Mercury has been in retrograde, which is why we’ve noticed a lot of frantic energy. (The endless number of chilly, overcast days doesn’t help!) In order to distract ourselves, we’ve started diving into three of our new springtime arrivals – two from France and one from Oregon that blend 10 different grape varietals into just three bottles. The results are unexpectedly mouthwatering and showcase the ability by winemakers to make blends seriously delicious.
Anders Steen mixing juicy fruit, salt and tannins together creates a rosé that almost feels like a light red. Minimus takes “entry level” Oregon wine to the next level, tempering the power of their high ABV wines. And Raphaël Bartucci gives 40 grams of residual sugar life in sparkling candy form.
Anders Steen Il va, ca va Je vais, je sais (2016)
This co-fermented blend of Carignan, Viognier and Chardonnay straddles the boundaries between rosé and light red. It features an electric acidity upfront and a pop of tart red fruit. This is followed by a quick transition to a funky, salty mid-palette that was delightfully unexpected. As the wine mellows out over time, you get a touch of minerality, a subtle, restrained tannic trip and a finish that ends with some gentle, slightly sweet strawberry notes. This is wonderfully experimental wine but it still manages to find the right harmony between the different elements. We’d recommend saving the whole bottle for yourself.
Minimus Rock Well, Red Wine Blend (2016)
It’s hard not to want this wine from the label alone, which features a disco ball ice cream. This is blend of red and white varietals in the following breakdown: 40% Tempranillo, 26% Sauvignon Blanc, 14% Viognier, 16% Syrah, and 4% Chenin Blanc that are blended after fermentation. It features earthiness on the nose, bright red fruits and a high-toned acidity. This is followed by gentle tannins but the wine soon softens into a dry finish, with some vegetal notes and a subtle floral quality that lingers at the end. For a wine at 14.2%, this is surprisingly light on its feet and could likely do well with a few years aging given that it reached its optimal balance of flavors a few days after the bottle was opened.
Raphaël Bartucci Bugey-Cerdon Pet Nat Rosé (NV)
Bugey-Cerdon is known for its characteristic low ABV, semi-sweet sparkling wines, and this example from Bartucci does not disappoint. A blend of 80% Gamay, 15% Poulsard, 5% Chardonnay, this 9% ABV rosé sparkler is perfectfor anyone with a little bit of a sweet tooth. Think strawberry aromas with cranberry acidity upfront, followed by plush raspberry and strawberry notes, a smack of Juicy Fruit gum and finish that builds slowly into a mineral grip and gentle pepper notes by the end. As we wrote when we drank it: pure fun! pure joy! This is spring and summer distilled into a bottle.
Join us next week as we shift our focus to those 85 degree days and down a bunch of bottles of summer-ready wines, even if that nip in the air hasn’t quite disappeared just yet!