawberries, ripe Charentais melon, and spun sugar. The flavors are vivid but not overly fruity. I predict I will be turning to this wine time and again, especially as Autumn clings to Summer’s heat.


On the first full day of Fall with outside temperatures above 90 degrees, I prepared one of my family’s favorite warm weather dishes, Salade Niçoise. A morning trip to the farmer’s market guaranteed flavorful produce and other than whisking together a spiky vinaigrette and a whole lot of chopping, dinner was done! With a plate piled high with crunchy veg, imported Tonno, and briny olives, a glass of chilled rosé was a must. Luckily I planned ahead and stuck a bottle of 2014 Rose d’Alsace in the fridge before heading out in the morning. It was an ideal pairing.


My newlywed nephew was ordained a Russian Orthodox priest last Sunday. Some say it is a calling, but I call it courageous. In these times, in this culture, to dedicate one’s life to serve others without the hope of financial gain is an audacious decision to make. My admiration for this exceptional young man is unbounded, as is my love. Emotions continue to ride high as this weekend marks 17 years of wedded bliss! I can recollect my wedding day like it was yesterday. Though my father told me I didn’t have to go through with it as he drove me to the church, I know now that marrying my husband was the best decision ever.
Tony – ты мой мужчина!Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Alsace, Anya Balistreri, Pinot Noir, Rose

The September 2014 Dirty Dozen

On we go, into the ‘ber months! Kids are back in school, the French are back from their holidays, and here in San Francisco, it’s time for our summer! For the occasion, we’ve sourced some special wines to make our September a memorable one. Six reds, one crisp Rosé, and five whites, all chosen for their versatility, are screaming values on their own. Pack them all in a box and knock the price down 35%? Magic. The September Dirty Dozen!

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2012 Falanghina Nina, Torre Quarto $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

Give it a chill, just not too much, otherwise the lovely melon fruit and fragrant aromas (look for that slight hint of pine) will be muted. Falanghina, an ancient Italian grape, is grown in the south – Puglia in this instance. Yellow-gold in color, this lush white has a round texture that complements seafood, fresh salads and cold entrées.

2012 Côtes de Gascogne Cuvée Jean-Paul, Boutinot $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

From southwest France, this dependable refrigerator door white’s beauty – a classic blend of Colombard and Ugni Blanc – lies in its simplicity. Notes of lemon and citrus zest move into tangy grapefruit on the palate, leaving a refreshing, lingering lightness. Nothing complicated, but it’s oh so nice ice cold out of the fridge on a warm late summer’s eve.

2012 Pedro Ximenez PX, Cucao $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

Pedro Ximenez is a varietal known mainly for its role in Spain’s sweet sherries, but this dry example is grown in the northern-most wine region of Chile – the Elqui Valley. Sunny weather ripens the fruit while the high altitude ensures freshness. A delightful blend of acidity and concentrated fruit; try with miso-dressed soba noodles or coconut shrimp.

2013 Ventoux Rosé l’Instant, Domaine Fondrèche $15.99, $12.79 reorder

This wine gets you at ‘hello.” Just look at that color! As pale as pale Rosé gets, winemaker Sébastien Vincenti blends 50% Cinsault with 30% Syrah and 20% Grenache and the wine is light, lean, crisp, and delicious. It’s a versatile little Rosé, textbook southern French style. Got a hankering for Salmon Étoufée? If you do, try it with this.

2012 Grenache Blanc/Rolle/Roussanne, Domaine de la Petite Cassagne $12.89, $10.31 reorder

In 1998, Diane Puymorin purchased this domaine and re-named it Château d’Or et de Gueules. TWH regulars know all about her and those wines, but Diane keeps it real and pays homage to the history of her property with this bottling. Here she blends three classic white Rhône varietals. It’s crisp, clean, and fleshy. Pair it with a seared tuna sandwich.

2012 Gewurztraminer Herrenweg, Domaine Ehrhart $21.99, $17.59 reorder

Gewurztraminer is known for its profound bouquet reminiscent of lychee nuts and rose petals. The Ehrharts’ single-vineyard, Herrenweg is a tad off-dry, and is rich and expressive, both aromatically and on the palate. Not for sipping, this one needs food. Especially spicy food. You must try it with a spicy curry dish, or spicy Cajun red beans and rice.

2010 Tempranillo Dauco, Bodegas Martúe $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder

Hailing from central Spain, this friendly Tempranillo has silky smooth tannins and rich cherry fruit. Outside Rioja, Tempranillo can show many faces, but here it shines as a versatile, charming red, reminding drinkers what makes Tempranillo just so darn delicious! Surely Paella works but so does Pollo con Arroz, Plov, or Tadig with kebabs.

2012 Malbec, Ecologica $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

Argentian Malbec is unquestionably a favorite for those looking for value and quality in an everyday wine. Ecologica sources only organic fruit and is Fair Trade Certified. Medium-bodied with welcoming notes of green herbs, red plum and cassis fruit, the acids and tannins hold up well to heavily-seasoned grilled meats or a quesadilla with fresh Pico de Gallo.

2010 Dão, Proeza $11.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

Looking for a full-bodied red that goes easy on the pocket book? Look no further than this voluptuous Portuguese red from Proeza. Loaded with big flavors courtesy of Touriga Nacional and Tinto Roriz, grapes traditionally made into Port, this dry red is grippy and broad-scaled. A lot of wine for the money! Hearty, rib-sticking meals would work best.

2010 Touraine Rouge, Domaine des Corbillières $14.99, $11.99 reorder

We’ve been working with Dominique and Véronique Barbou for two decades, their wines can magically transport us to the land of France’s most majestic chateaux. This blend of Pinot Noir, Côt (Malbec), and Cabernet Franc is marked by juicy fruit with an herbal twist. Drink it on its own or with anything you would want to pair with a cheerful red.

2011 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Le Farnete $14.59, $11.67 reorder

In the rolling hills just west of Firenze is the commune of Carmignano. Long before the days of the ‘Super Tuscan’, Cabernet Sauvignon was allowed to grow here, only to be blended with the native Tuscan Sangiovese. It’s a zippy little red table wine with another layer of complexity. Pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil is all you need with this one.

2009 Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Tour de l’Isle $14.59, $11.67 reorder

Proprietor of Tour de l’Isle, Robert Rocchi acts as a negociant in the southern Rhône Valley who advises a handful of growers on improtant aspects of winemaking. The results in bottle are not only delicious, they are reflective of their places of origin. Or as Anya likes to say, “He’s not afraid to make wine that tastes good.” Try this with a grilled steak.

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Argentina, Carmignano, Costieres de Nimes, Cotes du Rhone, Cotes du Ventoux, Peter Zavialoff, Portugal, Rose, The Dirty Dozen, Touraine, Wine Clubs/Samplers

2013 Domaine des Corbillieres Touraine Rose

 

Happy Friday! There are 14 weekends this summer, and this one is #5. No need to panic, we’ve still got 9 more afterwards, but that little factoid has us thinking that we should make the most of them. Summer always offers us the opportunity to head outdoors, maybe head over to a farmers’ market, meet up with friends, fire up the grill; yeah, stuff like that. It’s a rare summer afternoon or evening that goes by without the thought, “A glass of Rosé would be perfect right now.” Rare indeed. One of our favorite Rosés has to be the Touraine Rosé from Domaine des Corbillières. We received 2 containers recently, and on the French one were pallets of Rosé, 2013 Corbillières included.

Our Rosé selections represent a few differing styles and flavor profiles, and we have many fans of each of them. They range from the super-sleek, zippy, extra dry to other dry Rosés with varying degrees of fruit expression. For customers (and staff!) who love a dry Rosé with a light-medium body, delicate layers of pink grapefruit, a hint of saline mineral with a harmonious finish, the Touraine Rosé is the perfect choice. It’s a great wine to have on hand all summer long, as it is truly a people-pleaser!

 

The first thing one notices about the Corbillières Touraine Rosé is the seductive salmon hue. When daydreaming about Rosé, this is precisely the color I envision. The aromas are delicate and nuanced. There’s citrus, a hint of some kind of red fruit as well, an herbal, almost peppery subtlety, and a mineral undertone. The palate is bright and fresh, the fruit and structure charming, and the finish refreshing. This is exactly what one would expect to be served if seated at a French café – a wine like this can transport the taster far, far away.

What makes the Touraine Rosé stand out so much? It is made from Pineau d’Aunis.  Pineau d’Aunis? Is that spelled correctly? Yes. What is Pineau d’Aunis? It is a distinct black berried grape from the central Loire Valley that is sometimes called Chenin Noir. It is neither a Pinot nor Chenin. Not widely planted, it is a sanctioned grape for the red and rosé appellations of Touraine and Anjou. Its use is to impart a fruity, peppery profile to rosé wines.

The famous philosopher Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Just sayin’. We’re already one-third finished with our summer weekends in 2014, so maybe it is a good idea to stop and take a look around this weekend. Stop and look around with a glass of 2013 Domaine des Corbillières Touraine Rosé! – Peter Zavialoff

 

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Filed under Peter Zavialoff, Rose, Touraine

2013 Domaine de Fondreche l’Instant Rose

Here in the northern hemisphere, it’s summer.  Sure, it means many different things to many different people, but that’s just like everything else. We all entertain ourselves in different ways, we all eat different types of food, and as far as wine goes, there’s something out there for everyone. One thing’s for sure, the summer weather causes a great many of our customers to reach for Rosé. Why not? We love Rosé all year round, though in the summer months it becomes particularly apropos. With so many styles and choices out there, there is indeed, something for everyone. When asking about Rosé, many customers look for a wine that is “pale,” “bone dry,” “crisp,” “fresh,” and “lip-smacking.” If those descriptors resonate with you, then you may want to give the 2013 Domaine Fondrèche l’Instant Ventoux Rosé a taste.
 

We have never sent an email offer on ANY Fondrèche l’Instant Rosé in the past. Its color sells itself. Though we have other wines in a similar style, the Fondrèche Rosé is almost always our lightest colored Rosé each vintage. That seems to click with a lot of our customers, especially those who buy in bulk! It doesn’t stay in stock very long. Back in the winter time, we crunched some numbers and decided to ask them to up our allocation because of this. It always goes to show, you never get what you don’t ask for. So we asked, they said yes, and now we can make some noise about it.

 

Domaine de Fondrèche is one of the most well-known domaines in Ventoux, probably because winemaker Sébastien Vincenti has vines growing in the best sites of the appellation. His farming is certified organic, and he has been employing bio-dynamic practices in his vineyards for several vintages. For his 2013 l’Instant Rosé, Sébastien blends 50% Cinsault with 30% Syrah and 20% Grenache giving the wine that Provençal look and flavor.  Coming in at 12% alcohol, pouring that second glass on a warm evening is no problem either!
 

The Wine Advocate’s Jeb Dunnuck listed Vincenti’s 2013 l’Instant among the finest Rosé wines of the year. Here’s what he had to say, “Beautifully pure, with notions of citrus blossom, peach and strawberry, the 2013 Ventoux L’Instant Rose is focused and crisp on the palate in a lean, tight and refreshing style. Drink it over the coming summer months – 90 points.”

We agree! For those of us who enjoy a sleek, mineral-driven, lip-smacking Rosé, the 2013 Domaine de Fondrèche l’Instant delivers big time!!! Oh, check it – this baby comes in magnum too! Talk about a party in bottle! – Peter Zavialoff

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Filed under Cotes du Ventoux, Peter Zavialoff, Rose

2013 Chateau d’Or et de Gueules Les Cimels Rose

It’s official. Up and down the California coast, we’ve experienced our first heat wave of the year. With record breaking temperatures hitting some spots both Tuesday and Wednesday this week, folks have been headed outdoors. To the park, to the beach, or to the backyard, it is outdoor season! Hmmm. Kind of makes Rosé sound like a good idea.

As Anya reported last month, being in our new, larger facility in Dogpatch enables us to get some of our imports in-stock quickly and efficiently, so we indeed can have freshly bottled Rosé in April (and May) instead of June or July. It makes the world of difference, especially here in San Francisco. For those of you who don’t know, in the city itself, the months of July and August are marked by endless fog that is drawn in from the ocean by the scorching temperatures of California’s Central Valley. It’s not that depressing, take it from a native. If one is looking for clear skies and warm weather in July and August, a 15 minute drive in any of 3 directions will get you out of the fog.

 

We don’t necessarily believe that Rosé has a season, but it sure is a lot more fun to have a nice, cool, crisp glass of it under sunny skies than it is during a snowstorm. (We don’t get snow here in San Francisco, that drive usually takes around 3 hours). So that underlines the importance of having fresh Rosé in April rather than June or July. Last week’s heatwave is proof of that. The reaction has been astounding. The Rosé that Anya wrote about last month is gone. Gone, like a circus gone. Don’t worry, there’s more on the way.  Winemaker Diane Puymorin makes another Rosé. In fact this one is bottled under her more prestigious label, Château d’Or et de GueulesLes Cimels Rosé.

Having purchased Domaine de la Petite Cassagne in 1998, Diane changed the name to d’Or et de Gueules, the local dialectal “red and gold.” She pours her heart into these wines, and we’re all smitten by them. If you read our emails with any regularity, you need no introduction. For her Les Cimels Rosé, she adheres to the Provençal style, blending mostly Mourvèdre and Cinsault in equal parts. She rounds it off by adding a little Grenache and Syrah for depth and complexity, and voilà, Les Cimels Rosé!
See: Pale, pale. Light, light salmon color.
Smell: Surprisingly pronounced and complex considering the color. Fruity, floral, herbal, all at once.
Taste: Fresh, bright, crisp, palate expanding. Remember: Clean, lipsmacking finish.
Hey, how did my glass get empty?

 

Yes, it’s officially springtime. Here in San Francisco, we’re enjoying our summer, part I, part II comes in September. And now that we’re in our new facility, we’ve got fresh Rosé. 2013 Château d’Or et de Gueules Les Cimels Rosé, to be exact! – Peter Zavialoff

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Filed under Costieres de Nimes, Mourvedre, Peter Zavialoff, Rose