Rosés or Roses?

I’ll take the Rosés, please!

From Italy and France, here are my two current favorite Rosés perfect for everyday or a little gift for that special someone (instead of or with the roses)!

Santa Cristina Cipresseto Toscana IGT Rosato 2014

  • Variety: Sangiovese and other complimentary varieties from Tuscany
  • Aroma: Red fruits
  • Taste: A bold yet balanced wine full of raspberry and strawberry notes
  • Price: $14
  • My thoughts: Love a Rosato (Italian Rosé) and this Santa Cristina is a great one full of my favorite color, pink! The wine was given it’s name for the cypress trees you see across the Tuscan landscape. Look forward to trying the 2015!

Cipresseto Rosato

Gérard Bertrand Cote des Roses 2014

  • Variety: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah from Languedoc
  • Aroma: Refreshing strawberry
  • Taste: Light, fresh and fruity
  • Price: $15
  • My thoughts: It’s like sipping a glass of Rosé on the Mediterranean! This classic combo of French Rosé grapes is the perfect example from the South of France. And bonus…Rose on the bottom of the beautiful bottle.

Gerard Bertrand Rose

Cote de Roses-1

Cheers, Saluté, Santé to Rosé!

Rosé d’assiette: Perfect Summer Food Pairing Wines

Rosé has continued to be my favorite wine this summer. As it’s the last unofficial weekend of summer with lots of cookouts, I wanted to bring Rosés that would stand up nicely with bigger foods that were being served.

Often Rosé can be too light to pair well with food, but rosé d’assiette, or “plate” in French, are ones named for the their pairing ability. These are four great examples.

  • E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2013, $
  • Jaboulet Parrallele 45 Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2013, $12
  • Château Mourgues du Grès “Fleur d’Eglantine” Costières de Nîmes Rosé 2013, $11
  • Domaine de la Mordorée Tavel Rosé 2013, $30

The two favorites at the cookout?

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2013

  • Variety: 35% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 25% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre
  • Aroma: Bright red fruit
  • Taste: Big strawberry, nice texture and structure
  • Price: $14.99
  • My thoughts: I always love E. Guigal wines. The estate dates back to 1946. This Rosé is no exception, and at a great price, but it’s already hard to find this year.

Jaboulet Parrallele 45 Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2013

  • Variety: 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 10% Syrah
  • Aroma: Citrus, pink grapefruit
  • Taste: Crisp pink grapefruit with pomegranate, nice body and minerality
  • Price: $12
  • My thoughts: This wine has built the reputation of the Rhône producing great values in fine French wine. At $12 it can’t be beat as an aperitif and food pairing.

Santé to Rosé d’assiette!

The Grand Canyon Winery: Travel Far. Drink Local.

On our recent trip to the Grand Canyon, we made a stop in Williams, Arizona. Not only because it was on Historic Route 66, but it’s also my husband’s last name! What a cute, funky town that takes you back to what Route 66 must have been like. It reminded me of Radiator Springs from the Cars movie.

The few blocks of this historic route pack in gift shops, restaurants and we stumbled upon The Grand Canyon Winery Tasting Room.

This antique feel bar and tasting room offers wine and beer tastings, wines by the glass and bottle, and beers. The Grand Canyon Winery is a local Arizona winery owned and operated by the Kennelly family of Northern Arizona. The tasking room offers their line up of wines and other wines from Arizona.

I had a great tasting of whites and reds…Grand Canyon Winery’s Rambler White, Traveler White, Traveler Red and Voyager, as well as other wineries Sand Reckoner 2 and Stronghold Mangus. It was cool to see what these grape varieties that are doing in Arizona, from Zinfandel to Sangiovese to Chenin Blanc.

As a Rosé fan, one of the wines on the shelf that caught my eye was the Sand Reckoner 2012 Rosé. I bought a bottle to take to our Grand Canyon visit. And it turned out to be my favorite.

2012 Sand Reckoner Rosé

Region: Cochise County, Arizona
Variety: 73% Nebbiolo, 23% Sangiovese, 4% Zinfandel
Aroma: Raspberries and lime
Taste: Ripe strawberries and raspberries
Price: $22
My thoughts: First time I’ve had Italian grape varieties grown in Arizona! Enjoyed their Sand Reckoner 2 I tasted in the Tasting Room as well.

And love the tasting glasses I bought there too. Perfect sipping size.

Should you find yourself in Williams, Arizona, and if you’re going to the Grand Canyon you definitely should, stop by the Grand Canyon Winery Tasting Room for a tasting and pick up some bottles to go. It’s a great opportunity to drink local!



Summer Rosé Favorites

I’ve enjoyed many new Rosés this summer from Virginia to Italy to France. And as the last weekend of summer is upon us, I’m enjoying a glass of it on the deck. I thought I’d share with you my favorite new Rosé discoveries of the season.

2011 VieVité Rosé

  • Variety: 30% Cinsault, 30% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 20% Carignan from Provence, France
  • Aroma: Strawberry and spice notes
  • Taste: Light, fresh, delicate, strawberries
  • Price: $19.99
  • My thoughts: I enjoyed two glass of this one at The Champagne Bar at The Plaza in New York City at the beginning of the summer season. Always a great spot for a drink (even though one glass cost about what the suggested retail bottle price is 🙂 )! It’s exactly what a Provence Rosé should be. Produced by Domaine Sainte Marie, located just 15km outside of Saint Tropez, France, it’s vines are from 25 to 80 years old.

2012 Early Mountain Rosé

  • Variety: Malbec and Merlot from Virginia
  • Aroma: Rich red fruits
  • Taste: Full bodied strawberries and raspberries with spicy hints
  • Price: $18
  • My thoughts: On a visit to Early Mountain Vineyards in July, this was a wine several of us tried after our official tasting. Their first Rosé it was fantastic. Definitely a fuller bodied version made with Malbec and Merlot, it will still be a nice glass for the warmer days of September.

Cheers to summer’s wine favorites and new discoveries to come in Autumn!

West Coast Book Tour Wine & Travel Adventures: Sarver Winery

One of the great things about a West Coast Book Launch Tour (for my new book, KeeKee’s Big Adventures in Paris, France) was the great travel and wine experiences to be had…from Washington to Oregon to California!

After Washington, we hit Oregon and THE region for Pinot Noir in the U.S….Willamette Valley. Sarver Winery was our stop outside Eugene as they hosted our Oregon launch event.

We had story times and activities for the kids, and the adults enjoyed the fabulous wines and beautiful vistas at this family owned winery. It’s the perfect family destination with Erin and Chris as wonderful hosts.

Elhanan Vineyard at Sarver Winery was established in 1984 as one of the first growers of premium Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes in the southern Willamette Valley. Chris and Erin took it over in winter 2008.

At the end of our event, I was able to taste through their incredible wine line up…2011 Estate Stainless Pinot Gris, 2011 Estate Barrel-Aged Pinot Gris, 2012 Pinot Noir Rosé (bottle and on tap), 2010 Estate Grown Pinot Noir, 2009 Cuvée (blend of Syrah, Grenache, Petite Syrah), 2011 Gewürztraminer, 2011 Estate Riesling and 2007 Porto “Syrato.” Truly all the wines were outstanding, but I had to pick a few to take home …

Sarver Winery 2011 Estate Stainless Pinot Gris

  • Variety: 100% Pinot Gris
  • Aroma: Floral, citrus
  • Taste: White flowers, lemongrass
  • Price: $15.00
  • My thoughts: You can’t beat a Pinot Gris from Oregon and this is the perfect example!

Sarver Winery 2012 Pinot Noir Rosé

  • Variety: 100% Pinot Noir
  • Aroma: Summer berries
  • Taste: Strawberry, raspberry with hints of earthiness
  • Price: $19.00
  • My thoughts: This was my favorite! They were serving it from the bottle and on tap, giving it a little CO2 and effervescence…fun but I preferred it straight from the bottle. Perfect for the start of summer!

With summer coming, I went with these, but I will definitely be ordering their Estate Grown Pinot Noir for Autumn!

Special thank you to Wine Julia for the suggestion, coordination and all the promotion!

Cheers to Sarver Winery, the amazing Pinot Noir they are growing, and the Willamette Valley!

More to come from the West Coast Book Tour Wine & Travel Adventures.