Saturday, May 26, 2012

Culinaria in San Antonio

San Antonio's annual Culinaria festival: The first-ever food truck event on May 17, 2012 offered lots of food trucks gathered in one place. The trucks, such as Rickshaw, Duk Truk and Say-She-Ate, dished up Duck Fat Fries, !ndian pocket pies, Thai spiced hot wings, Akaushi beef sliders, BBQ (of course), crepes, gourmet burgers, and beer and wine!  Long lines, because it was so popular, but good food and good fun.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rosé Roundup

A rose is a rose is a rose, as Gertrude Stein wrote, but a rosé can be even better. This spring and summer, when  you want the refreshing quality of a white wine but with more weight and more flavor, choose a dry, French-style rosé. They don"t have to come from France-- wineries all over the world are making wines in this style. The French region they are most identified with, Provence, is enjoying record sales right now. So if you want to be trendy, embrace chilled dry rosés this spring and summer. If you just want good wine, enjoy this style of rosé anytime, all year round, like I do. Below are several I recommend after recent tastings. Following them are some unorthodox, but interesting, pink products I came across while looking for rosés, a rosé Port and a rhubarb liqueur.

2011 Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon, Mulderbosch, South Africa, ($12) was a delightful find as it is the first rosé I have ever tasted from South Africa. Yummy red fruit, crisp with a firm acidity and a sturdy weightiness in the mouth are the hallmarks of this wine. 12.5% alcohol.

2011 Halter Ranch Rosé: Paso Robles, California. ($16). This southern Rhone Valley-style rose is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and a Picpoul Blanc (a white grape). It is similar to wines from Tavel in Provence. It is a deep pink wine with flavors and aromas of red cherry and raspberry. Superbly dry with a wonderful silky mouthfeel. Alcohol is high at 14.1%.

2011 Prieure de Montezargues Rosé, Tavel, Provence, France, ($25.99).  From the land most associated with this style of wine, this is a blend of Grenache (both red and white), Cinsault, and several other Rhone varieties, it has a moderate alcohol of 13.5% and a palate-cleansing acidity. Perfect with light summer foods.

2011 Chateau de Jau, Jaja de Jau Rosé, France, ($9.99).  Made from 100% Syrah, this is a robust rosé. A little spice, a lot of weight in the mouth, and a deeper color than most rosés, this wine will convince rosé-shy, red wine imbibers that a dry rosé is worth drinking.

2011 North Coast Dry Rosato, V. Sattui, Napa Valley, ($21.75). Almost-red in color, this is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignane and is more hearty than light.  Red fruit aromas and flavors of raspberry and strawberry plus a classic acidity makes this wine a nice warm weather sipper. A moderate 13.5% alcohol.

JCB Cremant De Bourgogne Rosé, No 69, Boisset Family Estates, France ($20). Just watching the abundant tiny bubbles in this pretty sparkler rising in your flute is enjoyable, but when you taste the crisp, fruity, yeasty wine made from 100% Pinot Noir, the enjoyment heightens. Lovely color. A celebratory wine for a party or just a leisurely weekend brunch. Great quality for the price.

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut, France ($99). For special occasions or when you want to make a splash, this pricey Champagne is impressive because of its razor-sharp focus, crisp acidity and aromas and flavors of cherry, strawberries, red currants. It is a blend of grapes from ten different crus considered among the finest in Champagne, and cellared for at least four years, both of which account for the high price.

Narello Mascalese Brut Rosé, Valdo, Italy, ($14.99). This dry rosé prosecco is a blend of two Italian grapes and has a low alcohol of only 12%. Light, refreshing with a zippy acidity, it would do well as a summer sipper alone or with seafood, paella or salads.  Served it at a ”Ladies Night” gathering and everyone was enthusiastic!

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rose ($20). One of my favorite wines, this is a cremant (French sparkling wine) from Alsace in northern France (not the Champagne region). It tastes like a high-end, celebration wine, but is moderate in cost and alcohol. The beautiful rosey tint looks good on any table, summer or winter.

Rhuby, a rhubarb liqueur, 40 proof, ($35). In U.S. stores by June, 2012. Sweet and tart, smooth and silky, this was delicious straight over ice. Made by adding organic Swedish wheat vodka, natural spring water, sugar and bourbon vanilla beans to juiced Swedish rhubarb stalks, it is free of chemicals, preservatives and additives. The makers of Rhuby recommend it in Margaritas, Daiquris, or Mojitos, or mixed with any sparkling wine. For a lighter drink, mix this pale pink liqueur with soda water or lemonade.

Croft PINK, rosé Port, 40 proof ($19.99). From one of the oldest Port houses in Portugal, this rosé Port is made from the same six grapes used in its traditional Port. The drink has aromas of ripe, red fruits, and tastes of berries and citrus. Drink it chilled, on the rocks, mixed (with jasmine iced tea, for example), or add to sangria.