Rosé is THE drink of the summer. As we've mentioned before, a good rule of thumb for pairing Rosés with food is to remember "Pink & Provençal". Easy enough since that describes Rosé itself.
Our sales rep Patrick Harney used that advice when he hosted a Rosé Cookout for Bacchus Importers' Maryland Sales Team. Read more from Patrick to learn how and why he came up with the idea, why he thinks Rosé is so popular, and some of his favorite recipes to pair with Rosé.
"Summertime for me means summer camp. I think about how my kids learn in summer camp versus how they learn in school and sometimes I wonder whether the experiential learning they enjoy at camp isn’t more effective than the methods employed by their schools. There’s a lot to be said about making a point experientially. Too often we stand in front of our wholesale sales teams and deliver Powerpoint presentations chock full of features and benefits in hopes that as a result, sales will magically increase. When Beth Kostelnik (my then Brand Manager at Bacchus) told me I should have a rosé dinner and take lots of pictures and put them on social media, I thought what a terrific idea that was...even though I am seriously social media challenged. I later decided to expand on that idea and make the sales team at Bacchus a Rosé-centric lunch. I thought the team could benefit from how wonderfully Rosé works with Provence-inspired dishes and thus be able to share the experience with their retail and restaurant customers.
The dishes were all adaptations from Richard Olney’s Provence cookbook--a really terrific book full of pictures and easy to follow recipes. I did most of the prep at home on Thursday evening. On Friday, grilling commenced out near the loading dock while the sales team went into their meeting. Once done, everything was set up buffet style in the kitchen, the sales team served themselves and we shared lunch together back in the sales room. I started the discussion by sharing some of the latest IRI data clearly showing the incredible growth of both the Rosé category and many Vineyard Brands’ Rosés in particular. After tossing some numbers around I explained why I chose the dishes to be served and the geographic and cultural ties that Rosé had to Provençal cuisine. The discussion turned to more of roundtable forum discussing favorite Rosés and specific food pairings. We, of course, talked a lot about food…who, in our business, doesn’t love to eat? We came around to how casually but effectively Rosé is able to pair with all kinds of food in general and how maybe that’s the real reason behind the incredible growth of this type of wine.
Many years ago, I attended an organized Pinot Gris and white varietals tasting conducted by Erath of Oregon. The tasting used various samples of food to illustrate the versatility of Pinot Gris, how it is able to pair with cheese, vegetables, protein, etc. It was very well done and their point was effectively made. I recall at the time thinking that this was perhaps the reason behind the baffling rise in the popularity of Pinot Grigio. Certainly the tastes and preferences of wine consumers always seem to be downright mysterious and I think many of us professionals tend to underestimate them. I think the rise of Rosé and the continued success of Pinot Grigio show that consumers embrace wines which are fresh and easily approachable yet show a refined ability to pair well with many different types of food. While we can talk forever as to what works and why in our business, sometimes the best way to understand it is by sharing in the experience. I think that’s what was accomplished at the Rosé Cookout. Beyond that, the rosé cookout was a great way to really connect with the Bacchus team. Sales reps are used to having suppliers buy them lunch, so they are more deeply touched when the supplier actually makes them lunch. They appreciate the extra effort and care which comes with doing more than merely whipping out a credit card."
Grilled Country Bread with Anchovy Oil
Grilled Tuna Steaks with Tomato and Persillade
Grilled Chicken with Olive Tapenade
Rosemary-ed Baby Spring Potatoes
It’s hard to imagine a more romantic setting than rolling hills, medieval villages, and rich vineyards.
Located in northern Spain, Rioja is an easy driving distance from popular cities like Madrid, Bilbao, and San Sebastian.
The Rioja region is one of the greatest wine growing areas in the world. But don't be confused, non-Spanish speakers! Although at first glance “rioja” looks similar to the Spanish word for red- rojo- the region produces a variety of wines including whites, reds, and even rosés.
The region has been producing wines for over 200 years, but still isn’t as well known to many consumers as other regions. So if you’re more familiar with French wine than Spanish, the Rioja region is often compared to the Bordeaux region of France. High quality wines at a variety of taste and price points abound.
Rioja has the most acreage under vines of any wine region in the world- over 140,000 acres of vines yielding 250 million liters of wine annually.
There are over 500 wineries in the region—ranging from small, more traditional cellars to large commercial producers.
If Rachel’s quest for love has led you on a quest for love of your own, let us introduce you to a winery sure to win your heart (and your tastebuds)-Marqués de Cáceres. The story of this winery is practically made for TV (just like the Bachelorette).
The Forner family fled Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Finding refuge in France, Henri Forner and his brother Elysée bought and restored two antiquated and abandoned châteaux. These two châteaux are now recognized as two of the finest properties in Bordeaux.
Once returning to Spain, Henri decided to establish a bodega of his own in Cenicero, in Rioja Alta. In gently rolling hills and bordered by the Ebro River, Marqués de Cáceres is the perfect setting for a storybook romance…is it really any surprise the Bachelorette chose Rioja?
Drawing on his experiences in Bordeaux, Henri Forner introduced the estate-bottling used in Bordeaux—limiting his source of grapes to those in the immediate area. French winemaking techniques and expertise have been applied to native Spanish grapes, producing one of the finest modern Riojas.
Marqués de Cáceres has stayed in the Forner family ever since. Henri’s daughter Cristina is at the helm and leading the winery to new heights and acclaim.
Curious to try the wine for yourself?
Pick up a bottle and fall in love. Will you accept this rioja? We know we do!
Hamilton-Russell wines are widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the finest in the New World. But their impact stretches far beyond the wine industry.
Wine has the ability to bring people together over a meal or an aperitif, during happy hour or an after-dinner drink, but at Hamilton-Russell vineyards it also has the ability to bring the community together. Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Pre-School is located on the grounds of the Hamilton-Russell. Education is vital to progress, something of which Anthony Hamilton Russell was keenly aware.
Originally a daycare for the farmworker's children, the school has grown and advanced to be an Early Childhood Development Center for the community. We are so proud to work with Hamilton-Russell for their outstanding wines and their extraordinary commitment to making a difference.
"We arrive at Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Pre-School and a flurry of activity greets us, as we walk through the door. Kids look up, smiling from their desks, but not for too long... they are busy with colourful drawings that clearly require concentration and effort, which they don’t just give up for anybody! Outside, the lawn is a brilliant green, as the sun peers down into this gentle valley.
This neatly maintained building, on the grounds of Hamilton Russell Vineyards, has been a massive stepping stone for many a youngster from the communities nearby, we are told. Little Eli even took his very first steps here, after joining from Volmoed Farm when he was just eleven months old.
The school is run by 4 ambitious teachers - Elzinda, Mendine, Ashlin and Emmie, all locals, as well as Zelda; a cleaning, cooking jill-of-all-trades. We are told that each of the adults have made lifelong friendships here, and it’s clearly the same for the kids. Showan and Jody are a legendary pair who found each other on the swings one day. One likes to think this bond will last long into their school careers.
The school was first built by Anthony Hamilton Russell, in 1996, as a daycare for the farm employees’ children. In 2013, the teachers decided to upgrade the facility, to an Early Childhood Development Centre. This meant the children were not only safe while their parents worked, but also able to learn valuable skills. The school quickly grew from 20 students to 48, who came from many nearby Hemel-en-Aarde and Zwelihle communities. We are quickly reassured though, regardless of what the future brings, that there will always a place for local-living kids, like twins Showan and Shannice.
Children who receive a quality-level of early childhood development have a much better chance of becoming constructive members of society. The years that these Hemel-en-Aarde kids spend talking, drawing, counting and playing in this classroom, will have an impact that lasts long beyond the here and now. Recently, four classrooms, three bathrooms, an office and an impressive industrial kitchen were built. This upgrade means the kids can now receive a homemade vitamin-rich breakfast and, when lunchtime rolls around, Zelda is their rockstar. Her special nutrition programme is monitored by Ukwanda, the Division of Human Nutrition from the University of Stellenbosch. She serves her little squadron hearty portions of meat and vegetables and, in return, we are amazed to see the kids come back for seconds just minutes after their first round!
As the afternoon wears on, it is pleasantly surprising to see toddlers sit unattended at the school’s Leapfrog Computers. They are completely captivated by the digital world and their still silence has us in awe. As a policy, all of the school’s students become computer literate from a very early age, thus arming them with real-world life skills before they are five! It’s no surprise their headteacher, Elzinda, makes a big fuss when her kids graduate and leave for big school. Sam and Renfred, graduated last year. Apparently, these chuckle brothers were a tight team throughout their pre-school career!
The dream, at Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Pre-School, is to make their small campus more green and self-sufficient. There are further plans down the line for a food tunnel, to grow the school’s own vegetables, as well as a chicken coop. With more funding from the community, they are hoping to take on a previously-unemployed person, to create a vegetable garden in which the children can develop their own green thumbs. Meanwhile, within the school’s walls, they plan to funnel any further investment towards new software for their Leapfrog computers. One can only imagine the well-rounded characters this institution is going to develop in future. We hope and trust that all the help this school needs will come their way!"
- The grape can trace its history in French winemaking to the 9th century. In its early days in France, the grape was mainly used to make sweet sparkling and dessert wines.
- Now the grape is best-known for Southern African wines. Its history on that continent goes back to 1655, when it was first planted by the father of the South African nation—Jan Van Riebeeck.
- Like in France, the grape was originally used to make a different beverage than what it is now known for. Chenin Blanc grapes were used in South Africa’s booming brandy production.
- When the South African wine industry truly began to grow and gain acclaim, the country was looking for a signature varietal. Enter Chenin Blanc.
- With some experimentation, South African winemakers were able to create a wine very different from sweet dessert wines or brandy. The Chenin Blanc you most often drink is a result of this South African experimentation. Similar to Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc is zesty, crisp, and dry.
Looking to try a South African Chenin Blanc? We have recommendations for you.
MAN Family Wines Chenin Blanc- a crisp, expressive, medium-bodied wine with vibrant aromas of quince and tropical fruit. ON the palate, fresh stone fruit and apple flavors are backed by refreshing acidity and mineralogy. Pairs well with poultry, shellfish, and vegetable dishes.
ESSAY Chenin Blanc- a medium-bodied white blend with fruit salad, guava, and melon aromas and a refreshing mineral-acidity. Pairs well with a wide range of foods, especially sushi, oysters, Asian curries, sweet-and-sour dishes, and summer salads.
Reyneke Chenin Blanc - a bright straw hue with a lovely bouquet of fresh limes and citrus peel followed through by fruit sorbet floral undertones.
Tormentoso Chenin Blanc- intense aromas of apricots and canned white peaches with touches of coconut milk and vanilla from the oak. The palate is packed with ripe yellow fruit, apple core and quince flavors, with blanched refreshing acidity and tangy finish.
We also have two great French Chenin Blanc recommendations for you.
Pichot Le Peu de la Moriette Vouvray- well-balanced and crisp with distinct notes of pear, lemon, pineapple and honey (Restaurant Wine). Creamed pear, ginger and quince flavors...refreshing and focused (Wine Spectator).
Pichot Coteau de la Biche Vouvray Sec- dry and racy with a fresh quinine streak, but there's a succulent edge too, as fig and pear fruit fill out through the finish, where a lovely green almond note hangs on (Wine Spectator).
Warmer weather and longer days call for picnics, late nights on the porch, and time spent with friends. International Sauvignon Blanc Day was last week and we were inspired to pair some snacks and sauv blancs perfect for slow afternoons and breezy nights.
Wine and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly. For our first snack and sauv blanc pairing, Sauvignon Blancs pair brilliantly withsofter cheeses—goat’s milk, yogurt, crème fraiche. Beloved Green's Radish and Crème Fraîche crostini are a simple, light snack that look lovely on a plate.
Sauvignon Blancs are often described as “herbaceous” or “vegetal” so it makes sense that they would pair nicely with vegetarian dishes. Try pairing the Sauv Blanc with dishes that allow a little more of the wine’s acidity to shine through. This green goddess hummus from Cookie and Kate is a flavorful twist on the classic snack.
Like we mentioned, Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with vegetables and pairs well with cheeses. No surprise, it pairs well with vegetable AND cheese dishes. These Asparagus and Goat Cheese Mini Quiches from Southern Living are wonderful for brunch (who says bloody marys and mimosas are the only brunch beverages?) and store well.
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most versatile white wines available. Perfect for the warmer weather, the variety of Sauvignon Blancs on the market-- Old World and New World-- mean you have plenty of options.
- Sauvignon Blanc is the world’s 8th most planted wine grape.
- No surprise, the grape hails from France. There the wine often takes its name from the region, not the varietal. Sancerre—not Sauvignon Blanc. So when you’re drinking a Sancerre, know it is from the same grape as a Sauvignon Blanc.
- Originally the grape was used in other blends, usually to make sweeter desert wines. In the 20th century Sancerre found popularity in Parisian bars and bistros and the success spread around the globe.
- New Zealand is now one of the most well-known and well-loved producers of Sauvignon Blanc. 90% of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are from Marlborough, the wine region on the northernmost end of the island.
- If you read our blog on Malbec World Day, you’ll remember a nasty little bug called phylloxera that destroyed most of the French Malbec vines. The Sauvignon Blanc vines in New Zealand are all planted phylloxera-resistant rootstock. So take heart, your favorite Sauv Blanc most likely won’t suffer the fate of French Malbecs of old.
- France and New Zealand aren’t the only two countries providing the world with the easy-drinking wine. Italy, Chile, and South Africa are also major producers. (L to R: MAN, South Africa; Reyneke, South Africa; Gradis'ciutta, Italy; Cono Sur Chile)
- French Sancerre (also known as Pouilly Fumé and occasionally Sauvignon Blanc) are typically full of mineral and citrus flavors. ⬇️
- South African Sauvignon Blancs have balanced flavors with a light-medium body and acidity, in between mineral and herbaceous. ⬇️
- Chilean Sauvignon Blancs are marked by their citrus and green flavors and juicy high acidity. ⬇️
- New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs have intense tropical green flavors, a nice mix of fruity and herbaceous. ⬇️
- Italian Sauvignon Blancs, also “Old World” like French Sancerres, have a medium body with stone fruit, floral fragrances. ⬇️
- Whatever your preference, you can find just the Sauvignon Blanc for your taste. This is a wine easily enjoyed with or without food.