April’s Wine Club

wine-beer-store-phoenix-april-wine-club-brian-benson-cellarsApril’s Wine Club Selections Are Here!

This month’s club sees an interesting blend of Old World meets New World showcased by an up-and-coming New World cult producer and a historically rich producer sourcing from and up and coming AOC. Confused yet?

Let’s start with this: it’s Rosé season. Technically, Phoenix offers us year round Rosé season. And, thankfully, the wine culture in the West has finally come to realize that a good Rosé is as refined as it is refreshing – and not a sweet wine with the initials WZ. To further drive home the idea of “season,” the 2015 Rosés from the Northern Hemisphere have been arriving by the caseload recently. Arizona, California, France, Oregon, and Spain have all been releasing their 2015 Rosés. Much of what we’ve tasted so far has been very intriguing!

So what is Rosé? Rosé is (should be) a dry wine. And to keep things fun and easy, we’ll point out that it’s basically made up of red varietals (our favorite Rosé grape is Grenache). As the selected grapes are harvested and brought to the crush pad, they go through one of a few different methods to draw the winemaker’s desired amount of pigment from the skins. That desired amount of pigment, and method in which it is drawn out, produces a Rosé from grapes that would typically produce red or purple wines.

A couple of terms that you should pay attention to when talking about Rosé: maceration and saignee. Both are methods of making and imparting the beautiful Rosé color that you should look for, and both methods are used to produce what is considered premium Rosé. A key component is that both methods desire a “dry” style of wine. We’ll leave it at that since we’re keeping this light and fun… But if you want to completely geek out on Rosé, stop in at the shop to discuss!

Rosé should be paired with a lighter dish, spicy dish, friend, sunset, patio, or day that ends in “y”. And it should probably be consumed within three years of its vintage year. The areas producing the best Rosés (in our opinion) are France (Provence, Languedoc), Spain (Rioja), Lebanon (yep, we said Lebanon), and California (SoCal).

And our wine club selections this month are:

Chapoutier Bila Haut Rosé
This selection comes from the esteemed producer/négociant Michel Chapoutier (pronounced shuh-poo-tee-ay). The Chapoutier family has been producing wine for centuries. Michel and his brother took the family business from the confines of the Rhône Valley and expanded into other parts of France, Portugal, Australia, and the US. In the process, they’ve certainly made their mark in the world of quality wine, experience, and opportunity. This particular selection is a blend of 55% Grenache and 45% Syrah from the Languedoc, France. The method of production is maceration, which pulls the gorgeous hue you’ll find in this wine. It delivers a unique point of minerality and freshness. Enjoy!

Brian Benson Cellars Kandy Red
Ummmmm…what just happened here? Let us tell you. We just got you another selection that was not previously available in AZ. Not only that, but Brian Benson, the winemaker, is considered a “cult” producer in Paso Robles, CA. Why? He doesn’t make a ton of wine and what he makes is not broadly distributed…and everything he makes is pretty freaking fun. Brian made his first wine at the age of 12, and began selling his wine commercially when he was just 19. He cut his teeth in the wine biz after his family purchased some land on the west side of Paso Robles in the 1990s. They became grower-producers in an up-and-coming wine region at just the right moment. We had the honor of purchasing some of Brian’s wine 10 years ago when he was just starting out in the commercial side of the business. He had a tasting room built off the back of his father’s tasting room. It was very basic and simple – a tasting cave, if you will. We tasted a few of his selections and were left wondering when this guy was going to blow up in popularity. We bought three bottles that day and wished we had purchased more. It’s always impactful when you come across personalities in the wine industry that are not afraid to express themselves through the wine they make. To break the mold of “what a wine should be” as compared to “how a wine can express itself” is what Brian has championed. Kandy Red is a blend of Grenache and Zinfandel (or Primitivo if you’re feeling Italian). Enjoy this selection and keep your eye out in the shop for some additional limited release selections from Brian. Rapid Roy, Tryst, and Neopolitan Pussycat will be showing up soon and in limited quantities!

Cheers, and see you soon!

Danielle & Craig