Consider a Rosé for Valentine’s Day

February 12, 2018

It’s traditional to start with sparkling wine in some households. Let’s kick off this week with two Argentinean sparklers made by French expats. Domaine Bousquet Tupungato Uco Valley Brut Rosé NV, Mendoza, Argentina, is pale rose-colored with a pretty small bead. Citrus aromatics, red fruit, medium body and appropriate acidity to support and 12 percent alcohol. It’s made of 75 percent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; 87 points under $14. These often appear on vegan lists as a top organic.

Bousquet has cut a wide swath in this category, primarily because the family started the vineyards in 1997 on untrammeled virgin ground and had the good sense to observe the trend. Their Brut NV is 75 percent Chardonnay and PN. Reaching 12.5 percent alcohol lowers the residual sugar by half compared to the Rosé. Pale yellow with a green cast and nice mousse, its apple and citrus aromas lead to apple and slight yeasty flavors supported by crisp acidity and a clean finish. McD 86 plus 2 price points under $15.

The Bousquets took a huge risk, sold their French holdings near Carcassonne and bought a “desert” in Argentina; I’m guessing initially to produce Malbec and grapes indigenous to their home in France. I originally learned of their efforts in Argentina from Jancis Robinson when she mentioned the Bousquet Ameri Single Vineyard Red 2011 had a “complete nose.” That piqued my curiosity, so I found some. It’s made of 65 percent Malbec, 20 Cabernet, 10 Syrah and 5 Merlot, and aged 16 months in French oak. Red berries and barrel-driven pie spice aromas eased into cherry, currant, mineral flavors enhanced by tobacco and black pepper undertones. Drink through 2020, according to my notes. I bought a bottle for $25 in 2015; rated it 92 McD. Most of the tannins were incorporated. Delicious. The winery was formerly known as Domaine Jean Bousquet.

Kim Crawford Hawkes Bay Rosé is a consistent 87-88-point $15 selection. The 2017, just released, is in that ballpark. Made of Merlot, it is cranberry with salmon colored. Don’t think of the color-added, farm-raised fish, please. Look for currents, cherries and some dried herbal aromas. On the palate, strawberry and watermelon ride a refreshing frame.

The kicker here is 13 percent alcohol. I was expecting the wine to be alcoholic, but it isn’t. Lay new purchases down for a few weeks due to bottle shock from shipping; 89 McD points under $15. Crawford also produces Pansy Rosé Marlborough and Wild Grace Otago, a PN-driven Rosé. So far I haven’t sampled either. They are different due to terroir and varietal characteristics.

Are you, like me, disgusted with the recent FISA warrant kerfuffle and all the brouhaha surrounding President Trump? It bothers me because we don’t know yet. I am dismayed that Congress, FBI, the media, et al., seem to think we are too dull to read the information and evaluate. I have watched most of C-Span’s hearings. So far, the case is open. Clearly, most on both sides are interested in grandstanding and asking leading questions. Many witnesses are either suffering from memory loss, lying, or hiding behind secrecy and security issues. The media on both sides are manipulating information by ignoring, extrapolation or obfuscation. This is USA. Let the process play out.

Show all the info germane to FISA warrants. There are several of them. I have read that the “secret FISA” court has refused only one request of thousands. The sources on that may be questionable. Sadly, we have slid down a slippery slope from RICO to NSA to FISA due to so-called security issues. One should question and revisit the need for and application of these laws. They have a track record of both success and abuse. Ben Franklin wrote: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” An interesting countervailing opinion on the Franklin quote can be found at Sol Wachtler, chief justice NYS Court of Appeals, said, “A good prosecutor in front of a grand jury can indict a ham sandwich.” Somewhere in between lies reality.