Thursday, February 15, 2007

Think Pink -- Pause and Reflect

On February 24, the Noble Circle Project of Dayton will hold their annual "Wear Affair" fashion show luncheon fundraiser. The Noble Circle is a group of breast cancer survivors helping other women with cancer reclaim their health through holistic methods. They have created an incredibly supportive, vibrant community -- a true source of strength and hope.

My Sweet Partner in Crime's sister was diagnosed with breast cancer over three years ago. We have seen her frustration and fears, but we've also seen her hope, laughter, and incredible demonstrations of spiritual and emotional strength. The Noble Circle has been invaluable for she and her other Noble Circle sisters as the treatments continue.

I know very few people who haven't been touched by this disease. According to the Susan Komen foundation, an estimated 178,480 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed among American women in 2007.

In honor of the upcoming event and as a toast to these brave women, I want to celebrate them with pink wines for this installment. I encourage everyone, male and female alike, to learn about this disease and find a way to help. If you're in the Dayton area, explore Noble Circle and consider a contribution, the purchase of some raffle tickets or perhaps a seat at the upcoming fundraiser. Most of all, give your love, prayers, energy, and hope to those around you.

Concha y Toro Frontera 2005 Rosé -- If you're looking for a "starter rosé," this is a wine worth exploring. Frontera is the second label (if there is such a thing) of the already inexpensive Concha y Toro winery in Chile. As I've touched on before, Chile turned itself into a worldwide wine power with inexpensive, decent offerings. While the Frontera reds are probably better avoided, this rosé is actually halfway decent if you're not looking for anything complex. I say it's a good transition wine if you want to move away from white zinfandel. There's a nice berry nose and still some residual sweetness and cherry flavor to the taste -- coupled with a touch of the acidity for which rosés are often known. The finish is short and crisp. I could see this as a summer wine or if you wanted something light to pair with salmon or a salad. $5-6.

Canto Perdrix 2004 Tavel -- Tavel is one of the world's most famous French rosés from the town of the same name in the southern Rhone. The bottles embossed with the town's distinctive "T" shield. Tavel is produced mainly from Grenache. If you're seeking this one out, look for the bottle with the partridge on the label. (Canto Perdrix is "Song of the Partridge.") This is a very dark colored rosé. It could almost pass for a light red (the Sweet Partner in Crime thought I'd put a pinot in the fridge). The Perdrix has a light, easy nose of cranberry and apple. It doesn't have the acidic bite of many rosés -- more of a balance between fruit and tartness. Perdrix is very easy drinking, full of raspberries. Like most Tavels, the finish is fruity, dry, and lingers quite a long time. I'd have this with either a seafood stew or maybe some steamed mussels or clams. A real palate pleaser $13-15.

Bonny Doon 2005 Vin Gris de Cigare -- This is an American version of a "Rhone style" rosé. "Vin Gris" is French for "gray wine" -- one of their names for rosé. As for the "Cigare?" Well, Bonny Doon has long been a winery with a sense of humor. One of the Bonny Doon red wines is called "Le Cigare Volant." In French, the term for unidentified flying object translates literally as "The Flying Cigar." The French town of Chateauneuf-du-Pape passed a city ordinance forbidding UFO's from landing within the town limits. The winemaker, Randall Grahm, has long welcomed UFO's on his property, thus the name of his wine. The basis of his rosé is that wine, blended with white Grenache. This one has a slightly yeasty nose of apples and flowers. Again, an excellent fruit and acid balance, coupled with flavors of berries and honey. Finish is semi-dry, fruity, and lasting. You could have this with a salad niçoise now or pick this up on a summer night and wait for the aliens to come. $11-13.

I also mentioned a couple of other wonderful rosés in an earlier installment: Curtis and Sunstone. I have one additional wine:

Two Brothers 2004 Big Tattoo Red -- Most certainly not pink, but one bearing a mention. The Bartholomaus Brothers started this line of wines as a tribute to their late mother, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2000. Fifty cents from each bottle sold is donated to various hospices and breast cancer research charities in the state of the sale. Big Tattoo is also a very decent wine. This Chilean blend is half cabernet sauvignon and half syrah. The nose is mellow berries and plums. It's a medium bodied, somewhat earthy red with more berries. The tannins lend a bitter dark chocolate flavor to the finish, which is pleasantly strong, round and lasting. While this is a very nice wine to drink on its own in the evening, like many Chilean reds, this goes well with meats, spicy sausages, or red pasta sauces. Two Brothers has expanded their project, creating Big Tattoo White (a blend of German Riesling and Pinot Blanc) and a straight syrah. I haven't tried the latter two, but with price points from $8-11, they're easy pickups.

So lift a glass, take a moment for silent reflection, and appreciate how truly lucky we are to share in this life.

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