What I’m drinking now – 2010 Ch. Leoube rose

Aug 30, 11 What I’m drinking now – 2010 Ch. Leoube rose

Posted by in France

Summer 2010 is over. Wait, did we even have a summer this year here in soggy England? Whether or not we had a proper summer, there’s always hope that we’ll have an Indian summer. Indian summer. The two words always remind me of N. American Indian moccasin-clad feet and sunny forest lakes (I know, I’m being literal but that’s the kind of person I can be sometimes). I suppose the best one can hope for in an Indian summer is that the temperature doesn’t plummet overnight and the sun comes out to play among the autumnal leaves falling to the ground. So, what to drink? Is it time to put away the whites? Time to bring out the big guns – the reds? It’s a tricky time of year (wine-wise) but I got a pale salmon-hued rosé the other day from the South of France that just might be the answer to what to drink for an Indian summer. Ch. Leoube is from the region of Provence but is owned by the English founders of Daylesford Organic, although they do have a French winemaker, Romain Ott. I don’t know how organic they are in the vineyards but I’m guessing they’re not spraying the place down with pesticides. The vineyard is in Cap Bénat, in a coastal cove and has clay and schist soils which give the wine a soupçon of minerality. Côtes de Provence is known for their rosés and rightly so. Nowhere else do you get such delicately coloured wines, almost orangish-pink in colour, not so dark that they could be confused for a Beaujolais or even a red Burgundy like some (*cough* New World) rosés nor bursting with lots of ripe red fruits, they are delicate and clean wines, creamy but still retaining a zing of acidity, the echo of starfruit and red berry flavours on the palate followed by a spiced note on the way down. A perfect aperitif or perhaps something to go with a light lunch or dinner, at...

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Chiaretto – Italian rose from the shores of Lake Garda

Let’s go to Italy today. I feel like writing about a lunch I had on the shores of Lake Garda back in September when I visited the Lugano wine region. Perhaps it’s because spring is just round the corner that I  got to thinking of rosès. I took a look at some photos I took last September when I was in Italy and thought the wines were  just too pretty to ignore. Not only that but they are also very under-rated. The rosès come from the vineyards on the slopes of hills that surround Lake Garda  and are some of the best and lightest that Italy produces. The DOC benefits greatly from the microclimate that surrounds the lake with a mild microclimate, we saw palm trees, olive trees and lemon trees, which considering we were almost at the foot of the Alps was quite a surprise.  Chiaretto is the wine that is made from the first pressing of the gropello grape of the Garda Classico DOC region. Gropello is a red grape that gives light and spicy wines. Sangiovese, barbera and marimeno are also allowed in the blend but gropello is the main grape. There are only 300 hectares of gropello in the world and like pinot noir, it can be a fussy grape, needing much care and attention. In order to produce chiaretto, the producer can only use the first press and he has to be careful that the must has only brief contact with the skins in order to get not only the lovely pink hue but also to obtain the optimum fruit without unbalancing the wine. It is a delicate balancing act and one that has been perfected over the centuries. The local vintners call it the “wine of one night” because vinification takes place over one day and one night and  it remains in contact with the must for not more then 6-8 hours. Chiaretto is a wine that should be drunk young and because it is so fresh and...

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Mardi Gras, Gumbo & Bubbles

I’ve always wanted to go to a Mardi Gras celebration. The beads, the parades, the music, the copious amounts of alcohol consumed. I mean, doesn’t that sound like fun? What if you threw in Mardi Gras at an American theme park? Like say, Universal in Orlando, Florida? It might not be New Orleans but it was a hell of a lot of fun nonetheless. When Eat Like A Girl (Niamh) asked me if I was available for a trip to Florida, I jumped on it like a duck on a June bug. I hadn’t been to a theme park in years and I still don’t like big roller coasters but Universal has so many rides In both it’s parks, (Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios) that are not roller coasters that there’s plenty to do. My favourite had to be The Mummy, although technically it’s a rollercoaster, it’s more like a baby roller coaster with no huge drops. We did however ride on the River Adventure in the Jurassic Park area of the park and that has the sharpest water ride drop, 55 degree angle, plunging 85 feet. Our guide neglected to tell us that but it was so much fun we wanted to ride it again anyway. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was fun and threw you all over the place, although technically it’s not a roller coaster and Spiderman, complete with fire in your face and smoke in your eyes, was another simulator ride I ‘d do again.  The only ride I didn’t really care for, but Niamh loved, was The Simpsons. That simulator was way too realistic for me, I thought I was gonna puke.   We were there not only to visit the park but also to sample some authentic Cajun gumbo as Niamh was covering the food side of Mardi Gras for iVillage. For those who are unfamiliar with it, gumbo is of Cajun origins. The Cajuns being the Acadian French who were kicked out of Canada by...

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Cruase – Italian sparkling rose, yes, I said rose, wine

It’s Italian week here on the Winesleuth. Yes, more stories and wine finds from my recent trip through Lombardy in Northern Italy. I like rosés and like sparkling rosés even more. Italy’s not really known for their rosés, let alone sparkling rosés but that’s all about to change thanks to the Oltrepò Pavese consortium. Oltrepò Pavese is located in the region of Pavia, Lombardy on the 45th parallel, the same as the region of Burgundy and like Burgundy, the region has historically grown pinot noir or pinot nero, as they call it in Italy. The Consortio Tutela Vini Oltrepò Pavese has taken as it’s mission to produce naturally sparkling rosé wines from the region and launch them onto the world. Cruasé is their sparkling rose, the name being a hybrid of the words cru and rosé. In an interesting twist, while researching the history of the region, it was discovered that in the 17th century, cruà was the name given to vines and the wines that were produced in the region. Cruasé is made in the  traditional method and have a minimum of 85% pinot nero with the remainder being made up of the local varieties. It’s a DOCG wine which means that there is are strict rules and regulations regarding the production of the wine before it can be labeled and  sold as Cruasé. I was quite delighted to be offered a glass of sparkling rosé as soon as I arrived at the restaurant, straight off the plane. We tried Cruasés from various producers and I found most of them to be clean and fresh but not terribly exciting. The reservas, however, now there was something to get excited about. Aged 24 months on the lees, these were the ones that I liked best but you know, I always go for the oldies. The wine was showing very nicely, candied red fruits on the nose and palate with that familiar aroma of a bakery on a early Saturday morning hovering above the glass....

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Spanish roses for an Indian summer

Indian summer. Why do they call it Indian summer? Summers in India are hot as hell, not to mention wet, it being monsoon season and all. I did a bit of research (ok, looked on Wikipedia) and among the various meanings, this one seemed just as good as any of the others: …the term originated from raids on European colonies by Indian war parties; these raids usually ended in autumn, hence the extension to summer-like weather in the fall as an Indian summer…. That seems to be just as believable as any of the other definitions. So Indian summer not only means it’s still nice and sunny but that means that it’s still rosé weather! It’s no longer hot (not that it ever really got hot this summer) nor have the icy fingers of winter crept down my collar so what better wine to drink then a fresh and fruit driven yet dry rosé. I like rosés because they are so versatile as I’ve said many times and the rosés of Rioja tick all the boxes for a truly delightful drinking experience. Rioja is a big producer of  rosés and they are made up primarily of grenache and tempranillo, both varietals which produce dark red wines so it’s no surprise that Riojan rosés are usually quite dark in colour. I had 4 sent to me to try and they all had the roughly the same characteristics. Dry yet with a fabulous red fruit character, they are perfect food wines, matching with everything from tapas to BBQ. The Campo Viejo Tempranillo rosé is made from 100% tempranillo and is a fresh and funky rosé with plenty of bright red fruits on the nose and palate but no residual sugar. It’s closed with a screwcap so it’s a handle bottle to take along to the park and perfect with snacks. Marques de Vitoria rosé is another 100% tempranill and is a dry and fresh wine, light body but plenty of strawberry and red currant rolling around...

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