>> Monday, June 16, 2008
In northern Europe they have summer already. Swedes are complaining (or not) about 30 degrees. Here in Paris we have so far a dismal beginning of the summer. Just barley over half the temperature in Sweden… In summer, in particular, rosé wines are scoring record sales in many countries now. People are sipping pink wine just like those with lives of leisure in Provence. And perhaps that is because many rosé wines are now actually quite good. I hardly thought I'd ever say that. For long, I have been looking the other way when rosé was offered but not so any longer.
And you know what? I even like Beaujolais! Rosé and Beaujolais used to be the wines I avoided in the beginning of my vinous life. Well, I'm allowed to change my mind, am I not? Every well made wine has the right to a place in the world of wine. So if you get enough of rosé for some time – if summer heat stays for long as we all hope – try a Beaujolais. It can be excellent, provided you serve it cool, never more than 14 degrees centigrade. In fact, Beaujolais is quite a unique wine. Few wines can boast this fine, fresh fruit, absolutely devoid of oak aromas. Made from an almost unique grape, grown in very few other places. A visit to a few Beaujolais producers a couple of weeks ago showed this eminently. Beaujolais deserves a renaissance! Of course, not all Beaujolais wines are excellent. Sometimes you get a bit too much of the artificial tutti-frutti aromas or the sweetish fruit. But on the other hand, which wine region does not have its ups and downs? None. You just have to choose your wine grower carefully.
And of course, your taste develops and changes the more you taste and the more you learn. Some French producers have a theory that New World wines are good because they are for "beginners", making for an easy approach to wine, and once the wine drinkers learn more and get a more sophisticated taste they move on to more complex and elegant wines … from France! That is no doubt not far from the truth for those wine drinkers who are interested in wine. Not because New World wines are simple and French wines are sophisticated, but because you always want to discover new things, new wines and new countries. So they move on from the New World to France, or to Italy, or to something else … or the other way around.
I'm on my way tomorrow to discover a "new" (for me) wine country: Greece. I suspect I won't have a single glass of Retsina during the trip. But you never know. Even Retsina might be enjoyable in the right environment. With some antique ruins in the background.
Wine tours for the autumn
Don't forget to plan your autumn wine tour before you leave on vacation! Perhaps a trip to the wine region of wine regions: to Bordeaux. Or (I was almost going to say the opposite) a region that has transformed itself beyond recognition as a table wine producer during the last decades, to the Douro valley in Portugal. Or perhaps an end-of-season vinous and gastronomic odyssey (you see, already some Greek influence!) to Champagne to discover its wines and its gastronomy. More info here.
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