Archive for May, 2012

Rosé-a-Palooza at J. Emerson Fine Wine

May 25, 2012

“I have full confidence in your pink, devotion to pink, and skill in pink. We will accept nothing less than full on pink. Good luck, and let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty pink upon this great and noble tasting.” ~General Dwight D. Eisenhower giving the P-Day order.

The invasion has begun.  Pink wine is flowing in all the fine establishments throughout the city.

J. Emerson Fine Wine and Cheese dropped the pink bomb recently with their 6th annual Rosé-a-Palooza wine tasting.  A total of 16 wines were being poured representing about every wine producing country.

The staff was victorious in converting the non-pink drinking masses with generous pours of fine-dry, elegant and aromatic examples.  There are still preconceived notions out there that all pink wine is sweet.  Some of the standouts were the Schnaitmann Evoé! rosé trocken from the German region of Württemberg.  Württemberg is Germany’s fourth largest wine producing area with most of the production there being red.  Evoé! is a blend of Spätburgunder, Schwarzriesling, Trollinger, and Portugieser.  It was linear and citrusy, focussed and complex.  Evidently the wine completely sold out that night, there is no more left in the country.  Also being poured was one of my favorite go-to producers, Domaine des Terrisses of Gaillac produces a rich and gamey pink wine that is great with grillin.   An assemblage of Syrah, Braucol, Duras, this wine delivers a lot of character and is a great value.

David of Potomac Selections was there helping out with some of the heavy hitters from The Neal Rosenthal portfolio.  One of the prettiest being Domain du Bagnol’s rosé from the Mediterranean village of Cassis.  The wine could transport you to the tiny fishing village with its salmon colored hue, berry, mineral and silky mouthfeel.  Also Domaine du Bagnol’s Provençal neighbor was hanging out, Commanderie de Peyrassol is one of the more historic estates in the area dating back to the 13th century.  The wine is a classic example of Provence and one that should be on tap at your home.  Full bodied, briskly alert and energetic.

Perhaps the most polarizing pink wine of the event was the Gigondas rosé from Domaine du Gour de Chaulé.  The village of Gigondas, located in the southern part of the Côtes du Rhône was long considered the poor man’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  Gour de Chaulé uses traditional wine making methods and minimal intervention to produce wines that are classic and true to the Gigondas appellation.  Big, bursting dark fruit that is brambly and bawdy, this wine needs saucisson or chipolatas to tame its structure.  Not a sissy rosé .

Jeff from all natural Williams Corner Wine was also pouring and knows all about great, honest wine.  Domaine Les Fouques from the  Maures des Massif, part of the Provence coastal ranges, is a biodynamic estate that grows wines that are in perfect harmony with stars, earth, and animal poop and they are delicious.  The Rosé Tradition is balanced by soft fruit and a refreshing, chalky minerality.  Probably the most obscure wine region being represented was Fiefs Vendéens which is situated where the Loire and the Aquitaine regions meet.  J. Mourat is a large organic estate that produces a wide variety of wines.  Their Collection Rosé is a lovely blend of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Négrette.  Everyone seemed to enjoy its pleasant bitter cranberry and black currant quality.  Also how could one resist the weird shaped bottle with the cute owl on the label?  The other standout was from Château Cambon which I guess is sort of in Beaujolais, located in a no man’s land between the crus of Morgon and Fleurie.  The property was bought by Marcel and Marie Lapierre  with Jean Claude Chanudet of Domaine Chamonard back in the 90’s.  The Lapierres and Chanudet are Beaujolais all stars that helped veer the region away from crappy Duboeuf nouveau by incorporating organic farming and natural grape vinification to make wines that really express a sense of place.  The wine is feisty and smells of tobacco and plums, throw a chicken in the oven!

Stock up on pink wine now before it is gone, all the cool kids are drinking it.

Dogs love it as well.

J. Emerson Fine Wine 

5716 Grove Avenue

Richmond, Virginia 23226

Let Us Have Date Night…At Garnett’s!

May 23, 2012

The bestest, most charming dining room in Richmond has one of the bestest dinner deals.  Garnett’s Cafe serves some of the great sandwiches of the city all day and all night, you and your date can enjoy two of them with a solid bottle of wine for 30 bucks.  The wine list is short, versatile and appropriate.  3 whites, 1 pink, 3 reds.

Virginia is represented with a couple of chaptalized offerings.  Never had anything from Gabrielle Rausse so I can’t turn my nose up at them but The Wineworks Viognier  from Michael Shaps is charming and fresh enough to enjoy alongside a Turkey and cheese sandwich on that ass kicking Boston brown (molasses) bread.  Michael Shaps is kind of a Virginia wine making hero, he also oversees wine production in a famous wine growing region in France, a place called Burgundy, more specifically a place in Burgundy called Meursault.

From the Languedoc: Sensation Gourmande is a varietal bottling line from Domaine de Bellemare, the Chardonnay is clean and correct and can happily be drunk alongside some Scuffletown Chicken Salad.

For pink they did have the Prieuré Saint Hippolyte Rosé from the wine coop Les vignerons de Fontès for a while.  Refreshing, mineral and fruity, also from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, great with…well anything.

Staying in the Languedoc (wow, great values and easy drinking fun, people take notice!) more specifically Saint-Chinian, Calmel + JJoseph produces fruit forward resinous wines with plenty of woodland aromas.  Saint-Chinian wines are great with the Roast beef and Anchovy sauce.

Domaine Mucyn grows Syrah which is the most manly grape in the world and blends it with the most woosy Gamay grape to make a wine that can be enjoyed by everyone. Vin de Pays Collines Rhodaniennes refers to wines produced in a sub-area around the Rhône river valley.  Domaine Mucyn has vineyards located in St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage in the Northern part of the Côtes du Rhône which neighbors the home of some of the best Syrah wines in the world.  The wines smell like smoked meats and herbs and are perfect with The Big Daddy!

Who doesn’t want 3 different kinds of animals (plus bacon) piled between toasted bread for dinner?

A little Bordeaux from Château Lestrille rounds out the list if you want to partake in the Meatloaf sandwich.  Get it with the garlic aioli.

Garnett’s has had some other fun wines that are great to dine with: Ventoux from Rhône producer Xavier Vignon, Merlot from the organic estate Château de Brau, and chuggable terroir driven wines from Laurent Miquel.  They have done a nice job with keeping their wine selection affordable and adventurous yet easy enough for the non-wine geek to find something that would make em happy.  Take your date out on a weeknight for a casual eating and drinking experience, drink more wine with dinner.

There are free mints available so your spouse won’t suspect a thing.

Garnett’s Cafe


2001 Park Ave.

Richmond, VA