Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ben's Blush: J Vineyards & Winery Brut Rosé

A little less than four years ago, I started a weekly review of a sparkling wine to celebrate the birth our son, Ben. I called the regular feature Ben's Bubbly. Both my wife and I enjoyed regularly drinking a bottle of bubbly; it is something that is too often restricted to only celebratory occasions a few times a year. Sparkling wine is something that should be enjoyed much more often. Plus, the weekly review provided easy material for this blog.

Well, it has been several years since I concluded the series (a tasty blanc de blancs from Doyard) and my wife and I miss the weekly exploration of a specific, and under-appreciated style of wine. So, today I announce Ben's Blush. Pink wine is the red-headed step child of the wine world. It is often dismissed as sweet and uninteresting, and relegated to being openly consumed for a only few short weeks in the spring and summer. Sadly, rosé is ignorantly considered by many to be an inferior wine compared to its red and wine siblings. Rosé can be so many things and pair so well with different foods. It more diverse than many people think. So, for the next 52 weeks, I will open a bottle of something blush and report on it (along with a little update on Ben, as was the custom in the first series).
I have had this idea for quite some time and finally figured that the New Year would be the perfect time to begin Ben's Blush. I mean, who is drinking pink wine two weeks after the winter solstice? At this time of the year, rosé wine is usually still just an idea of something to be drunk when the weather warms in few months. My wife and I had been ill for all of last week, and that is not a fun way to spend the last half of winter break. Especially with a fully healthy 3 1/2-year old. Ben had been a good sport while mom and dad were less than cheerful. It is amazing how self-sufficient a 3-yr old can be when he needs to be. He probably had more screen time and less bath time than normal, but he was a trooper with getting himself dressed (uh, a few days he spent in his pajamas) and entertained. The hardest part of last week was that it was cold and Ben was basically a caged greyhound. Three-year olds need to burn energy and we did not feel up to taking him outside to play nearly as often as we should have. It's a good thing he's back at day care this week and has the help of his friends to burn off all that pent-up energy.

J Brut Rosé
When we finally started to feel better, we decided that we ought to open a bottle to celebrate our return to humanity. The bottle of J Vineyards & Winery Brut Rosé on the shelf was calling our names. We didn't have any bubbly on New Year's Eve, so this would also double as our ritual bottle of celebratory NYE wine. It was also the perfect wine to start Ben's Blush; it ties the two series together as it is a sparkling rosé. J does an excellent job with their packaging. The color of the wine displayed in the clear bottle identified with a simple, but very noticeable J is sure to catch anyone's eye on the shelf among other bottles (and every time we open a bottle of J, my wife comments on this fact). We have enjoyed this wine a few times in the past, but I honestly have to say this bottle was somewhat disappointing. Sure there were some nice raspberry and strawberry notes, and the acidity was good, but the wine just seemed bitter and hollow. Every sip, from before dinner, with dinner (roast turkey breast), and after dinner on the couch was met with a biting, yet thankfully short finish. Maybe it was just this bottle, or maybe something about this batch is just off. Or maybe our palates weren't back to their normal state. 12.5% abv Sample $38. Average (tasted 1/3/15)

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