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Wine Review: Abiouness Rose of Pinot Noir

Although the wine business is mostly fun and games, this month we are turning a bit more serious in the name of a great cause.  This October, Breast Cancer Awareness month celebrates its 25th anniversary and it seems at this point everyone is on board.  NFL players are wearing pink cleats, pink ribbons are a dime a dozen, and there are more events to attend this month than you can count on two hands.  Is it all necessary?  Breast cancer is still the second most common cancer in women and in 2006 alone almost 200,000 women were diagnosed with it… in sort, yes.  So we are going to add one more charitable item to your to-do list this month:  drink pink wine. Decanted will donate 10% of our total sales of all pink (rose) wines sold this month to local Naples breast cancer support group, Bosom Buddies.  Want to get involved more?  Attend one of our events, a Rose tasting at Decanted on October 14th or a ‘Girls Night Out’ event at Salon International on October 15th.

And on to our review of the week…which is of course, pink.

Abiousness Rose of Pinot Noir, 2009Abiouness Rose of Pinot Noir

There is nothing more elegant that a perfectly made Pinot Noir from the Carneros region in Napa County.  Abiouness Rose of Pinot Noir is 100% Pinot made from a blend of the vineyards used in their single vineyard Pinot Noirs:  Stanly Ranch and Hudson Vineyard.  Most roses begin by the juices from the grapes sitting with their skins in a stainless steel tank for anywhere from a few hours to a few days (the longer the time, the darker the color); the grapes in used in Abiouness are exposed to the skins for one day before the juice is transferred into a neutral (used) French oak barrel.  The wine is left to ferment until all of the yeast consumes the natural sugar from the wine, which is the secret in making a dry rose rather than its sweeter, less enticing cousin.

What is left is a wine well balanced and complex.  The wine is remarkably Pinot while retaining the characteristics of a Rose….light of the palate and crisp on the finish with a flavor reminiscent of watermelon.  A little heavier in style and flavor than a traditional Provence rose, the Abiouness displays strong typical fruit characteristics of Pinot Noir:  strawberries, red raspberries and a touch of tart cherry with a balance of green earth and terrior.  You can almost taste the crisp, cool Carneros breeze!

Served best seafood, salads and light pasta dishes, the heaviness of this wine also make it suitable for heavily spiced dishes like Thai or Japanese or even with turkey or duck.  With only 106 cases produced, there’s not much to go around so maybe go with Tapas to try it with a bit of everything!

Our rating, 2 out of 3 stars.

Check out more information on this wine OR see our full selection of Roses for this month.

A Rose By Any Other Name

Vineyards during autumn in Provence, France

It is springtime in Naples, Florida which here means 80 plus degree days and increasing levels of humidity.  Funny but after a cold and dreary winter humidity feels good!  Springtime means two things to me…boating and rose.

Over the last twenty years or so, Rose has received a terrible reputation from it’s cousin – blush wine or White Zinfandel as we foundly call it here in the states.  Many times I think that rose is misunderstood and undervalued as a premium product due to the popular stereotype and miseducation of many wine drinkers in this country.  So here’s the truth behind rose, how it’s made, where it comes from, and why it is a premium wine…straight from the source in Provence, France.

A little history

In 600 B.C. the Greeks invaded the area now called Southern France – more specifically Provence.  They brought vines over with them and began planting, harvesting, and producing wine.  Since the Greeks moved in, winemaking has become a way of life not only in Provence but all of France.  However, the blush style is one thing that has remained unique to this region.

What is rose?

Rose is a category of wine, pink to be exact which is the French translation.  Rose wine can be made of a multitude of different grapes, but in general you’ll see Grenache or Syrah quiet often especially from Provence.  Roses are dry, crisp wines.  Roses may differ in structure, color and flavor but some of the tastes you’ll experience are often strawberry, citrus, floral but always very fresh, bright, and crisp, clean wines.

What makes it pink?

A true rose is made from red (or black/purple) grapes.  Like red wine, the natural color in the skin of the dark grapes give the wine a pigment as well as more tannins and structure.  To achieve the rose color rather than a dark red hue, these wines are femermented with the skins for a very short period of time.  While some reds are fermented with the skins for an extensive periods, roses may only see skin contact for anywhere between twenty minutes and a few hours.  The longer the wait, the darker the color.

What do I pair it with?

The best part about rose is its exquisite pairings with food.  French style rose melds perfectly with mediterranean cuisine, but also some other types of food that aren’t so easy to pair wine with:  Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Thai, Spanish paella, Tex-Mex…generally anything with strong flavors or spice.  It is also the classic wine to pair with roast turkey and Thanksgiving-like feasts.  We also find it the perfect wine for the beach, pool, even early morning/afternoon.

Charles & Charles Rose, made by Charles Smith & Charles Bieler

What do I try?

I only drink red…

Gargiulo Rosato di Sangiovese
This rose is made from 100% Sangiovese grown in Napa Valley.  It provides intense flavors and structure with even a touch of tannin on the end, perfect for the red wine drinker.

I like my California Chardonnay…

Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel
One of our favorite roses, it is smooth and silky with light strawberry flavors and acidity.  This producer makes some of the very best roses in Provence – their highest end (over $100) is better than some of the best white Burgundies!

I don’t like rose…

Charles & Charles Rose*
My sister and her fiance know very little about wine (just starting to get into it), hate sweet wines, and turned their noses up at the thought of rose.  That was until we ordered this bottle at dinner last year.  Three bottles later they were definitely rose lovers.  Crisp and clean with the right balance of acidity and fruit.

Thank you readers!

Anyone who would like to purchase these wines can get a 10% discount off at Decanted by mentioning this article or using the coupon code BLOG online.

*Charles & Charles Rose is available for pre-order only by email.  The wine is due to arrive in early May.

Wine With Your Burger?

The return of blue skies and sunshine means dusting off the grill for a backyard BBQ. And with Five Guys as our neighbors, more often than not we see people looking to pair wine with their burger and fries. This conjures up images of that scene from Sideways where Paul Giamatti is sitting in the burger joint with his 1961 Cheval Blanc, wolfing down a juicy cheeseburger. Obviously that is not what we are suggesting, but we would like to share with you some pairings should you choose to enjoy with either a Five Guys burger or simply throwing some patties on the grill to share with family and friends at home.

The perception has always been beer with burgers, but with gourmet foodies have been changing the image of the burger as we know it. Think –  bleu cheese & bacon, green chili & swiss, olives & feta, caramelized onion, mushroom stuffed, lemon & garlic Aioli with avocado, sweet potato fries, etc. With a multitude of flavors and a solid backing of red meat, why not pair with your favorite Cabernet, Zinfandel or Merlot?

Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 – $30

Pair this one with your heartiest burger – chili burger with a heavy dose of sharp cheddar cheese, Southern style BBQ sauce with caramelized onions, or splurge with a topping of sliced foie gras and truffles.

Duckhorn Merlot 2006 – $40

The blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot make this a complex, elegant wine with intense fruits and soft tannins. Pair this with a lightly topped burger, perhaps with just a sampling of some good cheese – try mild cheeses like Brie or goat cheese.

Don’t eat red meat? Try:

Van Duzer Pinot Noir Rose – $15

This dry style, fruit forward rose will pair perfectly with a chicken or ground turkey burger. Top your chicken burger with whole green chilis, Southwestern style Thousand Island, swiss cheese and guacamole. With your ground turkey try a cranberry chutney with Gorgonzola.

For more burger ideas, check out or just click on the link below

Valentine’s Day Wines

Lucky for all of us, Valentine’s Day only comes but once a year and for this weekend alone we are expected to come up with the most romantic gift for our significant others.  What better way to say you care that a great bottle of wine (which you can also enjoy yourself!)  We’ve compiled a list of the most romantic wines in celebration of the day of love.  These wines are sure to please as well as provide a great, romantic story.
Soave:  The Wine of Romeo & Juliet
Pra Soave Classico 2008
You can’t get much more romantic the drinking the grapes of Verona, Italy.  The name of Soave is rumored to have stemmed from two sources: the first gives credit to the great Italian poet of the 13th century, Dante Alighieri, author of the Divine Comedy and friend of the lord of Verona, Cangrande della Scala. The second credits Romeo (as in Romeo & Juliet), tasting the wine after a tryst with Juliet Romeo says to a servant, “Soave” after receiving a goblet of wine.  Whatever the source of the name, Soave now holds the place as Italy’s most romantic wine and the official wine of “Verona in Love,” Italy’s celebration of love and romance every Valentine’s Day weekend.
Tasting notes:  Fresh, flowery and lightly yeasty nose witha  touch of wood smoke. The palate is attractively textured and juicy, showing zesty ‘leesy’ intensity and a hint of almonds. Crisp, incisive and mineral on the finish.
Rose:  The Color of Love
Van Duzer Pinot Noir Rose 2008
What’s not to love about a pink wine on Valentine’s Day?  This rose is NOT white zinfandel style.  Made from 100% pinot noir, this rose is fermented with the skins for one hour to give the wine the pink hue.  Held in stainless steel tanks, it exudes a crisp, dry and clean style.
Tasting notes:  Dry strawberries and spice reminsicent of a traditional pinot noir.  Crisp acidity on the finish leaves a clean mouth feel.
Bordeaux Blends:  Deep, dark, and luscious
Jarvis Lake William Blend 2002
Lake William is the Cabernet Sauvignon blend which started out as a cellar mistake but is now a most sought after blend. It is named after the lake which borders and cools the Jarvis estate vineyards that makes up the blend. Each vintage’s varietal composition varies dependent on the blending of Winemaker Consultant, Dimitri Tchelistcheff.
Tasting notes:  This 2002 Lake William combines 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec. Twenty months of barrel aging in 100% new French Nevers oak adds a note of toasty vanilla to the rich violet aromas and elegant blackberry flavors of this wine.
Champagne:  Add a little sparkle to your night
Graham Beck Rose Brut NV
Champagne has been linked to love and romance for centuries. In the18th century a French cardinal, of all used the imagery of a champagne bottle popping open to make very thinly-veiled erotic suggestions in a poem to his would-be mistress the Marquise de Pompadour.  By the late 1700s in France the connection between seduction and champagne was established. Legend has it that the saucer-shaped champagne glasses called coupes were modelled on the the breasts of  famous French royal Marie-Antoinette,  wife of king Louis XVI.
Tasting Notes:  Pale silver-pink. Aromas of raspberries, cherries and a few secondary whiffs of minerality. A lively mousse but fine in the mouth, with subtle red berry flavours enlivened by bright acids. Brisk on the palate, showing hints of oyster shell and fresh lavender. Flirtatious and fun, yet elegant and structured, it’s perfect for all seasons and settings.