A Whole Mood
T’other day, I was chatting with some blog readers and fellow wine nerds in our wine chat at work (because we have chats for ev-ery-thing), and someone suggested I write a post about here’s a basic list of things you should have around and at these prices.
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I see their point, but I don’t know that works here. Having some standards in your liquor cabinet so you can make some of the most popular cocktails is one thing. I don’t know that there’s a set Things You Should Always Have Around for wine. Why should you have those? And at what prices? How much do you want to spend? Most importantly, what do you like? If you like cult cab sauvs, prepare to deplete the kids’ college accounts. And if you don’t know what you like, you’ll spend a little on a wide variety of different things. Is it important to you to shop local? If that’s the case, what’s local in your area?
Luckily (or unluckily, so sayeth my wallet), I like a lot of different things, and my favorite changes from season to season. I’m not going to drink a light crisp soave when I’m bundled up in sweats and wool socks by the fire. And I’m not going to sip my hefty William Heritage BDX on a day like Thursday here in New Jersey, where temperatures hit 85°F. (Don’t worry, it’s New Jersey, so after a thunderstorm on Saturday, lows will go back to the 40s°F.)
I needed something already chilled, so I went in my fridge and found this 2021 J.L. Quinson Côtes de Provence Rosé.
…Provence’s rosé is a mega commercial success. Eighty per cent of the region’s rosé production is consumed within France, mostly in Paris or in Provence itself, which is even more impressive considering that French wine consumption is in a free fall. What’s left is readily snatched up on the export market. Most wineries have very little rosé to sell. Things are good…
…Because the grapes are grown expressly for rosé, they are often picked slightly earlier than they would be if they were to be used in a red. This results in more acidity and less alcohol.
How the grapes are pressed also makes a difference. Many Provençal wineries go for very slow and gentle pressings in order to extract the maximum amount of flavour without taking on colour. Grapes are then gently pressed a second time, which can add a bit of colour. Some winemakers will macerate the juice briefly with these crushed skins, but rarely for very long. Again, because the grapes were harvested earlier, they don’t have to worry too much about picking up too much….
There’s bias and people confusing dry rosés for super-sweet white zinfandel. I could also probably interject something cynical about how things marketed mostly to women, such as pumpkin spice lattes, are denigrated, but… it’s too hot.
I took this wine straight out of the fridge and sipped, and it was way too cold. Luckily the easiest way to fix that is let it sit in the glass for about 10 minutes on an 85°F afternoon. The nose is still pretty muted; I got unripe strawberry after a while of swirling and sitting. On the palate I got more not-yet-ripe strawberry and maybe a little hint of lavender. It’s got lots of acidity, too much to go with my spicy dinner, but a little goat cheese on a baguette would do nicely.
It’s not bad for the price (about $7 at that intrepid traveler Trader Joe’s). While it’s not the best rosé I’ve ever had, it does refresh on a hot day. Bonus, it reminds me of the gals’ trip to Tampa I had in February, and that’s always a good thing.
What should you have around in your cellar? Have something ready-chilled for summer days when friends come over. There’s my big tip for the week.