Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sometimes It Just Needs To Be Wet




Wednesday evening I got home from work and kicked off my scuffed brown shoes…my favorite shoes. A pair of men’s somewhat squared toed lace ups that are beginning to take on the look of one of those old trunks you might find in your grandparent’s guest room. Tucked in a corner or at the foot of the bed, hidden under a knitted blanket that has been tossed over the top in an effort to cover all the years of dings and scratches. I never untie them; just use the arch of one foot to peel the heel off the other, used to slip them on the same way but an unfortunate, somewhat Pinot Gris soaked evening in Alsace caused a spinal injury to the backs of my beloved shoes. I have to untie them to put them on now. One would think a normal person might, oh I don’t know…remember this at night when she is balancing herself on the arm of the chair, arch of one foot scrapping the heel of the other. Nope, never crosses my mind, like ever.

I bent down and did the two pronged shoe gather, slipping my pointer and middle finger into my still-warm-from-my-feet shoes, the fragile backs settling against my fingers and tossed them in my “shoe area”. Flipped open my laptop and finished the last little bit of an article on some new wines from the Jura that I needed to get to Randy before The Wine Country’s newsletter deadline. Time to tackle the next task, Rose, I wanted to try and get Randy some write ups on the new 2012 Roses that have either already arrived or will be here by the time our newsletter lands. I sat there in front of my laptop for about forty minutes, (well, I was bouncing back and forth between that and making dinner) blank fucking Word document glaring in my day weary face. As much as I wanted to beat the Thursday deadline I just could not bring myself to try and wax rhapsodic about the flavor profile of each and every French Rose I’ve tasted in the past two months. Any guesses why?



Because it’s Rose people! When I am tasted on these fantastic refreshing little wines I take very copious notes, (um because I know I am going to be charged with having to write them up) and they are very detailed. So here’s the thing, when you lay week’s worth of tasting notes…on Rose in front of you they kind of look….similar. Now I can write up a bunch of Loire wines, Rhone wines, even Burgundy and I can point to all the delicate and subtle differences with those wines, the history…the rarity, the vineyards but with Rose the range and scope are a bit narrower. These wines are not profound and they were never meant to be.

For years Rose was dismissed here in the US and with the vats of crap pink wine that people sucked back, and in some cases…ended up horking up I don’t blame folks for being resistant, hell I still have a hard time even nuzzling a man with Bourbon on his breath….long very bad evening that I still refuse to talk about. But with more travel, more interest in food and seasonal eating, importers, restaurants and retailers bending the ear and palate of the consumer, people have opened their minds and hearts to these gulpable summer sippers and now, well now they are all the rage. Our store has been touting Rose for years, Randy climbed atop his soapbox like 17 years ago and challenged people to forget what they thought they knew about pink wines. Took a few years but now we sell around 700 cases of Rose between April and September. People make pilgrimages to our shop, driving from Arizona and Las Vegas, (um perfect places for Rose by the way) to stock up on a summers worth of “Pink wine” also part of the reason I am slammed with suppliers wanting to sample me on this new Rose they are importing….sigh, freaking band wagon. Always ends the same way, “Yeah it’s okay but the ones we have are so much better…and cheaper” we hooked up with the guys that were in the know like years ago, so “Johnny come I better get me one” just isn’t gonna cut it for our customers.



So with that “hottest thing” deal with regards to wine you get the over analyzers. The folks that feel the need to geek out on anything and everything wine. These are the same folks that grill me about Nouveau Beaujolais, ask about brix and insist on knowing what the wine is made from. I wouldn’t mind this so much if these folks were really even listening or talking notes or something….they aren’t, they just want to show you how serious they are about wine. I dig that, I understand it in a way, I too am really serious about wine but….not all wine is “serious”.

To spend your time and energy breaking down Rose is missing the point entirely. These wines were made to just drink. Yeah I said it…just drink. Designed to quaff during the warm summer months when it is a tad too stifling to suck back heavy reds, it’s like ninety degrees out and you are grilling up steaks in the backyard….sure a Cabernet might go with that steak but the heat has you aching for something just a bit more refreshing, brighter, and fresher. This, this is where Rose belongs and what it was created for.

Rose is much like a Martini in that it is as much as a feeling as it is a beverage. Rose is about lingering in the yard, warm afternoons, picking at little bits of food while talking about Tiger Woods or whatever with family, neighbors and friends. Rose is a grownups summer break, our time to let our over active brains take a vacation. What goes best with the bounty of ripe, succulent summer produce, um Rose. What shall I serve with barbecued chicken, ribs or fish…um, Rose. It’s so easy that I simply cannot understand why anyone would look to make it harder. “Is it more like white or more like red?” is really all anyone needs to know.



When you start over analyzing Rose it is like looking too closely at that trunk in your Grandparent’s guestroom or my scuffed up, spinally compromised shoes. Asking yourself why all those dents, dinks, scratches and scruffs are there instead of seeing that life has happened to them. Those trunks hold years worth of art projects, photos and letters….my jacked up shoes have been with me all over France and Spain and when my feet are in them my head is held higher. Life, history and memories are all over those trunks, my shoes and your next bottle of Rose. Pop the cork, sip away at something easy, refreshing and life enhancing.


Sometimes it just needs to be wet, let your life, your memories be your tasting notes.

13 comments:

gabriel jagle said...

It takes a skilled winemaker to take red grapes, ferment them as white wines, and make it seem effortless and easy. Cheap and delicious rose is a gift from Baccus

Samantha Dugan said...

Gabe,
Could not agree more. It's is what I drink, almost exclusively, from April to September. I love them more than most and I even had a very famous French winemaker tell me, "Well Samantha, I am pretty sure you, in your time here at The Wine Country, have had more Rose, than....anyone" and not to be all boasty or nuttin' but, I think he was right. I adore Rose but the one thing I want everyone to keep in mind, they are rarely profound, nor are they made to be. There are exceptions of course but people that get all wadded up over notes and critic reviews over Rose....well I think they are missing the fucking point. Period. Thanks for the comment young one!

gabriel jagle said...

Sam, we may not agree about sweet wine, but we surely agree about rose. I think rose has the ability to transcend rhetoric and be the perfect wine for its time and place over and over again. Let the fools drink $500 bottles of Screaming Asshole while you and I splurge for a world class rose costing $20.

In the Willamette Valley, rose has become so popular and unprofitable that the best ones are made in lots of two or three hundred cases, sell for $15 to $20 per bottle, and are sold out by the 4th of July.

We have one acre of tempranillo at the Illahe vineyard; we sell half and keep half, so two wineries can produce 100 cases of rose for $15 a bottle. Both were fantastic this Spring, and both are sold out already. I wish I had stashed a half dozen bottles, but I drank all mine already...well, maybe I still have one bottle stashed away :~)

Samantha Dugan said...

Gabe,
Yeah, not so much with the sweet anything...kinda wish I were as my lack of Riesling affection is making my counterparts look at me like I smell funny but, well sir, faking it has never been my strong suit. Trying to think of the Oregon Roses I've had and I can only think of Caldwell right now and I have to confess, not my favorite. I had no idea you crazy cats were making some from Tempranillo! Dude, we might have to work on some trades next year....

Winey The Elder said...

"Let your life, your memories be your tasting notes." As profound a phrase as I've heard in a long time.

Here at Casa Winey we take our roses sincerely. In fact for la femme's natal celeb, I gave her two dozen roses: the liquid kind....roses and rosatos that are becoming tasting notes every day.

Not new to roses; don't care that their the fad; this will fade away and we will still be smiling as the wine in our glass resembles the shades of sunset that fill the western skies.

Wonderful piece, Samantha.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,
Roses are the french fries of wine. When they're good, man, just sit back and go nuts. And when they're not, hell, they're still not so bad. Leave it to the people making them to take them seriously, make something satisfying and delicious, and then just drink them with a smile on your face.

The one thing I don't understand about Rose drinkers, however, is the idea that once the weather cools off they're not desirable any more. Rose with Thanksgiving dinner is damned nice. Or Christmas--it's even the right color for Christmas. You just have to have saved some. I guess that's the hard part.

Lovely piece, Gorgeous. As ever.

I love you!

Samantha Dugan said...

Winey,
I used to always say that I though myself prolific and not so much profound but seeing as I have been struggling a bit with the desire to keep writing I will gladly and excitedly take that profound comment. Nibble on it like a scrap of aged cheddar. I love the sincerity comment, that one I am going to have to use my dear, sweet Winey, if you so allow. I think that is perfect...

Ron My Love,
So if I'm to read between the blurred lines here you are saying that for Christmas you would like to be sitting naked with me eating French Fries and drinking Roses? Well who am I to say no to a holiday wish? For you, anything. Oh and I agree with you on drinking Rose all year long, especially those of us in California (southern even more so) where our weather and foods are perfectly suited for year round Rose consumption. I love you! Oh and those fries, shoestring, steak, seasoned or do you just want them short and curly?

Romes said...

Hesh with the sex talk with Washam. I was so thinking that Ron's analogy of French fries was so spot on and then I got this fucked up image of the two of you naked... Thanks for both?

I'm so happy to drink rose, so much so that the 15 bottles you sent just a mint ago are now 2. Damn, I open the wine fridge and wonder who drank them all!

I just settled into a NYC apartment for the next 5 days and this post has made me very thirsty - I think I better walk down the street and see if I can find some rosé and maybe some cured meat too... Ewww, That just made me think about the nakedness again... Damnit...

Samantha Dugan said...

Jess,
Don't be hating on the uncontrollable passion of Samantha & Ron. Like a Bandol Rose it is a powerful thing of beauty. And need I remind you of just who I have in fact seen naked?! Ahem...

Enjoy New York lovely and I am sure you will be able to find some lovely Roses to hold you through until you get home to those last 2 bottles!

gabriel jagle said...

I do a wine theme every thanksgiving, and last year was rose. It was fantastic.

Dang, this thread is making me want to drink rose

Samantha Dugan said...

Gabe,
What? It isn't making you want to eat fries or cured meat naked with Ron?! Man...I fail. xoxox

Louisville Juice said...

I still don't get it. Wines so similar your tasting notes run together in a mush of redundant similarity, and you're good with that but take a swipe at bourbon. Man you're just such a girl.

Samantha Dugan said...

Tom,
Well welcome back mister and I think my girlness is one of my best features pal. I didn't take a swipe at Bourbon for it's lack of complexity or diversity, I just don't like the flavor.....bad evening, bunch of booze mixed in a big cup as a teenager, Bourbon was the flavor that came back up, ewe. Now I just can't do it.