André Brunel’s Les Cailloux & Cuvée Centenaire from Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Fabrice Brunel came to town recently, bringing with him his excellent, new releases from the Côtes du Rhone and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  We paired them with the elegant cuisine of the French restaurant Convival in Washington DC.  We’ve long been fans of the wines of Fabrice’s father André but hadn’t tasted Les Cailloux since Fabrice took over the winemaking in 2013.  After the dinner we decided to dig around in our cellar to see if we had any older vintages, and we found a 1999 Les Cailloux Rouge Châteauneuf-du-Pape as well as a 1995Les Cailloux Cuvée Centenaire. André Brunel introduced the world to the Cuvée Centenaire, made from the domaine’s oldest (now 125 years old) Grenache parcel beginning with the 1989 vintage. We opened the bottles from our cellar later and found that both wines are drinking fantastically right now. Our notes on all these wines follow. Continue reading

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The Friuli Wines of Perusini from Corno di Rosazzo

The Perusini ronchi di Gramogliano winery is located in Italy’s Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region, which produces some of the finest wines of Italy. Sandwiched between the Adriatic Sea to the south and the Julian Alps to the north, Friuli’s cool climate is uniquely suited for high quality wine production. This is especially true for Colli Oriental, the Friuli’s appellations where Perusini is located. Colli Orientali is just to the west of Collio, another of the regional appellations justifiably famous for its elegant white wines. We wrote about Friuli and Collio in some depth in our Report # 63: The Wines of Friuli: Collio’s Elegant Whites. 

Perusini ronchi di Gramogliano is most famous for its Picolit, a rare grape variety that almost became extinct but was revived in the 19thcentury by Giacomo Perusini, but it grows other grape varieties as well, including Ribolla Gialla and the oddly named Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso.  Located in the hills of Gramogliano within the municipality of Corno di Rosazzo, the Perusini estate enjoys a terroir well suited for producing high quality grapes, both indigenous and international. Our reviews of the wines are given below. Corno di Rosazzo is famous not only for its wine but, also, for the historic Abbey of Rosazzo, which we visited while preparing our report on The Wines of Friuli: Collio’s Special Whites.   Continue reading

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Posted in Countries and Regions, Dessert Wine, Friuli, Italy, Red Wine, Uncategorized, White Wine, Wine Type | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tongue Dancer Wines: New Releases from Sonoma County

James Mac Phail, one of California’s most accomplished winemakers, is crafting some superb wines under a new project called Tongue Dancer. The unusual name was chosen to reflect his special interest in wines that have texture and mouth feel. Under the Tongue Dancer label he has produced three wines in small quantities that are being sold by subscription. The wines are reasonably priced in view of their high quality and the small volume produced. Mc Phail sources his grapes from excellent vineyards such as Pratt and Putnam and follows Burgundian methods in the cellar.  His wines offer lovely texture and mouthfeel with richness in flavor. His Chardonnay from the Pratt Vineyard in Russian River Valley is a real winner. Continue reading

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Francis Ford Coppola: New Releases from Napa Valley and Sonoma County

The four wines reviewed here are exemplary of the depth and breadth of Francis Ford Coppola’s wine portfolio. This foursome offers excellent Russian River Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at an affordable price and two delicious proprietary red blends. The 2016 Eleanor is especially noteworthy as it blends Napa Valley and Sonoma County fruit in a lush and full-bodied format with excellent flavors, complexity and structure.  Readers should enjoy all four selections.  Continue reading

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The Many Styles of French Rosé: The 2018 Vintage

France makes rosé wine almost anywhere it makes wine, including Bordeaux, Champagne, and the Loire. But Southern France and Provence, especially, is where most French rosé comes from.  French rosés vary greatly in style from the pale, perfumed ones of the Côtes de Provence to the full bodied, robust ones of Tavel, which we reviewed in an earlier article. In this article our focus is on the other rosés of France with particular focus on Provence but, also, including rosés from Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, the Rhône Valley, and several appellations within Languedoc-Roussillon.  Our list of top-rated French rosés includes wines from all these appellations.  For our recommendations on top 2018 Sancerre rosés, see our recent article on Rosés of Pinot Noir, and for recommendations on Burgundy crémants, see our article on Sparkling Rosés. Finally, for an in-depth, comprehensive discussion of rosé wines around the world and how they’re made read our Report #66 The World of Rosé.

Top Rated French Rosés

Producer & Wine Appellation Score
Domaines Ott 2018 Château Romassan Bandol 94
Domaines Ott 2018 Clos Mireille Côtes de Provence 93
Domaines Ott 2018 Château de Selle Côtes de Provence 93
Château des Ferrages 2018 Mon Plaisir Sainte Victoire Côtes de Provence 92
Mas Redonne 2018 Rosé Bandol 91+
Miraval 2018 Rosé Côtes de Provence 91
Commanderie de la Bargemone 2018 La Bargermone Cuvée Marina Coteaux d’Aix en Provence 91
VIgnobles JeanJean 2018 Domaine Le Pive Gris Sable de Camargue 91
Château des Bertrands 2018 Estate Rosé Côtes de Provence 90+
Moulin de La Roque 2018 Les Adrets Rosé Bandol 90+
Château Ollieux Romanis 2018 Cuvée Classique Corbières 90+
Château de L’Aumérade 2018 Rosé Cuvée Marie-Christine Côtes de Provence 90
Famille Perrin 2018 Rosé Réserve Côtes du Rhône 90
Chateau Suau 2018 Rosé Bordeaux 90
Castelmaure 2018 Vin-Gris Corbières Corbières 90
Commanderie de la Bargemone 2018 Rosé Coteaux d’Aix en Provence 90
Penya 2018 Rosé Côtes Catalanes 90
Château des Bertrands 2018 Reserve des Bertrands Elégance Rosé Côtes de Provence 90
Domaine du Pas de L’Escalette 2018 Ze rozé Languedoc 90
Chateau Pech-Latt 2018 Rosé Corbières 90
Domaine Poli 2018 Sciaccerellu Ile de Beauté Corsica 90
HB Chevalier 2018 Rosé

Le Charmel 2018 Rosé

Languedoc

Loire

90

90

Domaine de la Mordoree 2018 Rosé Côte du Rhône 90

*Wines scoring 90 or above.

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Spanish Wines of Value and Quality

 

Grapes of Spain has been importing wines from Spain since 2002 and currently has a portfolio of some 36 producers and 90+ wines from all parts of the country. Located just outside Washington DC, the company is owned and operated by Aurelio Cabestrero who is originally from Madrid. Before becoming an importer, Aurelio worked as a sommelier in Spain’s Café de Oriente and in Washington DC for the Taberna del Alabardero and Marcels restaurants. We have come to know Aurelio over the years as a first-class sommelier and a highly knowledgeable and dynamic importer of Spanish wines. Continue reading

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East Coast Rosés: Current Releases from the Finger Lakes to North Carolina

The rosé wines of the East Coast have improved dramatically in recent years. Not long ago, rosé wines from the East Coast were likely to be sweet and made from native grape varieties. Today, they are made from vitis vinifera and French American hybrids and similar in style to the dry rosés of Provence and the Loire.  Since Cabernet Franc is the go to red variety in the East, many rosés are also made from this variety. But other varieties are also used:  Blaufränkisch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Pinot Noir and even Sangiovese and Tannat.  We review East Coast rosés, mostly from the 2018 vintage, below. Readers interested in some of the outstanding sparkling rosés of the East Coast should consult our earlier article on New Sparkling RosésContinue reading

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Rosés of Pinot Noir from Around the World: The 2018 Vintage

Rosés made of Pinot Noir are the stars of this year’s rosé tasting. They’re typically light red in color, fragrant with red cherry and pomegranate scents, medium bodied with good fullness in the mouth, and flavorful with flavors that mirror the bouquet. Like every other category of rosé they vary from region to region and producer to producer.  Despite stylistic differences, Pinot Noir rosés share much in common. The Pinot Noir character almost always shines through. Alcohol and acidity levels are moderate. And Pinot Noir rosé is much more likely to be partly fermented and/or aged in neutral oak than is true of other rosés. As a result, many have a fuller, more vinous character than other rosés, especially the very light Provence style rosés so popular today. Continue reading

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New Sparkling Rosés from North America, Europe and South Africa

Sparkling rosé is made all over the world.  In this article, we review new releases from North America [California, New York, Oregon, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia] and Europe [Austria, France] and South Africa. Sparkling rosés come from numerous grapes—almost all vitis vinifera—and are made using various techniques that contribute effervescence to the wine.  Those interested in learning more about the world of sparkling rosé, including rosé Champagne, are encouraged to read our in-depth reports Rosé Champagne and Sparkling Wine and The World of Rosé. Continue reading

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2018 Vintage Rosés from Spain and Portugal

The Garnacha Grape

This article on the rosés of the Iberian Peninsula is one of a series covering the vintage 2018 rosés currently in the American marketplace. We earlier published an article on Tavel rosés titled Tavel: The Rosé of Kings. Future articles will focus on sparkling rosé, rosé of Pinot Noir, East Coast rosé, and the rosés of Provence. Continue reading

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