Bacchic Reflections

     Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously 
         interested in it.

      Life itself is the proper binge.

                                                                      Julia Child


     Lois Lane to Superman at her apartment: "Um…would you like a glass 
           of wine?"

     Superman:  "I never drink when I fly."

                                                                 Superman: The Movie  1978

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Rosé Roundup

Here we are at mid-summer, and by now you've run through your first cache of dry rosés so it's time to re-stock. I've tasted dozens of this year's bunch (2017s mostly), and there is plenty out there to tempt you. These wines, when well and simply made, are so refreshing and delightful to drink—and highly versatile with summer foods.

            Yes, I drink these lovelies year-round, but a great many more when it's hot—and yes, I buy them in batches because I always like to have at least a couple on the chill. I like them dry, but with lively fruit, so here are some to consider for your next batch, 2017s unless otherwise noted:

Domane de Fontsainte 'Gris de Gris' Corbières  $16***  A consistent favorite from the south of France—juicy, berry-rich fruit that's entirely beguiling.

El Coto Rosado Rioja   Rioja, Spain   $12-13**+  A crisp blend of tempranillo and garnacha—excellent with cured meats.

Santi 2017 Rosato Infinito    Veneto   $12-23**+  Dry and delicate, lovely choice for light fish such as sole or flounder.

Baudry 2017 Chinon Rosé   Loire Valley  $20***  The price has risen for this charmer made from cabernet franc—not surprising considering its rosy charms: enticing fruit, crisp and bright, highly versatile with summer fare.

Domaine Pinchinat 2017 Côte de Provence Rosé   Provence   $14**+  Very snappy quaff, lively cinsaut-grenache-syrah blend.

Elk Cove 2017 Willamette Valley Rosé    Oregon  $15*** I love dry rosés made from pinot noir, the berriest of ripe berry fruit—great with grilled salmon.

Laurent Gauthier Beaujolais-Villages Rosé 2017    Beaujolais  $16***  Rosés made from the gamay grape are all too rare, but I love them when I can find them (this one at Wine Authorities); fresh and crisp

Leese-Fitch 2016 Chardonnay California  $11-14
  Very nice--appealing pear aromas and a hint of vanilla. Well-balanced, dry, crisp, with a certain elegance--and quite a bargain.

Rodney Strong 2016 Sauvignon Blanc 'Charlotte's Home'   $14-16***
Best version of this wine to date--dry, but intense tangy flavors, spicy citrus and excellent balance. Great choice for summer seafood, goat cheese-and-beet salad, shrimp or other seafood pastas.

Choice Whites
Dry Creek Vineyard 2017 Sauvignon Blanc   Dry Creek Valley***
$17-20, and well worth it--one of the tastiest Sauvignons I've had recently, due perhaps to  13.5% musqué in the blend which lends spicy accents to the zest of tangerine and the creaminess of lemon curd. Very well-balanced, youthful and fresh, an excellent choice for seafood and shellfish (also beet and goat cheese salad). wbow
Elicio Vermentino 2017  Rhône Valley  $15**+   Vermentino, happy to report, is much more widely planted today--its bright, crisp fruit and tangy mineral accents make it an excellent summer white, a very good match for seafood and shellfish. This "Méditerranée" wine from the southern Rhône is dry and most appealing, as well as excellent value.
Jordan 2015 Chardonnay   Russian River  $32*** 
Excellent! But don't be in a rush to drink this beautifully structured, deftly oaked Chardonnay—it will be even better in two or three years (2020-21), though its finesse is most enjoyable now. Recently I had the 2012, which was absolutely lovely!
Angelini 2017 Pinot Grigio  Veneto  $10-12**+ 
While some consider them the cliché of white wines Grigios are hard to beat in affordable dry whites for summer's seafood and casual sipping--get 'em while they're young and fresh and at their best, as in this 2017 from Angelini:  clean, crisp, with tangy bright fruit and a nice touch of minerality. And a bargain!
Mount Eden Chardonnay 2015  Edna Valley   $23-34***+  Don't say you don't like Chardonnay until you've tasted this one! Rich, intense flavors of toasted nuts, buttery apples, lemon zest, very nicely balanced with a deft touch of oak. Lingering finish very appealing--lovely with the likes of turbot or halibut with butter-sauteed mushrooms.   
Château Graville-Lacoste 2016   Bordeaux   $15***  An excellent white Bordeaux, balanced and graceful; this blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon has a broader flavor profile of stony citrus, very clean, a superb choice for fish and seafood. 
Le Paradou Viognier 2016  Languedoc-Rousillon $15**  Appealing floral fragrance, nice and fresh crispness. An excellent aperitif.

Bubbles.........I always have one on ice, just in case. And a great way to launch a fine dinner:
Schramsberg Brut Rosé 2015   North Coast  $35-40***  Schramsberg is making its best wines ever--this Brut Rosé, a lovely rosy hue, is just about perfect--I like it with smoked salmon and creamy goat cheese. Dry, hints of berries, long finish.
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs   Carneros  $18-24**+  Bright and charming, with a long creamy finish that is very appealing. Excellent with smoked salmon.
Gloria Ferrer Brut Rosé   Carneros **+ $20-29  This sparkler--the flaming color of sunset--is lively and crisp with bright berryish accents. Made from pinot noir, a grape that excels in the cool Carneros region of Sonoma County.  A charmer.
Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs NV, California, $18-22**+  Tiny bubbles, bright, clean fruit, dry and quite delicious. Keep this sparkler on hand  as a great aperitif, year-round.  I've tasted this wine several times with great pleasure. An excellent value, too.
Mumm Brut Prestige  Napa Valley  $19**+  It's dry but the bright hints of peach and vibrant citrus whet the appetite with effervescent appeal. Also excellent value.

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                                                                                                            ©Barbara Ensrud