It’s here! The first wine of the 2017 vintage has arrived. Let the celebration begin.
November, 2017 Article
What is this wine that causes so much excitement around the world every year about this time? It is Beaujolais Nouveau and the third Thursday of November is Beaujolais Nouveau Day. Worldwide. In France, where this amazing wine comes from, it is practically a national holiday celebrating the end of the harvest season. The carnival atmosphere may go on for days.
Over a hundred festivals with parades, fireworks, music and copious amounts of wine will be held in the tiny Beaujolais region of France. Parties will also be held across the US and other countries awaiting the 12:01 AM release of the new wine. Not a moment before, according to French law. In years past we have seen images of the precious cargo arriving by hot air balloon, rickshaw, Concord jet and camel to commence the festivities.
Just eight weeks ago the grapes that make this wine were still on the vine. When the Gamay grapes that go into Beaujolais wines are picked, hand-picked that is, the rush begins to process the wine. The technique for extracting and fermenting the juice is done quickly to preserve the fruity quality that is characteristically Nouveau.
Beaujolais Nouveau is not a wine for snobs and is mean to be drunk young and slightly chilled is okay, too. You can’t get any younger than this; it is literally the first wine to be produced from grapes harvested this season. Though the hullaballoo marketing may imply a wine of greater status Nouveau is not a complex wine. But it is light-bodied, fresh and fruity with an absolutely beautiful, intensely purple color and fresh, clean, distinctively Gamay nose. It is a fun wine that enthusiasts wait all year for. Or maybe it’s just the parties marking not only the end of the harvest but the beginning of the holiday season.
Ah, the holidays are upon us. In the US Beaujolais Nouveau is often called the Thanksgiving wine because of the timely release and because it pairs very well with Thanksgiving fare. Third Thursday; Nov. 16. Plan a party and stock up for Turkey Day. More on Thanksgiving wines in the days ahead.
The light, fruity style of Beaujolais without the bitter dryness of more complex reds is a great starting point for a lifetime of adventure. Beyond Nouveau there are several levels of quality in Beaujolais wines that might be stepping-stones to experiencing all sorts of exciting wines. Grab a glass and catch the WAVE; we’ll be your loyal wine guide.
For over ten years "Poppa Cork" has selected
"The Best of the Best"in Fine wine. ~Henry Foy
Articles written by owner, Henry Foy are published in LAKE Magazine monthly. www.lakemartinmagazine.com
128 Calhoun St Alexander City, AL 35010 256-212-9463
East Alabama's Premier Wine, Beer, and Cigar Shop
"Poppa Cork" Henry Foy
April, 2018 Article
For years now we have been hearing that Rosé wines were gaining in popularity. I mean like ten years and the demand has only increased slightly though steadily in that time, at least in this market. 2018 may be the breakout year for Rosés, so let’s give them another look.
Rosé wines don’t get a lot of respect. Rosé (row ZAY) is the French word for pink and refers to wines from around the globe that are produced in the light red or pale spectrum of apricot and salmon including the generally sweet blush category of wines like White Zinfandel and even White Merlot. Therein lies most of the confusion and shame that accompanies a Rosé. The sweet manifestations may, based on their color, be considered Rosés but a true Rosé is typically neither sweet nor is it what we in the United States commonly called a blush. There is no snobbery here; all pink wines are in essence Rosés and the inexpensive and generic sweet blush wines are exactly that with many loyal fans and faithful followers. There is nothing wrong with sweet wines or the people who enjoy them. You might be surprised at who . . . well, that’s confidential.
Except for the color, true Rosés are distinguished from blush by more complexity and character. For clarification let’s settle on this: blush means the sweet stuff and Rosé identifies the real thing. A wine snob might refer to a (true) Rosé as a real wine and there is a certain basis for that. The crisp, dry traits of Rosé appeals to a somewhat more cultivated palate. Cultivated meaning experienced, knowledgeable or seasoned. Not everyone can or has the desire to discern the nuances of quality between one wine and another. Beginners often trend toward the sweet wines and unfortunately many are content to remain at that level. An appreciation for wine cannot be gained without pouring some into a glass for the old look, smell and taste routine one glass at a time. Rosé is a good place to start for newbies or experienced wine lovers who what to branch out.
Branching out is what it’s all about. There can be no doubt or argument that the staggering number of wines available to us is intimidating. Even a simple wine list of ten wines can be confusing and the selection we make is often from those with which we are most familiar. It is no wonder that Chardonnay and Pinto Noir are the biggest sellers though Pinot Grigio is gaining some traction. And well-known, widely advertised brands are self- perpetuating. Meiomi for example is a wildly popular Pinot Noir; Meiomi also produce a Chardonnay and a Rosé. Conundrum is another well-know brand which first came on the market as a white blend. Conundrum Red and Rosé are now available locally.
Brand recognition is big business though the “best” Rosés may not bear the labels of the well-know brands. As always, “best” is a highly personal and individual assumption and there are a many, many, many selections from which to choose. In reality, finding the “best” should not be the goal when trying different wines among so many that are excellent in their own way.
Later this month the opportunity to try several different Rosés will take at an Emporium Wine. The wines selected for this Rosé only tasting will come from France and Spain and provide an exciting combination of varietals for evaluation. Cicada’s Song Rosé is 50% Grenache and 50% Mouvedre from the Provence region of France. La Perdrix is 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah from the Rhone Valley. It will be interesting to note the difference in proportions with the third selection called In Finé from the Ventoux Appellation in the Southern Rhone which is 85% Grenache and only 15% Syrah. Also from the Southern Rhone is Elicio with 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah. The Spanish selection is 100% Tempranillo, Bodegas Latue in La Marcha, Spain. How will that compare to the other largely Grenache based wines?
Rosé can be made from any red wine grape, which may be blue, red, black or purple. The pink color of the wine comes from having left the dark colored skins in contact with the juice for a brief period, 2 to 3 days, during fermentation. The lightly colored juice is then drained off and fermentation continues sans skins. Blush wines are colored in the same manner but Rosé Champagne makers are allowed to add a small amount of red wine to the cuvee. Domestic Sparkling Rosés are usually a blend of red and white grape varieties. The flavors in Rosé come from the grape varietals themselves, Cabernet, Syrah, etc.
We have of course just scratched the surface of the Rosé wines will be available in the coming season. They will come from all over the world, with corks and screw caps, some will be bone dry and some will be off-dry or not so dry. We even have one that is ice chest ready, a California brand that comes in a can, yes, a can with a pop-top, called Porch Pounder.
Catherine’s Market, Ocie and Belle’s, Emporium Wine and other retailers around the lake are gearing up for a summer of wine events and great opportunities to explore new wines. Watch for the ads and emails and come join us. It’s okay to have lmore than one favorite wine. No foolin’.
Henry Foy is the owner of Emporium Wine and Spirits with the area’s only walk-in humidor and cigar lounge, Café 128 and Gallery 128 in downtown Alexander City at 128 Calhoun Street. He can be reached at 256.212.WINE, on Instagram, Facebook and at email@example.com. Join our email list to get regular notices of wine specials and other events.
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