Friday, July 17, 2015

Brosé: The French, The Oregonian, and the Washingtonian

There's a side of me that almost gave a second thought about adding "Brosé" to the title of this blog, but I think it needs to be addressed. The new, yet hopefully short trend in the USA is the name, Brosé.  Somehow, somewhere, someone gave "permission" to the male wine consumer that it was okay to drink that pretty pink wine, but only if it is referred to as "Brosé." 

Nonsense! Tell that to many generations of men in Provence who have been sipping on the Bandols and Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence during a game of pétanque. Tell that silly term to the men of the Loire Valley who sips on a glass of Reuilly or the pink Chinons. Oh, and I dare you to discount Rosé Champagne: the queen of Rosé. 

A few moons ago, I was working as a part-time tasting room attendant and we introduced one of the very first Rosés in the Walla Walla Valley. It was a tough sale at first, and especially to the men-folk.  Once we convinced them to taste this luscious bright Syrah Rosé, they were sold - - especially when you gave them food pairing ideas, such as: grilled seafood, croque-monsieur (grilled ham and cheese sandwich), smoked sausages, and poultry.  

How did we convince our male customers to take their first sip of this Rosé? We slipped in a few special words, "Produced by a French winemaker ... just like they do in France ... He produced it ... just like they do in France ... dry and crisp ... just like those wines of France ..." 

French or France was the key to this game of sales, yet the new Rosé lover went home with a treasure, and some wine education.

There are days I need to go in hiding. There are times I get so busy with writing or home projects, I forget the time, the month, and finally realize I haven't even left the county. Just this April was one of those times when it occurred to me I hadn't left since I started my book project - over a year ago. It was time to pack my bags and go.  There's a tiny little cabin I am rather fond of at Wallowa Lake, Oregon where I like to hide. So, I packed many books, enough food for 3-4 days and most important, three bottles of some of my favorite Rosés - - from France, Oregon, and Washington. 

Domaine St. Aix, "AIX" Rosé (Coteaux d'Aix en Provence), 2014 -  This 130 year old winery, located in the south of France, has produced a very pale pink wine, almost clear. The aroma in the glass is ripe of fresh thyme and berries. It's a traditional blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah.  It is delicate in taste, but the Herbs of Provence still shine through with crisp acids, and fruits of raspberries, cherries, vanilla, and a hint of mineral in the finish. 

Stoller Family Estate Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir Rosé, 2014 - this Rosé first caught my attention almost eight years ago and I have been seeking it out ever since. It always makes an appearance in my wine refrigerator. The color-palette is a little richer shade of pink. The nose is of watermelon and rose petals. The palate brings forth more watermelon and raspberries, making it thirst quenching with it's bright acids. I've actually had a couple of occasions to sip this pretty wine in the Stoller Estate Vineyards during the hot month of August. Again, it just quenched my thirst, as well as adding to the romance of a vineyard.  

Maison Bleue Winery "Lisette" Rosé of Grenache, 2014 - I've been drinking this Rosé, since I have been aware of the existence of Washington State winemaker and Maison Bleue owner, Jon Meuret and his elegant Rhone-style wines. Raspberries and flowers reach the nose of this lovely pale peach-colored wine. Strawberries, plums, and spice, with a reminder - just a reminder of mineral in the finish. This wine is intricate, yet elegant, but still perfect for laid back porch sippin' and very special when paired with light summer meals. 

If you can hang onto these great Rosés long enough, I would even recommend the Stoller and Maison Bleue Rosés especially to pair with a Thanksgiving turkey. Maybe I will take a couple bottles back to the mountains this fall. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Stop Dissecting the Wine Blogger: The Mystique in the Locker Room

I've been sitting on this blog for a few days now. Every year now, for almost 10 years, I write one with similar content, while I ponder, "Should I post or ..."  You disagree? Go write your own wine blog, but at least I got your attention with the locker room title. 

Picture this ...

A steamy locker room filled with male wine aficionados. There are magazine clippings with bottles of Château d'Yquem and Châteauneuf-du-Pape taped on the doors of their lockers with color crayoned labels marked, "My Dream Wine." These wine lovers, as they are drying themselves off, mindlessly yet habitually burping and adjusting their  - - junk - - you know, their 14kt gold tastevins around their necks - - anyways - - they start getting frisky, while slapping each other with their wet limp towels, chirping, 

"You're the best wine know-it-all - - ever!" (slap) While another sings back, "No, you are!" (slap) "No!  YOU are!" 

"I love ya man and to prove it, let me buy ya a glass of Brosé. "Yo dude. Brosé? But only if we can smoke cigars while drinking that pink stuff."  

At least this is my visual to amuse me, and to keep me from crying like a girl. However, I believe there are a few other women wine writers who join me in my perspective.  We all know the routine. Once a year there will be, ironically, a male wine blogger, or perhaps even a winemaker, a wine critic, of some sorts, who will thump their chest and rattle a few cages giving the impression that all wine bloggers should be spit upon. "Patooey!" They will pontificate about wine bloggers pontificating. Their fellow readers will make it worse by yammering on about how wine bloggers "don't know what they are talking about," and how "wine bloggers should stop arguing the point system." (Yeah, actually they should stop.) Many critics will assume and parrot-speak the usual "wine bloggers have never sold a bottle of wine, wine bloggers don't understand social media, and if they did; why aren't they writing for a respectable paper rag ... blah blah" - -  and it continues. 

Some wine bloggers will fire back, but mostly male. There will be one or two women who will engage (When will I ever learn?), but often we will go ignored as there are too many big shiny belt buckles jostling and making noises to be heard. It's been my experience that many of my male wine peers will repeat what I had previously stated, but the male wine aficionado will be the one who is heard and addressed. ("Slap," goes the towel.) 

Wine bloggers will get called names and generalized. I've heard it all. A spokesperson from Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate referred to us as "blobbers," Then later came Anthony Dias Blue of the Tasting Panel magazine who referred to us as "bitter carping gadflies." Supposedly one of our own, or I think he is one of "us" as he uses the old and outdated Blogspot format, The Hosemaster, referred to wine bloggers as "attention seeking barking lonely poodles." Did he coin us that as a way for him to  - - well - - seek attention? Bark. Bark.

Just last week, a wine journalist, author, blogger, and a man who I happen to enjoy his forthright political leanings, as well as adore his photos and love for his dog; lashed out about wine bloggers. Ironically, the subject was for bloggers to stop with the insults, while he insulted - - yup, you got it, a whole group of wine bloggers.  He focused on sexism, ageism, and there was a lecture to stop picking on "old white wine guys." With that said, how about us stopping with the "blogism?" Blogism = stereotyping wine bloggers. 

Oh, and of course, I bit. (When will I ever learn?)  I was one of the few women who commented. Why did I engage? Because I fit into all of the categories of these prejudices such as ageism, sexism, and "blogism." I am an old white woman wine blogger! 
Hell, even at the last wine bloggers conference I attended, three young women assumed I was a mother of a wine blogger waiting for her kid to get out of one of the break-out sessions.  

Now in this discussion of  sexism was the focus of women winemakers, but it's all supposedly good now. (Oh lookie! See? There are too women winemakers now getting a few accolades, and surprisingly they make a pretty decent bottle of wine. How cute is that - a magazine article on "Women Winemakers.") Of course, in my commentary I pointed out there is still sexism, especially since there is a limited amount of women wine writers in national wine print (When will I ever learn?). Sure enough, once again Thomas Matthews, Executive Editor of the Wine Spectator, reminded me for the second time about Dina Nigro, Senior Editor. (When will I ever learn?) And yes, Tom. The next time you are in my 'hood, let's cross paths.

My point? I am really getting tired of the stereotyping and name calling of wine bloggers - aka "blogism." It's not fashionable, anymore. It's getting boring. And I believe I have heard it all in my last 10 years doing this gig. This hissy-fit of the fittest and generalization of all wine bloggers happens at least once a year. 

Stop with the dissecting of the wine blogger. 

In the last ten years, unfortunately I have read much commentary from overstuffed wine "aficionados" who buy into these articles and will create a bigger pile-on criticizing bloggers stating "Wine bloggers will never have the credentials ... knowledge ... blah, blah, and blah." Well, in the last ten years most of the wine bloggers I know, and especially those who have been blogging for awhile, have the credentials and the knowledge. The majority of the wine bloggers who started around the same time I did, and even a few years later, are very accomplished. There's a new group of wine bloggers who are typing up clean, yet colorfully visual wine blogs filled with wine buying approaches for the new wine consumers. Among the bloggers are published wine writers and authors, as well as speakers, marketing directors, judges, and travel wine writers - - and well, even bloggers who just love wine and want to share the love. Needless to say, I am quite proud to be a wine blogger, no matter the critics who jump on the "Hate Wine Bloggers" parade float.  

Sure. In this blog post I am guilty as can be for making generalizations of wine aficionados, especially the locker room scene and the jostling of big belt buckles. My generalizations are based after the same scenarios we see play out every year.  However, I should not assume, as no doubt there are a few of those male critics of wine bloggers who also wear suspenders along with their belts and teeny tarnished belt buckles. And the shower scene? Once again, I should not assume as not all of the male wine lovers in the shower are talking about Rosé, but discussing the point system - - after all. 

Oh what the hell - - let's hit the "publish" button!  

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