The WineSpeed Blog


Crémant de Loire Rosé of Cabernet Franc

(Loire Valley, France) $23

There were several rosés we considered for the “Wine to Know” of this Special Rosé Edition. But dollar for dollar, no rosé offered more sheer deliciousness, freshness, and vivacity than Château de Brézé (pronounced “brez-AY”). A Loire crémant (meaning it was made traditionally like Champagne, but not made in the Champagne region), Château de Brézé has an airy richness. Its flavors are savory, spicy, and botanical all at the same time. Curiously for a sparkling wine that’s so elegant, it’s made 100% from cabernet franc. Château de Brézé was lauded for its wines as far back as the 15th century. The vineyard’s limestone soils yield chalky, crisp wines that have often been compared to Champagne. (12.5% abv)

90 points KM

Available at

National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day

Today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. We think cheese and bread is one of the greatest pairings in the gastronomic world. Add wine and you’ve got what was called, in the Old World, the Santa Trinità Mediterranea—the Mediterranean Holy Trinity. So, to celebrate, we thought we’d share one of our favorite grilled cheese recipes by food-and-wine expert Janet Fletcher, the creator of Planet Cheese. Her recommendation with these truffley snacks? Sparkling wine or Champagne.

A. The United States

B. Spain

C. Italy

D. France


France leads global production of rosé with over 193 million gallons produced in 2015, according to the Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) and the Provence Wine Council (CIVP). France is not only the largest producer, but also the largest consumer by volume and the largest exporter of rosé wines! Spain (123.2 million gallons), the U.S. (96.2 million gallons), and Italy (58 million gallons) are the other leading rosé producers.

I look forward to the day when more rosés achieve that ‘wow’ factor now given only to great reds and whites; to when restaurant wine lists for reds and whites are rivaled by their selection of rosés.”

—Elizabeth Gabay, MW, author of Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution


The term saignée means “bled” in French and refers to the process of making rosé by bleeding or drawing off pink-colored juice from fermenting red grapes. This process also results in concentrating the remaining red wine, since the ratio of skins to juice in the tank is increased when some juice is drawn off.

5 Tips on How to Navigate a Restaurant Wine List


By Amanda McCrossin.

Being presented the wine list can insight terror, panic, and distress. But the wine list is not as scary a place as it might seem and it can often be a lot of fun if you how to navigate it.

The restaurant wine list is comprised of wines that reflect the overarching philosophy of the restaurant and/or pairs with the cuisine. Lists are often curated by the sommelier or owner of the restaurant and, when done well, can greatly enhance a guest’s overall experience. My first piece of advice is to identify what a restaurant’s forte or vision is and capitalize on it. Just as you’re unlikely to order a steak at a pizza shop, it would be strange to order a wacky jura wine from a list that leans heavily in Napa Valley wines. Try to stick to what they focus on and if you’re unsure, ask!

Which brings me to my next point—if a restaurant employs a sommelier—USE HIM/HER. The era of pushy, stuffy sommeliers has been replaced with a booming generation of young, excited, knowledgeable, and friendly faces. Sommeliers are there to help and will be your absolutely BEST weapon in navigating a wine list. No one will ever know a wine list better than the Somm who lives and breathes it every night and who likely personally chose many if not all of the selections. In fact, there is rarely a situation in which I won’t defer to the sommelier at restaurant I’m dining at, even though I could likely figure it out myself. He or she knows the food, how the wines have been drinking lately, and can often recommend something you might never have even thought of.

So, what do you when you defer to the Somm? Well, I’ve found that there are a few key pieces of information that everyone should have before they have that first conversation. And if you don’t have it yet, ask the sommelier to return when you do. There’s NO RUSH. Take a deep breath and remember YOU are in the driver’s seat. This is your show and he/she is there to ensure that you have an amazing experience at the restaurant.

This is the one thing I think too many people are afraid of talking about early on. We LOVE parameters to work within. No one wants to sell you a bottle that’s way out of your price range. Whether it’s a total wine budget for the evening or just a general I’d like to be around this price per bottle, you should have a general idea of what you want to spend. If you’re uncomfortable verbally communicating that to the sommelier, find any bottle on the list around that price, point, and tell them I’d like to be here.

Knowing what the crowd wants is half the battle. Aunt Susan only drinks chard but Cousin Tony only likes red; mom’s not drinking but Uncle Charlie will drink everything you put in front of him. Knowing aversions, preferences, and general consumption rate will keep everyone happy and help the sommelier to better select.

This sort of goes hand-in-hand with my last two points but, having a goal in mind for the meal can really help to narrow it down as well, i.e. do you want to pair every course, do you want to impress your boss, do you want to have something really uncomplicated? This information may not seem useful to you, but it’s incredibly helpful for the sommelier who knows the likelihood of what impresses, what’s complicated, and what doesn’t require decanting.

This is probably the most useful of the information you’ll have ready because it offers the fewest variables. Sure, tasting notes and words like “tannin” come up ALL the time, but everyone’s perception of those things is different. “Earthy” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone but if you tell me you love Caymus, I’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for. Using apps like Vivino and Delectable to keep track of wines you’ve had and liked or disliked can really assist with this and won’t have you trying to dig through your memory bank for that bottle you had two Christmas Eve’s ago right before you took down the whole bowl of eggnog.

The Bubbly Blaster

It might feel like summer is still a long way off, but we found the perfect pool party accessory for any wine-lover—the Bubbly Blaster. A water-gun-like contraption, the Bubbly Blaster fits into the cork of a Champagne bottle and, when the bottle is turned upside down, can shoot a steady stream of bubbles up to 30 feet. There’s even a GoPro compatible video mount to catch every foamy moment of party-goers frolicking in froth. Blasters ($100) come in a variety of colors—even a very millennial-friendly rose gold. As to why anyone would want their sparkling wine to go anywhere other than in a glass for consumption is beyond us. (We really do need to get out more). (SRM)


Year the first rosé Champagne was sold. Shipped from the house of Ruinart on March 14, 60 bottles of this rosé were sent to Baron de Welzel of Germany. The rosé was referred to as Oeil de Perdrix (“Eye of the Partridge”), described as a delicate, coppery pink similar to the color of a recently-shot bird’s eyes.


Average price (in U.S. dollars) of what is thought to be the most expensive still rosé in the world, the Château d’Esclans “Garrus” from Provence. Garrus is made from grenache and rolle grapes from 80-year-old vines. It was launched in 2007 by Sacha Lichine, the son of the late famous Bordeaux château owner, Alexis Lichine, and the late Patrick Léon, former winemaker of Château Mouton Rothschild.


Percentage of wine consumers who enjoyed a glass of rosé in the last month, according to the E. & J. Gallo 2018 Consumer Alcohol Beverage Survey. The most likely age demographic to purchase pink vino are millennials (born 1980-2000). Millennials, in fact, are twice as likely to purchase a bottle of rosé as Baby Boomers (born in the 1940s-1960s).

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