New Year's Resolutions

One of my many resolutions this year is to update my website.  I realise that I have plenty of wine-related prose that my avid readers are missing out on, not to mention stacks of recipes and food-matching tips.  Whilst filing (another resolution) I stumbled upon this account of the lovely Provencal rosés I had been fortunate to taste during this last summer.  We have plentiful bouts of sunshine in the Tropics making these wines the ideal aperitif and, indeed, supper accompaniment.  I hope you enjoy this update on pink, and more importantly organic, wines from France.

The majority of the wines I chose to taste in the summer were either certified organic or “in conversion” meaning the vineyard is actually farming and producing organically but is in the three year period before they receive accreditation.  The move to organic is wonderful news for allergy sufferers as the wines contain much lower levels of sulphites. They are equally beneficial for the rest of us as in general the wines taste even more delicious than usual and the environment reaps rewards.

Provencal rosé in particular continues to enjoy increased global demand: exports from Provence to the US grew 62% in volume and 49% in value in 2011 compared to 2010, the eighth consecutive year of double-digit growth.

Provence, and its neighbouring appellations of Luberon and Ventoux may include any combination of the following red grape varieties: Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. The first four in the list being very much southern French grapes adding to that all important terroir effect that translates as specific grape varieties being grown in perfectly matched and suitable soils and climate. 

The specific pink colour of the wines is very much driven by the winemaker.  The wines can be made by the “Saign
ée” method (translated from the French verb to bleed). This is really a by-product of red wine production; some of the pink juice is “bled” to intensify the red wine and then this pink juice is then used to produce a rosé wine.  Alternatively the grapes will be dedicated to the production of rosé only.  So after crushing, the red grape skins are left in contact with the juice for a short time until the desired colour is achieved before pressing and the juice being fermented into wine. This latter method will make the wine a little more expensive.

I truly believe that winemaking is an art and so find myself put-off by the thought of anything being a by-product but in these multi-tasking days perhaps I shouldn’t be so critical.  Can you taste the difference? Maybe – I’ll keep trying on your behalf!


PS The Chateau Unang Rosé (a dedicated rosé production) that was profiled in my last newsletter has proved very popular.  If you would like to reserve some of the last stocks please visit my website for the case offers.  We may not see it here again until the next sunny vintage arrives in September.

Recipe of the Month:

Sicilian Pasta with Tomatoes, Garlic and Almonds

My Food & Wine Club covered Italian and Spanish wines last week.  I tried this delightful recipe from Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson. It was ridiculously easy and incredibly tasty and even went down well with a bunch of teenagers on a sleepover.

Wine of the Month:

Montipulciano d'Abruzzo DOC, Italy, 2010, RM62

This is an old favorite on my website that is back in stock for Chinese New Year.  We tasted it this last week too alongside a Rioja from Spain and then with the Sicilian Pasta dish.
Both wines were a great match this one was the slightly lighter and fruitier of the two and the ridiculously good value for money you would expect from this grape variety.

Full Tasting Notes

Food & Wine Club
New Course Launch

New Sessions of the Food & Wine Club at a Beginners Level


Please let me know if you would like to come along to an Introductory Trial Session on Friday 15th February at 11.30am-1.30pm in the Bangsar area.  Please send me an email if you would like more details or follow this link to the webpage.

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