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Purveyor of uncommon wine, spirits & beer | Nashville, TN


Purveyor of uncommon wine, spirits & beer.

Filtering by Tag: rose

Première Rosé


It's here again: the beginning of rosé season. Seems like lately that runs about half the year, but you won't find me complaining. Especially when more rosé means more wines like Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris. One of their mottos (they seem to have several) is that modern doesn't have to mean techno-driven. I wonder if that turn-of-phrase has a little more music to it in the French—probably. But the point is, they're right. The domaine goes back centuries. The little pocket of land it occupies is in the heart of the local "golden crescent" of Corbières, so-named for the intensity of sun in the area. Medieval monks set up hermitages here for contemplation. Roman soldiers tarried here on R&R. Mountains to the west, Mediterranean to the east, granite bluffs to the north. The winds shift back and forth between two seas. The soil is well-drained. It's ideal wine country.

The Laboucarié family has owned the place since the mid-seventies. They were the first in the Corbières region (part of Languedoc-Rousillon) to practice whole-cluster fermentation (carbonic maceration) which brings a brightness to the traditionally deep, intense reds made of Carignan, Grenache noir, Syrah, Mouvedre, etc. While innovation has played a big role in the reputation of this estate, their instruments are all strung for the most traditional chansons. Another of their mottos: you must see the land through your ancestors' eyes.

But today we're talking rosé. Because no one does it better in the Southwest than Domaine de Fontsainte with their Gris de Gris. This is flinty, rose-hipped, under-ripe strawberry chain reaction goodness in your mouth. This is refreshment in no small dose. The flinging open of your shutters. The call of the song-birds. The sparkling gem of an al fresco lunch.

And the best part? This year she comes in double. We bought up a round of magnums (1.5L bottles) of the Fontsainte rosé because, well, in this case more is just better. A lot better. Anyone wanting to throw down on some spring is absolutely in need of one of these. They look like softball bats! Pink, delicious softball bats. Get yours.

Domaine de Fontsainte Corbières "Gris de Gris" 750ml ($17) 1.5L ($39)

Tavel Trinquevedel


Tavel is the only wine region in all of France whose sole product is rosé. This unique disposition means that, unlike most rosé producers in other regions, rosé is the final destination for grapes in this appellation and not a stop along the way. That means the vines themselves are farmed with the exact balance of rosé in mind. So if good wine is made in the vineyard, then the region of Tavel has every advantage for making superior wine. For centuries Tavel was known as the wine of kings—this was the favorite wine of the Sun King, Louis XIV. And today it is one of only a small number of appellations with grand cru status.

In the last couple decades, however, the wines have become somewhat pricey. And tradition has kept much of the region at a standstill while other, less rigid appellations have been able to experiment and forge new bonds with an ever-broadening fan base. So in the U.S. it's something of a hidden gem.

Chateau de Trinquevedel is a fourth-generation estate located on some of Tavel's most prized land. The soil here is made up primarily of the big round stones (called galets rouléts) for which Chateauneuf-du-Pape is so famous. And for me, Trinquevedel is priced exactly right. About half of this wine comes from Grenache; the other half is a blend of several other Southern Rhône varietals. This is a sturdy and intense rosé, bulging with primary red fruit in the glass.

The Wine

Chateau de Trinquevedel Tavel — $20 Firm tannins lend muscle to the bright flavors of ripe red berries and spicy garrigue.

From the Tank


Summer is upon us. All those opportunities for outdoor fun are piling up. Folks are making plans for the Fourth. All that. So it's not a moment too soon that our favorite wine in a box just arrived. Perfect for the boat, the canoe, the picnic, the bbq... just generally perfect, really.

From the Tank rosé

A few years back, Francois Ecot (co-owner of Jenny & Francois) got together with natural winemaker Denis Deschamps of Les Vignerons D’ Estézargues (a small, co-cooperative cellar near Avignon) to create a special wine for exclusive distribution by Jenny & Francois. This was a new product line called From the Tank—three handcrafted and quality-driven wines in eco-friendly packaging at very low prices. Since its inception, the production of the white and the rosé has been moved to another producer in the Jenny & Francois family, Domaine de la Patience. This year's rosé is a blend of grenache and syrah from the Languedoc-Roussillon  and it's fresh as ever.

After selling out our allotment last year in a matter of two weeks, this year we doubled our order. Still, it's one of our most popular wines of the year and so it tends to fly out of the shop. We'll be tasting it Saturday if you want to try before you buy.

We're also going to add a sparkling rosé from Bugey-Cerdon into the mix, Renardat Fache.

The Wines

From the Tank rosé (3L) | grenache, syrah | Languedoc-Roussillon, France — $26 Renardat Fache | gamay, poulsard | Bugey-Cerdon, France — $20

Not All Rosés Are Created Equal


Free rosé tasting | Saturday, April 6 3:00—5:00PM

I'm going to spare you the cutesy puns and clever innuendo that has become the mainstay of what I'm calling rosé season (aka spring). It's a thing, we all know it's a thing: the "Think Pink" marketing blitz of April. I'm going to skip all that and go straight to the fact that, yes, this time of year we see the release of a lot of rosé wines, some still and some sparkling, some of which are fantastic, but many of which are not.

The most basic thing to understand about rosé is that it is made almost entirely from red grapes. Beyond that, there are two common methods of production. The first is the more obvious of the two: pick designated grapes at an appropriate level of ripeness, crush those grapes and let the skins add color and phenolic character to the juice for just long enough to turn it the right shade of pink. Then remove the skins and ferment the juice, rest, bottle, enjoy. There are plenty of variations on this method and every winemaker has her own style.

And then there's the second way, what's referred to in French as saignée or in English as bleeding. Saignée is achieved by bleeding off juice along the way to making a red wine (a process that makes the red more concentrated). Traditionally, this byproduct was used around the winery in various ways, and until pretty recently never bottled on its own. Put simply, it's the easy way out, and is less likely to make a wine of distinctive character. Although exceptions abound.

The difference, mainly, is that in the first method (limited maceration) the wine is made from start to finish with the intent of it becoming rosé, which should be more acidic and less tannic than a red from the same varietals. The grapes are treated with respect to a single idea, refreshingly springy dry pink wine. Whereas the second method (bleeding) is the result of a detour on the way to making a red.

Both can produce highly drinkable wines, wines that will be a perfect accompaniment to your spring and summer outings, your al fresco dining, even your roasted meats of fall. Wines made in the first method tend to be superior to saignée wines, but there are plenty of saignée wines I love to guzzle too. The key is, I don't want to drink a wine built on market principle alone. And that's really the difference between wines of character and mass-production slop.

When I'm "thinking pink" I treat the experience the same as when I'm thinking red or white or green or brown or anything at all for that matter. I seek out the stuff made by the guy who wants to connect to me, who wants to create an experience for me and my friends across land and sea, language, culture, time. No matter what the market deems.

Here's an assortment of our current faves:

Chateau Sainte Eulalie — $16 (Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache) Minervois, France

Commanderie de la Bargemone — $18 (Grenache, Mourvedre) Coteaux d'Aix en Provence, France

Lioco — $18 (Carignan) Mendocino Co., CA

Copain "Tous Ensemble" — $22 (Pinot Noir) Anderson Valley, CA