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A Silky Rosé from Provence–slip into something delicious

The Wine of the Week: Domaine Camaïssette Rosé

by Annette Tomei

2016 Domaine Camaïssette “L’Aurélienne” Rosé, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence DOP, France

2016 Domaine Camaïssette "L'Aurélienne"--a lovely rosé from Provence

The southeastern reaches of France are almost synonymous with rosé. The Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence appellation may include reds and whites, but it is best known for eclectic blended rosés. The grapes of the nearby Rhone region are well represented here – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Carignan, and Counoise, as well as a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon for good measure.

Domaine Camaïssette has been producing wines near Aix-en-Provence for four generations. The grapes for their rosé, L’Aurélienne, are certified organic. This particular blend is made up of 50% Syrah, 25% CS, 25% Grenache, and contains 13% ABV.

About this Wine

The color of a wine is always an important indicator, but maybe more so with rosés.  Often the particular shade of pink belies certain flavor characteristics… more blue-pink, higher acidity more orange-pink, less acidity. This particular shade – a sexy salmony-pink seems to say “just right.” The aromatics of this wine are gracious but not shy – guava and ripe strawberries, white pepper and fresh herbs. It is medium body, super juicy, and the flavors convey a nice balance between floral, peach, lychee, fresh berries, and clean minerality.

The soft silkiness of this wine make it easy to enjoy alone, and just as easy to enjoy with simple snacks and small bites. I’d recommend fresh cheeses with delicate flavors, sushi and sashimi, simply prepared vegetable dishes, poached or pan roasted seafood preparations… avoid vinegary dressings, stick with citrus and olive oil, fresh herbs.

The Verdict

For all you rosé lovers out there, this rosé from Provence is an easy wine to love. It’s also an easy one to share with fussier rosé drinkers because of its softness and approachability. The 2016 vintage is nearing its end, but the 2017 should be out by spring and I’m looking forward to stocking up!

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Lovers of Gewurztraminer Will Adore This Trip To Alsace in a Glass

The Wine of the Week: Willm Gewurztraminer

by Annette Tomei

2012 Willm “Clos Gaensbrœnnel” Gewurztraminer, Grand Cru Kirchberg de Barr, Alsace, FranceWillm "Clos Gaensbrœnnel"--a wine for lovers of Gewurztraminer

A “clos” in Alsace is a walled vineyard – I imagine them as secret gardens of happy vines. Clos Gaensbrœnnel – the name means Goose Fountain – is named for the fountain at the entrance, and on the label of this wine. Clos Gaensbrœnnel is a not-so-secret garden, its soil heavy with limestone and mostly older vines, that is home to some of the happiest Gewurtztraminer available. The rarified site is located within the Grand Cru vineyards of Kirchberg de Barr – also known for its exceptional Rieslings. Maison Willm is one of only two who make wine from Clos Gaensbrœnnel.

Gewurtztraminer is a pink skinned grape closely related to Savagnin (aka Traminer). The word Gewurtztraminer means “spiced Traminer”. It is an extremely aromatic grape and low in acidity. It is at its best in the Grand Cru vineyards of Alsace, but it grows happily in Germany, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and the colder regions of the US. It is often produced in a sweet style (late harvest or botyrized).

About this Wine

This sweet wine (33.7 g/l residual sugar) has a golden yellow hue and aromatics that leap from the glass. Bursts of honeysuckle, jasmine, apricot, roses, and spiced tea aromas. On the palate, it is all florals and spice, roasted pineapple and tree fruit, with a hint of petrol. It is full bodied with a rich, creaminess carries on forever. New layers of aroma continue to blossom as this wine is savored.

Though I could easily recommend this wine with any number of traditional roast pork dishes, spicy foods, and bright Southeast Asian flavors, I tasted it with a perfectly ripe, stinky Epoise and can’t imagine a better pairing after that!

The Verdict

Even with the fine pedigree of being from an exclusive clos in a Grand Cru vineyard in the most heavenly place for Gewurtztraminer, this is still a very reasonably priced wine at around $25-28/bottle. A steal. Definitely try this one if you can. It will also age well for at least 5-10 years (though not as long as a good Riesling because of its lower acidity).

 

 

This Takes Box of Chocolates to a Whole New Level

Valentine's Day boxes of chocolates from zChocolat

If life is like a box of chocolates…

I receive samples of potentially aphrodisiac products all the time. Never before has a product taken my breath away. When zChocolat told me to expect a delivery, they did not prepare me for the extraordinary experience that was about to unfold. Their 2018 “Valentine’s Day Collection,” takes the concept of a box of chocolates to a whole new level.

Attention to details

Everything in this special collection is stunning. The attention to design is more reminiscent of what you might receive from a jeweler than an chocolatier. I received the 27 piece Ruby box. zChcolat Ruby box of chocolatesThe Ruby is a mahogany wood box with the recipient’s name engraved just below the gold latch. That’s right–I got a box of chocolates with my name engraved on it! Once the latch is lifted, rose petal-covered box of heart-shaped, ganache filled chocolates reveals itself. A twelve heart assortment in dark, milk white and a satiny red (white chocolate) chocolate shells, each color is filled with a surprise of aphrodisiac flavor. I, of course, dove at the red. It offered the sweet spice of bergamot. My husband indulged in the dark chocolate filled with sea salt, vanilla caramel. But wait, there’s more. As I mentioned, the Ruby collection offers 27 confections. Beneath the assortment of hearts, there is a second box of chocolates featuring zChcolat’s 15-piece traditional assortment.

The presentation

zChocolat box of chocolatesThe box in itself is something to behold but it is only the final reveal of the packaging. Opening the package from zChocolat requires peeling back many layers, a seductive striptease of confection. First there is the black, drawstring bag, the presentation of which made my husband worry that we were about reveal one of the 50 Shades of Grey. The package inside was dressed in thick, black wrapping paper. It was tied with a white ribbon and a seal embossed with my initials. Opening the package was without a doubt an incredible part of the experience.

The taste test

Of course, what truly makes or breaks a great box of chocolates is not presentation but the quality of the chocolate. ZChocolat has a reputation as one of Europe’s finest chocolatiers. And with this sampling, they lived up to the reputation. The shell of each bon bon is wafer thin and the ganaches and other fillings creamy, smooth as silk caressing the tongue. The flavors are well-balanced, not too sweet. The flavors of the fillings are bright and interesting but never overshadow the seductively earthy notes of fine chocolate.

The ultimate romantic gesture?…

the flavors of zChocolatI’ve tried a lot of chocolates in my life and never before has a chocolate caused me to moan with pleasure. We were literally moaning. I’m sure the multi-layered presentation leading up to the chocolate heightened the pleasure and perhaps I wouldn’t have gotten quite so excited over a bit of candy apple red chocolate filled with ganache had the total experience not been so over the top. But that’s the point! If you want to delight and indulge your lover to the point that you make them moan (over chocolate), a package from zChocolat is going to do the job.

About zChocolat

zChocolat is shipped directly from France around the world via DHL. The shipping fee to any destination is a flat 18 euros. The specialty collections will set you back about as much as a small piece of jewelry but I think if you ask most devout chocolate lovers, they would chose the experience of zChocolat over a bangle any day.

The Best Valentine’s Day Chocolate EVER

Valentine's Day Chocolate from Artisanne Chocolatier | Eat Something Sexy

Raising the bar on the sensuality of chocolate

We like to think that when it comes to chocolate, we at EatSomethingSexy have seen it all. So we get incredibly excited when we find something new. And we could hardly believe our luck when we spotted a super sensual work of art on Facebook…And it was made of chocolate! We think our find just might be the best Valentine’s Day Chocolate ever. Read more

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Super Affordable Super Tuscan

The Wine of the Week: Tolaini Valdisanti Toscana Rosso

by Annette Tomei

2010 Tolaini “Valdisanti” Tenuta S. Giovanni, Toscana IGT, Tuscany, ItalyTolaini Valdisanti Toscana Rosso--an affordable Super Tuscan

The term super-Tuscan may be more than a little past its prime, but the blending of Sangiovese, the life blood of Chianti, with the traditional grapes of France is anything but. Ever since the Antinori family took the bold step away from tradition, and the DOC laws, in the early-1970s, the red wines of Tuscany have never been the same. International wine reviewers, and the consumers that follow them, rewarded innovators with higher prices and higher demand. Today, general “super-Tuscans” have their own category in Italian wine – Toscana IGT – and may be anything but super (buyer beware).

Tolaini Estate is a newcomer to the Tuscan wine world. But, what it lacks in roots, it makes up for in capital and business sense. Taking the French connection a step further, Tolaini works with world-renowned wine consultant Michel Rolland, whose influential palate can be credited with the distinct international style of big, bold, red wines.

About this Wine

For this column, I tasted the 2010 vintage of Valdisanti, which is not easy to find anymore – 2014 is the current vintage. The blend may be slightly different, but I’m confident that the quality is comparable… consider this a prediction of what the current product might have in store for those patient enough to hold it for a few years!

The 2010 vintage is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Franc, aged 16 months in French oak.

At first, the aromas were predominantly fruit-driven – lots of blackberry, and still quite tight. I returned to the glass about 30 minutes later to find a more complex wine. Earthier aromas of graphite, cassis, and fresh cigar came out from behind the black fruit. Despite the age, the fruit tannins are still quite tight and forward. I’d bet that this wine will improve greatly over the next 5 years. There’s a great backbone of acidity as well. Flavors of tart cherry, plum, and pomegranate go on and on with a hint of cola on the finish. This wine’s Bordeaux roots are definitely showing, but there’s no question that the heart is pure Italian.

As for pairing, I recommend sticking to the classics. A juicy steak – maybe bistecca Fiorentina? Simple seasonings, earthy flavors, fatty enough to stand up to the still-lively tannins. Hearty mushroom risotto is my recommendation for vegetarians or meatless Mondays.

The Verdict

You can still find the 2010 online (as of the time of writing) for around $40/bottle. The current vintage is a bit less. It’s made to be enjoyed right away, if you are into big bracing wines. I recommend having patience and waiting a few years, at least – and storing it properly!