French #RoseAllDay with Grilled Cheese Gourmet for #Winophiles

I don’t know about you, but this has certainly been a summer for #ROSEALLDAY around here!

  1. We’ve had a massive heat wave in SoCal– rose is cool and refreshing.
  2. We’ve loved rose with so many foods because both “white wine foods” and red wine foods” can go with it.
  3. We’ve been buying up every rose we find.
  4. We’ve received samples of rose from France and other parts of the globe.
  5. In June for Rose Day, we wrote about six from California– lots of great info about rose in this post!
  6. Also in June for International Rose Day, we wrote about four from Provence, France paired with seafood pasta.
  7. Early in July, we wrote about Chiaretto, a rose from northern Italy paired with gourmet mini-pizzas.
  8. Today we’re writing about four more Rose from various regions in France.
  9. Believe it or not, there’s another Rose Day scheduled for August 14! We have more rose from Spain, Italy, and South Africa for that day!

As we’ve discussed before, there is no one “rose” grape — even in France! In the north in Alsace, you’ll find sparkling rose wines made from Pinot Noir and in Provence, you’ll find it made from Grenache.

But it seems that winemakers can and will make rose from any red grape. The three methods to make rose are:

  1. By Saignee: where the extra free run juice from a red wine is made into rose
  2. By Intention: where red wines grapes are grown, picked, and pressed, then the juice is allowed minimal skin to only have a hint of color
  3. By blending: where white wine has a little red blended in

Originally, I proposed to Sue that we pair these four wines from France for this month’s Winophiles hosted by Lauren of The Swirling Dervish with a traditional French gourmet grilled cheese. We made croquet monsieur and croquet madams last year paired with affordable French wines and they were SO GOOD! I had all of the ingredients to make them too.

But these gourmet grilled cheese using a range of ingredients are so much fun and so versatile allowing us to explore and discuss different flavors with the wines. The gourmet grilled cheese are great for informal summer gatherings whether for brunch, lunch, or dinner and as a main course paired with soup and/or salad or as a side or an appetizer — making them as versatile as rose!

In the end, that’s the direction we went: gourmet grilled cheese. Just like the mini-pizzas we love to make and pair with wine, these are best when you taste the wines and then let your imagination range to find your own delightful combinations. Be sure to butter both sides of the bread! And top the grilled cheese off with a sprinkling of salt — or if you have some, fennel pollen!


Strawberry salad with field greens, feta, and spicy pecans with a raspberry vinaigrette
Various gourmet grilled cheese bites including:

  • Ham and Havarti on whole grain bread
  • Apple/gorgonzola on sourdough
  • Smoked jarlsberg on whole grain bread
  • Salami/iberico on sourdough bread

Bread was spread with an olive oil butter combo prior to grilling, It also went well with the smoked jarlsburg grilled cheese.  1:1 ratio. Place on a screaming hot grill, and turn down.

NOTE: I AM DOING MY FINAL EDIT ON A PLANE FLYING TO EUROPE! And while I paid for T-Mobile service on the plane, It can’t seem to upload photos even though I reduced their size. I will add them ASAP!


Lucien Albrecht – Cremante D’ Alsace – Brut Rose – 12% alcohol SRP under $20
purchased on sale at Vons

For an under $20 bottle of sparkling wine, this Rose of Pinot noir is reliably brilliant and a party favorite.

Color: Palest salmon

Nose: Almonds, spice, rhubarb

Palate: Strawberry, brioche, nuttiness, lovely small bubbles. light minerality, Great value, great wine for the price.

Pairing: This wine is wonderful on its own, but you are not compelled to go to food when sipping, it does just fine on its own. Fantastic with our ham and havarti, fabulous with the strawberries in our arugula salad. would be a lovely brunch wine. compliments fresh greens, fresh berries, cheeses, smoked meats, and egg dishes. At the end of the evening we had a bit of this wine with a lemon zucchini crumble bar — yum!

2015 – Bandol Les Baumes 14% alcohol SRP around $10
purchased on sale at Vons

68% mourvedre 22% grenache 10% cinsualt

Color: Salmon, almost mango.

Nose: Nougat, like divinity, with the egg white, sugar and walnut, like an Italian nougat candy.

Palate: Past its prime. Drink this fresh and young. The 2014 we opened last month wasn’t worth drinking and the 2015 is only passable now in 2018. Lots of herbs, with the bitterness of anise, it is not a flawed wine, it just has a harshness that the others we were sampling did not have. I ended up pouring half of it in the compost.

Pairing: After tasting this Sue wanted to pair this wine with a bit of white fish wrapped in parchment paper with lemon, sliced fennel bulb and baked. possibly fish tacos; it needs a mild white fish that is cooked mildly. Sue found that she was not driven to try this wine with the food we had prepared this evening, but imagined it with other cuisine.

I purchased maybe six bottles of this wine sometime ago and drank all but this one some. They were fine then, not so great now; this wine, like most rose, is built for early easy drinking.

2017 – Bila-Haut M. Chapoutier Biodynamic – 12.5% alcohol SRP Around $15
sample — thank you!

Color: Bright, pretty pink.

Nose: Very vibrant. watermelon, strawberry, cherry, more fruit than floral. apple or stone fruit blossom, spice like nutmeg, or cinnamon, carnation.

Palate: Rainer cherries, wet river rock, salinity on the finish, wonderful on its own but definitely invites you to pair with food.

Pairing: Good with the arugula strawberry salad, it loves the strawberries, Sue: ” I could definitely do this for dessert, a bit of this wine with a bowl of fresh sliced strawberries.”

2015 – Gerard Bertrand – Cote des Roses – 14.0% alcohol
bought on sale at Vons

Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre

Beautiful bottle that does not stand up so well, it feels tippy, and it did fall over and spill during our photo shoot tonight. With a name like Cote des Roses,  we decided to sample it but we found this wine to be a tasty but odd bird in our line-up tonight.

Color: Deep dark, yet bright ruby red, the light bounces off of it but it is not translucent..

Nose: Smells like a red wine rather than a rose, smells like a beaujouleau, lots of plum, jackfruit, lemon verbena, lemon eucalyptus. Many layers of notes in this wine including tropical, baking spices, herbaciousness including a sagey herbal kind of a thing going on.

Palate: Peppery, cherries, nondescript, it shines with food, it needs food to sing and be enjoyed.

The nose is much more complex than the palate. Having said that, this is not a cocktail wine, but a food wine. It’s not harsh, acrid , bland, nor is it poorly made, we just did not find any characteristics that stood out….., but with food this wine is quite the opera star!

Pairing: Favorite pairing for this wine was salami and iberrico on sourdough. I  was not excited about this wine until this pairing. There is a dryness with the ibericco and the lovely rose salami went perfectly with this wine, this wine needs acidity to balance out the fruitiness. This wine was the only wine that went perfectly with our gorgonzola, apple grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough bread. This combo was perfection, Syrah and blue cheese work together usually and this was not exception. Nice combo with our salad tonight. This is a picnic fare wine great with an Italian sub sandwich, and some pasta salad,

Important lesson with these wines, drink when fresh, these are not typically wines designed for the cellar.

Our unexpected surprise at the end of the evening was how much we loved the Albrect sparkling with some zucchini dessert dishes that Sue prepared, not necessarily because she thought they would go well with the wine, but because she has an abundance of zucchini. The best was the Albrect with zucchini, pistachio, muffins, again leading us to believe that this is the perfect brunch wine.

Check out the French Winophiles twitter chat Sat. 8am Pacific by searching for the hashtag #Winophiles and check out the wines we tasted by clicking on the links below!

Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles shares her vision of Côtes de Provence through Rosé Filled Glasses.

Mardi from Eat Live Travel Write goes From Rosé? No Way! To # RoséAllDay.

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares Warm Weather Rosé and Cheese Pairings.

Michelle from Rockin’ Red Blog will be Celebrating the Provençal Lifestyle with Three Rosés.

Lynn from Savor the Harvest cues up Obscure French Rosé to Look for Today.

Gwendolyn from Wine Predator prepares # RoséAllDay with Grilled Cheese Gourmet for #Winophiles.

Nicole from Somm’s Table adds Cooking to the Wine: Ultimate Provence Urban Rosé with Herbed Sous-Vide Chicken Breasts and Roasted Eggplant Sheet Pan.

Jane from Always Ravenous offers up a Summer Cheese Board with Rosé.

David from Cooking Chat says it’s Always a Good Time to Sip Provence Rosé.

Jill from L’Occasion explains Why Rosé Matters, According to French Culture.

Liz from What’s In That Bottle advises us to Live a More Rosé Life.

Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog discusses The Pleasures of Provençal Rosé #Winophiles.

Payal from Keep the Peas will share Rosé: Wine before the Age of Extended Maceration.

Julia from talks about Rosé: Not from Provence but Just as Delicious!

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm tempts us with Soupe au Pistou Paired with Rosé.

Host Lauren from The Swirling Dervish, is Celebrating Our New Home with an Old Friend: Rosé from Provence.

Under the Radar Regions: Ventura County says Ghost Wineries Be Gone!

a selection of wines from grapes grown in Ventura County by several Ventura County wineries

Until December 2017’s Thomas Fire that struck Ventura County with a vengeance making it the largest fire in California’s history, most people didn’t know where Ventura County was. I’d tell people we were located north of Los Angeles and south of Santa Barbara — two well known regions, and one of them, Santa Barbara, very well known for wine.

But Ventura County has a long history of flowers, seeds, citrus and more agricultural abundance — including wine grapes.

Continue reading

The Key to Italian Rose? Chiaretto!

Chiaretto? What’s that? Sue and I figured we’d just pass up this month’s Italian Food Wine Travel Chiaretto prompt — it’s summer, we’re busy, we’re traveling, we’ve got big projects going at home, and what is Chiaretto anyway?

But we got an offer we couldn’t refuse: samples! So we looked at our calendars, and committed to it — still with NO IDEA what we were in for but figuring it was something red.

That’s because even though Sue’s family is from Italy, we don’t speak a whole lot of Italian. Continue reading

NZ’s Villa Maria’s Single Vineyard Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Nor

New Zealand is justly famous for their distinctive sauvignon blanc featuring grapefruit (and herbal notes sometimes described as cat pee!) and pinot noir full of bright fruit and violets.

Recently Sue and I were reminded why we love NZ wine when we participated in a twitter tasting of three from Villa Maria’s Taylor’s Pass Vineyard located on the banks of the Awaretere Valley in Marlborough, a region that gets the most hours of sunshine in New Zealand with 2435 hours a year!  Continue reading

It’s SUMMER! Time for Rosé Wine from Provence, France with Seafood Pasta!

Yesterday was the summer solstice which means today is the first full day of summer!

How better to celebrate with a summery fresh wine like ROSE from Provence in the South of France?

Perhaps that’s why the Provence people decided to name TODAY, the fourth Friday of June, “International Rose Day” Continue reading

On The Barbie: Rack of Lamb with Brothers in Arms Shiraz #WinePW

A Tale of Two Countries

When I found out I was going to be hosting this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend excursion to the Land Down Under, I knew what wines I wanted to open — a 1998 Brothers in Arms Shiraz from Langhorne Creek in South Australia. Sue was surprised to discover that I had in my stash a bottle of 1998 Shiraz — but even more surprised that I wanted to also open a 2005 bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon –even if it was made by the famous Australian winemaker Chris Ringland.

“There’s a story here,” I told her. “It’s a Tale of Two Countries — and me.
And I’ve been waiting for years to tell it.”

Of course when you have a wine that old there’s a concern that it may not be any good any more. So we had a back-up Shiraz. Fortunately the 1998 Brothers in Arms Shiraz was spectacular so we wrote up our back up Shiraz from Terlato and Chapoutier in the preview post! 

So what’s the story?  Continue reading