As I mentioned last month, almost to the day, I have been writing this blog for ten years now and for the last 6-7 years (the first few years, otherwise known as the “obscurity period”, it seemed as though I was writing for three readers: my mother, my wife, and someone in Uzbekistan) I have received samples to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
The problem is, I have not “celebrated” the “holiday” since the sixth grade when I was desperately hoping for a Valentine from Deanna Miller which never came. I was crushed and swore that I would never acknowledge the 14th of February ever again.
At least that is how the story goes in my head. It may actually be that I am just an incredibly cheap son of a gun and the thought of spending my hard earned cash on some dead flowers to show someone I care is antithetical to my word view.
Yeah, let’s stick to the Deanna-Miller-broke-my-heart-forever-when-it-comes-to-Valentine’s-Day narrative.
Luckily, and likely for different reasons altogether, my wife of now more than twenty years has always felt that Valentine’s Day was a rather contrived “holiday” and she has never felt the need to celebrate it either (maybe I need to ask if there was a “Deanna Miller” in her past?).
Traditionally, on the 14th day of the second month of the year, we do open a bottle of bubbles, usually pink, and typically French. So it is just like any other day of the year.
But I get it. There are people out there that really do mark the feast of Saint Valentine as a day to celebrate love and their current romantic relationship (why that happens only once a year is a legitimate question in my book, but I digress, I am trying to keep it positive here).
In that vein, here are four bottles that I received this past week or so that were sent to help celebrate Love’s Big Day (if you are like me, they would be even better to open during the Super Bowl on Sunday, but there I go digressing again).
The first two bottles come from Anarchist Wine Company, the second label of Foundry Wines, a relatively new producer in Napa which operates a custom crush facility. The wines from the Anarchist side are a series of blends that, frankly, one does not see all that often. And after these two rosés (one still, one sparkling), I am looking forward to trying some of the other unique blends.
2020 Anarchist Wine Company Rosé Against the Machine, Clarksburg, CA: Retail $24. Overly heavy bottle. 80% Tempranillo, 20% Mourvèdre. Under cork (no foil, yea!). While the tech sheet says $24, the website lists this wine at $26. So $25? A relatively low case production of just over 500 cases, the light to medium salmon wine comes in a bottle (which is heavier than it needs to be) adorned with a lovely label. Strawberry, watermelon, and cantaloupe are all present on the delightful nose, suggesting a delightful quaff. The palate confirms that assumption with great fruit initially, paired with a roundness that quickly coats the mouth. The tartness comes in a tad later, and struggles to assert itself, but gets there by the above-average finish. Very Good. 89 Points.
2020 Anarchist Wine Company 15 Minutes of Fame, Clarksburg, CA: Retail $32. 79% Mourvedre, 21% Tempranillo (although the tech sheet they sent me is different, grrr). Under crown cap. I looked on the tech sheet. I looked on the website. I looked on the label. And then I went old school: I called someone. All to find out how this sparkling wine is made. I had guessed it is not a traditional method nor a Charmat method wine since I believe this is made at a custom crush facility and it is doubtful that they have the equipment to produce either. So I guessed (correctly, as it turns out) that it is an infused (carbonation added) wine–not that it makes that much difference to anyone but me, but still (while not everyone would agree, I feel that the flavors and texture that come from the traditional method [aka champagne method] of making a sparkling wine are preferable in most cases). Fresh strawberries and citrus on the nose of this unique blend (at least for a sparkler). The palate is both fruity and quite fizzy with just a hint of sweetness (again, no indication as to the sugar content or dosage). A fun wine (bubbles makes just about anything better) that is not overly complicated. But over thirty bucks for an infused wine? Very Good. 88 Points.
The next two wines are both sparklers, both made in the traditional method. One from what is becoming one of my favorite California producers and the other from a tiny place called Champagne, in France. You may have heard of it?
NV Lanson Champagne Le Rosé Brut, France: Retail $70. 53% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier. 7% still red wine (from Bouzy and Les Riceys) is added for the rich salmon color. The French really do not celebrate Valentine’s Day (Saint Valentin), certainly no where near the extent as Americans, but the Champenois (the lovely people from Champagne) embrace the “holiday” which is why I received this bottle to review. Lovely red berry fruit, minerality, and some yeastiness on the nose of what is, I believe, the top champagne in France. Fruity, tart, and a bit yeasty on the palate as well, with an intense, fervent sparkle. I drink a ton of champagne, much of it rosé, and this is a particularly compelling iteration. Excellent. 91 Points.
2019 Sosie “Bare Necessity” Sparkling Rosé, Bennett Valley, CA: Retail $36. 100% Syrah. Close to a bubblegum pink in the glass with some salmon notes glistening through, the nose sings fresh strawberry and melon with a slight mineral note. The palate starts with a vibrant sparkle and some initial tartness followed by a healthy wave of fruit. The dosage seems to be a bit on the high side for me (although I could not locate the information anywhere online), thus it comes off as a tad (but really barely even noticeable) sweet, but I nitpick. This is really a fantastic wine. I am a fan. Excellent. 90 Points.