Something in a Blush

Unofficially, summer is drawing to a close. The neighborhood is much quieter during the day, with all those children back in school. Fewer people are venturing into the backyards as well, leaving more time and territory for us felines to explore. Ah, how we so love the fall!

Our staff spent part of this Labor Day weekend at a Trivia Contest. We so liked that idea that we decided to have one of our own, though with more cat-centric questions, like famous Chinese leaders and largest feline species. Obviously, that would be Big Fat, though there are rumors of a larger cat on the other side of the woods. Bah! Rumors only.

Of course, the issue of what wine to serve had to be handled first. In honor of summer, we all agreed that a Rose would be quite tasty. Not that roses are limited to summer only, but there is something about that color and that flavor that just seems so perfect in the heat. So what blushing beauty to enjoy?

In honor of Labor Day, it seemed appropriate to start with an American. American roses have a reputation for being heavy on the fruit, to the point of being syrupy. It’s a tough accusation to shake, especially given the widely-held view that American roses are meant to be cheap summer wines for people who don’t normally drink wine.

There are some producers out there working hard to prove that theory wrong. Brooklyn Winery has a tasty pink that feels more French (with a New York twist) than California fruity. But for our evening of questions-and-answers, we opted for the Lassetter Family Enjoue. There’s grapefruit and strawberry here, but a really nice body that holds up well to almost any summer fare. The finish is long, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy that sublime flavor of summer berry with a hint of pepper, a rarity among American pinks.

We also cracked open a pair of Frenchies to help close out the evening. The French have long appreciated what a good rose can do when treated with a little respect. The French also tend to use the pinot noir grape as their primary, so their roses are less of a fruit fest and more of a terroir test.Top of our list was a Mas de Gourgonnier from Provence, the heart of rose country in France. It’s drier than most Americans expect their rose to be, but there is fruit here, a bit of citrus mixed with wild berries. There’s also a dry flintiness, that makes for a great pairing with anything you can put on a grill.

That was followed by a Tavel. Another pinot noir based rose from France, but the grape flavor really shines here. There’s some dryness to the wine, but it still felt like a wine destined to be sipped while sitting with friends in the backyard, doing nothing more than talking about not much of anything. It could match well with a nice bit of goat cheese, but it doesn’t really cry out for a food pairing. It does conjure up an image of two old men sitting at a table at the local bar tabac, sipping their wine and watching the day go by. What could be more summer than that?

We won’t mention who won our trivia contest. Suffice to say, the girls established an early lead and never relented. The young guns had one victory, but the days are still long and there are many frogs still to be chased.

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