Posts Tagged United States

Rosé Wine: Good or Great?

A glass being full of rosé wine

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Summer brought bliss and blush. Rosé wine towered wine displays everywhere. It has been enjoyable, right? You must admit it was fun. But can you honestly admit to your friends that you prefer blush to bizarre in wine. Or, are you ashamed of it? Is rosé good or great?

For the full article, see Rosé Wine: Good or Great? (html),  Color Magazine USA, Ed. 40, September 2011.

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Chateau de Saint Martin in Provence (with audio)

A glass of rosé wine. The color is deeper than...

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Chateau de Saint-Martin is an ancient place ruled by women for millennia. Providing a particular perception of her US consumers, Adeline de Barry, owner of Château Saint Martin, said to me: “we have two bottle shapes, one traditional one for local tourists and for the American market, and one more elegant one for the Paris market.” She should know, since she is aristocracy herself and her wine is served in the Élysée Palace.

Château de Saint Martin Eternelle Favorite rosé (2009, $15, 90/10)

The floral perfume of rose petal and fragrant, subtle spices is immediate on the nose. What follows  is delicate red fruits with hints of mandarin, grapefruit, almonds, spice, ginger and a long, lingering aftertaste unheard of for a young rosé. The wine simply blew me away and the bottle is extraordinarly chic, cool and  cosmopolitan for a traditionally minded French region. The whole experience strangely made me start trying to imagine how vodka would taste if it were made in the Mediterranean climate. It also made me think of the concepts of beauty, purity, and aristocracy, quite fitting for my tasting location in a Château where noble men and most importantly women have lived for centuries and centuries. Having dinner into the night with Ana Chavarri Padilla, winemaker and Adeline de Barry, owner, I felt fortunate to experience the unique pleasures of a simple wine writer, unique attention and care. Their pitch is “a rosé devoted to women’s pleasure”.  Are their wines feminine? I think so. But they are never trying to hard. They just are.

I have massive amounts of audio from my time spent at this Chateau, most of it in English, some in French. I will (hopefully) add some short video shortly. Listening to these sound tracks it should be possible to imagine you are right in Provence in the middle of Winter.

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Why another book?


The clarification process can bring out the cl...

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Thinking about the Book’s Introduction, the first I needs to answer, I would imagine, is why write a book on this topic. Why, after all, white another book on wine? What could I possibly add to the flow of information on wine today, the hundreds of useful books published on the subject every year, the already numerous experts on the topic, the thousands of bloggers who produce hundreds of thousands of blog entries, maybe more?

Without having amassed all the bright answers one would usually come up with in a polished book, here are some initial thoughts:

  • A Sociology of Wine will not be a book on wine as such. It is more about the people.
  • The sociology of wine can tell us a lot about social change, identity, lifestyle, and the dynamics of markets.
  • A lot has happened since the world was divided into old world and new world–but as most cultures are old, and constantly reinvent themselves, or not, the distinction is meaningless.
  • My angle is quite specific: I want to portray the diversity of wine makers, wine growers and wine cultures.
  • I looked around and there does not seem to be a decent textbook out there–at least not a fun one.
  • I do have a Ph.D in sociology and despite a decade or so immersed in technology, I miss my roots.
  • I already wrote the management book Leadership From Below, so I know what it takes.
  • I have lots of stories, examples, inspiration beause of my role as wine columnist in Color Magazine, the premier US publication for multicultural professionals.
  • I have a unique perspective being Norwegian, a country that has absolutely nothing to defend in terms of wine culture. When Brits, French, Italians, Spaniards or Americans write about wine, they cannot but speak from their own vantage point. Of course, I will speak from mine, but it is not that of a wine culture. In fact, my family has been largely de facto teetotalers for various reasons.

Finally, I am so far, even though this may change, quite unconnected to the wine industry as such. This helps when you want to portray a full picture of what seems to be going on, or at least document what the players themselves say is going on. I do not work for a winery, a wine publication (I am the only wine writer at Color Magazine), or anything of that sort. In fact, I am barely a professional wine critic. I am simply somebody who likes wine and who discovered I had an opportunity to start writing about the people surrounding this pastime. I also happen to have some thoughts about how wine fits into a larger societal picture of changing consumption, lifestyle, technology and culture. There are few areas where the tensions between the global and the local, globalization and terroir, if you will, become so apparent.

These tensions produce possibly lasting changes in the fundamental social systems and institutions that make up society, such as the family, the economy, the state, and the increasingly important non state actors that seek to uproot the establishment, or indeed re-create it. In short, a fascinating set of issues with the realistic fringe benefit of a good glass of wine nearby when working them out.

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